Windows

What Windows Vista might have been

Check out this concept video from PDC 2003 about Longhorn. Longhorn, of course, became Vista, but there's very little in Vista that we see here. What went wrong?

Check out this concept video for Longhorn, the official codename for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. There's a mini-history of Windows at the beginning, showing the progression of Windows on the desktop as well as some of the innovations and hysteria that accompanied Windows 95. From there it launches into a quick demo about what the next version of Windows is supposed to look like.

What's most interesting is the fact that this video was created for PDC 2003, right in the midst of the coding furor for Longhorn. The video announces that Longhorn was coming in October 2003.

What this means more than anything else was the fact that those effects were designed and planned for equipment that was available in the 2003 - 2004 time frame. Dual-core processors, which are nearly mandatory for running Windows Vista today, weren't introduced until 2005. Also, in order to get the Aero Glass effects in Vista today, you have to have a video card that runs DirectX 10 and at least 128Mb of graphics RAM with 256MB being preferable. Even as late as 2006, finding machines with that much power was difficult. Finally, as you know, you wouldn't want to go near Vista with less than 2GB of RAM, and this would have been unheard of in 2003 on a desktop-class machine.

It shows that Microsoft was and is capable of producing a really slick operating system that doesn't soak up gigabytes of RAM and multiple gigahertz of CPU. Instead of what was promised and implied in the video, we wind up with transparent titles on Glass and Flip3D. That certainly puts the Wow in Windows, doesn't it?

Microsoft has already released early versions of Windows 7. Based on what Vista looked like and how it performed in its early stages as seen here, there's really no reason to expect that Windows 7 is going to be nearly as great as they say it's going to be.

51 comments
boxfiddler
boxfiddler

bought by me for my next computer. After using for several months on the job, that is not going to happen. Will continue to explore Ubuntu and other Linux/Unix distributions until I find something I like ('buntu's pretty likeable after a few months with it) well enough to put on everything. Bye bye Uncle Billy.

walldorff
walldorff

I have a quad processor. I have 4 gig ram. I have vista. It still isn't enough. Many times my pc is busy for a long time, doing hell_knows_what. Microsoft stole practically everything, or bullied competitors out of business. European Commission fined them for hundreds of millions of dollars; they pay laughing. In the mean time the world is suffering from and struggling with a complete maffia product from this monopolist. But they make great promo movies. The Matrix was make-belief; this is blood-chilling reality.

zclayton2
zclayton2

WGARA what Windows 7 or whatever vaporware they are pitching now is. How about delivery on a project as promised before re-creating the wheel again? With m$ its always been "Real Soon Now" for release and "We'll get the other stuff out next time."

bonkyhead
bonkyhead

I love watching you people bash each other around, waving your privates and claiming mental and genital superiority. What a bunch of schmoes. Computer geeks are losers.

seanferd
seanferd

Try ZDNET. The flames rise much higher there, and much more frequently, with less technical merit involved. Have fun!

bvolpone
bvolpone

"It shows that Microsoft was and is capable of producing a really slick operating system that doesn???t soak up gigabytes of RAM and multiple gigahertz of CPU." I think all it shows is that Microsoft is able to produce really slick vaporware. But then again, that's nothing new at all.

Spiritusindomit
Spiritusindomit

Longhorn is the beta for Server 08, not vista. Jackass.

ramracer
ramracer

It's well known that Longhorn was vistas codename. And a quick Wikipedia search for windows longhorn promptly brings up the article on Vista.

GoodOh
GoodOh

Don't you wish you hadn't said that now? Especially the "d&^*#$se" bit?

thart
thart

Just for the rest of the world out there, not all IT guys in Texas are this ignorant. I remember when Vista was codenamed Longhorn, as well as the original release date of October 2003. Must say, after 4 more years of waiting, I was not pleased with the final product. Spiritusindomit-- Please don't litter these message bourds with ignorant ill-researched comments in the future. Unless you want to prove who the real Jackass is...

seanferd
seanferd

But I think you guys have it covered. :D Edited to add a space, and to say, "Whistler wasn't the code name for XP, either." ;)

Mark.Moran
Mark.Moran

seems like you're "dumbass jackass" here

jdclyde
jdclyde

Next time you wish to make an ass of yourself, do it just like this time, because you did a very good job of it. Bet you don't remember what NT stood for before MS CHANGED the definiton to cover their tracks, huh?

