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New build brings enhancements to UAP and WinFS gets the boot

In its continuing efforts to improve its next generation operating system, Microsoft has released another interim build of Windows Vista to testers. Build 5456 is a rather large jump from Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384.4) and offers a number of improvements which are sure to be welcomed by users. NeoSmart Blog reports:

Some of the new features include a revamped Aero/DWM subsystem, and a completely overhauled and significantly less obtrusive UAP for all those that couldn’t stand the previous one. From what we have been told by Microsoft, the Time Zone bug that plagued all most all previous builds of Windows Vista has been fixed and works great now, and quite a few fixes in the Regional Settings and IME are now implemented. And for the first time since Windows 3.0 Microsoft has finally announced that new mouse cursors will be made available for Windows - something they promised to do in XP with “Watercolors” but failed to deliver for internal reasons!

Of all of the improvements made to this build, the less intrusive User Access Protection (UAP) has to be on the biggest pluses. Vista's UAP scheme has been catching a lot of flak and Microsoft has seen it fit to gradually make the system less and less obnoxious.

Vista beta testers can download the new build immediately from the Windows Connect website. The rest of you folks will just have to wait until Microsoft releases another public build.

In other Vista news comes word that Microsoft has decided to drop its plans to offer Windows Future Storage (WinFS) as a future update to the operating system -- WinFS Beta 2 has been also cancelled. WinFS was the name for the new file system that was supposed to debut with the shipping version of Windows Vista. Over the course of Vista's long gestation period, WinFS was dropped from the feature count then later brought back to life when it was announced that the file system would be available at a later date as a system upgrade for Vista.

WinFS, which is based on Microsoft SQL Server technology, was supposed to do away with traditional file/folder hierarchy. From Betanews:

For example, no longer would documents need to be stored in My Documents or images in My Pictures; instead, Windows would simply display the files associated with a particular request on demand. In addition, WinFS could store structured data such as contacts, calendars and more.

As for the future of WinFS and other Windows technologies, lead programmer Quentin Clark goes on to air out his thoughts on his blog:

Of course, there are other aspects of the WinFS vision that we are continuing to incubate – areas not quite as mature as the work we are now targeting for Katmai and ADO.NET.   Since WinFS is no longer being delivered as a standalone software component, people will wonder what that means with respect to the Windows platform.  Just as Vista pushed forward on many aspects of the search and organize themes of the Longhorn WinFS effort, Windows will continue to adopt work as it's ready.  We will continue working the innovations, and as things mature they will find their way into the right product experiences – Windows and otherwise.  Having so much ready for SQL Server and ADO.NET is a big impact on the platform, and more will come.

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By techhappy on 6/25/2006 7:48:19 PM , Rating: 1
If Microsoft keeps dropping features from Vista, maybe it's time for Apple to drop kick them by releasing a Mac OS for PC. The fact that Vista has become nothing more than a lazy developer's response to PC maker's pushing for a new OS is a sad thing.

I mean, what are we going to get except for a few cheesy widgets, a fancier looking interface and a few other crude enhancements? It's like Microsoft wants to de-evolve their own progress, Vista will be a long way off from a Mac OS and nothing more than a repackaged Win XP pro. I was really hoping for a complete overhaul.

I really hope Microsoft can prove that Vista is worth the upgrade. What will it take for Microsoft to stop sulking and give us all the features we were originally promised? Oh yeah, I know, a couple more half-baked versions of Windows and a lot of your money, time and headaches for future upgrades...

I think I'll stick with WinXP, until they get their act together.

By MonkeyPaw on 6/25/2006 8:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I hope Vista is a big security improvement, because I think MS has been spending a lot of resources patching WinXP. If Vista can get them out from behind the 8-ball, then maybe the next version of Windows will deliver on more promises and arrive much sooner. I know that sounds optimistic, but every little bit helps.

As for OSX, as much as I love it, it's a totally different beast than Windows. OSX is on an 18 month upgrade schedule, and this sounds great until you realize that Apple wants $129 every 18 months to go with it. That's a pretty costly upgrade schedule, and one that perhaps has questionable value for the extra features). When you compare Apple's approach to the MS model, Vista doesn't look as bad. However, it does seem as though Vista is just catching up to OSX Tiger's current feature set, with very few new ideas added. We'll see what Leopard brings in this respect.

By Heatlesssun on 6/25/2006 8:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
For know the desktop war is over. Sure OSX has advantages over Windows, except in the key area. Applications and support!

We can debate how many OSX apps there are. Sure there are plenty. But when you buy that video card, or that digital camera, or the new hot game comes out, or great innovative apps like Orb come out, guess what platform is a given to be supported, with the greatest number of users and support and mind share.

Its going to be Windows. The OS in and of itself is almost irrelavent. Its all those tens of thousands of applications that make the OS of use.

If I could get the same applications for the same price and support level that Windows has, I would'nt care is it was a Mac, I'd get one.

But until that day comes, its OSX is simply a nice OSX. Not something I really need.

By jamesbond007 on 6/25/2006 9:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you need all of the software titles if the one or two titles on the Mac do everything you need to do, in a simple, easy manner?

By Burning Bridges on 6/26/2006 9:55:59 AM , Rating: 2
Do you like to run iLife on your PC?

By Hare on 6/26/2006 1:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
As for OSX, as much as I love it, it's a totally different beast than Windows. OSX is on an 18 month upgrade schedule, and this sounds great until you realize that Apple wants $129 every 18 months to go with it. That's a pretty costly upgrade schedule, and one that perhaps has questionable value for the extra features). When you compare Apple's approach to the MS model, Vista doesn't look as bad.
Dispite the fact that Apple seems to add more features to each release (18months) than microsoft in 5 years. Spotlight, widgets, expose! rendezvous/bonjour-networking, filevault encryption etc not to mention the upgrades to the apps that come with the OS. I think it's sad to look at Vista and think that this is what you get after waiting 5 years for a new Windows. I think Vista SP1 will be decent but the Vista that will be released Q1/2007 is, well, just sad when you compare it to OS X.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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