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Vista was called Longhorn LONG before it was Vista... So if you're so smart, why don't you tell us what Vista's code name was before it was Vista....

jck
jck

it was... Windows P.O.S.O.S. :D

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Brilliant! Maybe MS should be so upfront about these things ;-) Oh hey, MS...when are we going to see WinFS? It's only been a decade!

chris.lambert
chris.lambert

I heard that they wanted to go with leghorn until they found out it would be copyright infringement and they would get their a$$ sued. Then they wanted Longhope which was named after the chance of getting it correct and completed on schedule. But figured no one would go with the name. Then they endded up with Longhorn because it mixed the two. Yes OK I'm working on a project and bored out of my mind at the moment. But they sound like good reasons for codenames!!!

jck
jck

- The University of Texas or the American Cattlemens' Association threatened to sue over "Longhorn"? - if, since they sued the band "Chicago" for originally calling themselves "Chicago Transit Authority", the City of Chicago threatened to sue over the codename "Chicago" for Windows 98? I wanna see MS codename their next OS something applicable if it's anything like Vista...preferably a word like...ngama. lol Google that word to see what it means, unless you're Swahili. lol

ScarF
ScarF

Dude, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista Then, you start giving names to others. M$ used this codename for the both OSs. It was the time when they were hoping to join the Server and Desktop OSs in one, after theyr success with Win2k. And, BTW, the codename appears quite clear in the ad. More than this, the ad was produced by M$. And, listen to this: The stupid is not stupid enough until he is proud by himself.

da philster
da philster

If Microsoft produced cars instead of software, they would have been out of business a long time ago. Imagine a Microsoft Yugo instead of Vista ???

cjshelby
cjshelby

John, I just showed my 11 y.o. son the video clip and then read him your comments on hardware. I told him this was the main reason I refuse to buy an X Box 360 or Play Station 3. Same nonsense, keep throwing out perfectly good hardware every 3-5 years like money grows on trees! Thanks for the enlightening video and article.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

You're welcome for both. I must say I feel kind of bad being used to destroy the arguments of an 11 year olds Well, I guess they all have to learn sometime, huh?

jdclyde
jdclyde

showing their isn't a Santa, I am going to kic@#$@%@%%@ :D [i]edit because, don't you hate JUST as you hit "submit" you see a typo? :0

cjshelby
cjshelby

Santa will "eventually" bring him a bigger, faster, better game console. Especially since the powers-that-be have also discontinued Game Cube and X Box games. Now if Bill Gates and the gang would develop "kid" software that ensures they'll finish their homework and clean up their rooms! Hey! Can't a Dad have a dream?

cjshelby
cjshelby

Santa will "eventually" bring him a bigger, faster, better game console. Especially since the powers-that-be have also discontinued Game Cube and X Box games. Now if Bill Gates and the gang would develop "kid" software that ensures they'll finish their homework and clean up their rooms! Hey! Can't a Dad have a dream?

joenemie
joenemie

Vista is eye candy for sure but my clients are bring me these machines and begging for XP. I've only sold one machine with Vista Premium and the customer returned it in exchange for an XP unit. It's obvious why Mac earned a billion in profits last year. Microsoft has lost focus on the average user. Most consumers want to use the web and their media for the more mundane things in life. Vista makes this too difficult for the average user. OldTownJoe

esalkin
esalkin

Vista has performed exactly as Redmond wanted it to. Look at the history of Windows home versions. They sell you a much-hyped piece of crap that does not work then release umpteen patches and just when it starts to be functional they $ell you a new version that does everything that was promised but not delivered in the version you bought last year. Here is my list of hype then deliver versions: Win3.0 - Win 3.1 (You could throw in Win3.11 - NT) Win95 - Win98 ME - XP Vista - ??

Dave the Computer Guy
Dave the Computer Guy

I'm still running XP and probably will for some time. I wish Microsoft would finish an OS before they release it. Vista has some great possibilities but as Steve B. from Microsoft said, "It's a work in progress".

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

XP SP3 was released to manufacturing April 21, 2008. Windows Vista will be usable after the Social Security fund is bankrupt.

helpdeskdude
helpdeskdude

I saw the other day where MS is pushing up Windows 7 to 2009! ?? Things may have changed by now, but it seem to me that Vista is on the same tracks as ME, a gimic OS. If MS does come out with Windows 7 next year, will it have WIN-FS and all this fancy stuff that I just saw in the video. Which was impressive even if it was optimised for demo purposes. Just makes you wonder what they are really up to. Making a great product or making great fists full of money?

zclayton2
zclayton2

Yeah, I noticed they didn't have ME in that video. I'll bet the next omits Vista as well.

alancmaskell
alancmaskell

Yes I run Vista Home Premium on 2GB RAM HP Pavilion (AMD Turion64)Laptop. First time a Microsoft OS has NEVERfailed once! I do like Account User Control too. I have been very pleased - FOR THE 1ST TIME - Since day one of using Vista. Somehow Microsoft should get real and admit clients need a minimum of 2GB RAM. Why not prevent computers from using Vista with low RAM? Bill's folks just try to please everyone which causes many unhappy consumers. Now I've been using computers since the Z80 Days. I remember Windows 3.0 LOL. So now maybe they finally got it right??? Long time coming too! Alan Maskell Saugerties NY USA

RknRlKid
RknRlKid

I am typing this on a Vista computer. I don't think mine can do those kinds of things! (Probably because I don't use MSN, I'm not sure.) I agree with the comments about how fast that computer is...man, its like the computer in Minority Report! Personally, I like to READ what is on the screen, not have it flash past me! The problem with this kind of demo is that its...well, a demo. Its specifically programmed to wow and amaze. The actual software may not have existed yet. Remember the "smoke and mirrors" around Windows 1? They were doing a demo like this, but the software wasn't finished yet either! (And to be fair, Apple has done this too. I remember reading how they took the first 2 or 3 Apple II's in existence to a computer show and wow'd everyone, but in all actuality no one could buy one.) It is interesting that this type of technology apparently existed in 2003 though.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I remember that video. It's hard to believe now, but that UI stuff seemed uber-cutting edge back then. That was before Apple got slick with the OS X UI -- and even borrowed a few of Microsoft's UI concepts from its public Longhorn materials.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

It's funny sometimes to see how often Microsoft is bashed for'borrowing' from Apple and Apple is supposed to be the fount of all things new and cool for personal computing. Take the new 'Spaces' feature touted for Leopard. Multiple desktops. Woohoo! Linux has been doing that for what... 7 or 8 years now? There's some innovation for you.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

... and have been supported by window managers used in Linux distributions since before Linux.

GoodOh
GoodOh

Huge insight. 'Companies copy successful ideas that they discover out there.' That's big news. Also in breaking news 'Water runs down hill.' and 'China is quite large.'. Did anyone at any Apply event ever claim Spaces was innovative? (Or anyone other than a hyperactive fanboi?) If you can produce a quote then I stand corrected but I don't recall claims other than it being other than 'cool'. I suggest it is a cool feature and was for several years under Linux before OS X and will be when M$ adds it to their OS (or is it in Vista already? I'm out of touch.). If you are going to put words in people's mouths then it is pretty easy to attack those statements. You need to show that someone actually did say something before you can attack them for saying it. Fairly basic rule of debating and conversation I would have said. On your overall point I totally agree that the "Apple is innovative" is overdone and overplayed. But it's a relative game not an absolute one. To contradict it you need to say something more like "I consider XYZ Corp is more innovative and here's why." Just dragging up some examples of following behaviour and saying therefore nothing done by that company is innovative is a poor approach. Using that line I can declare that no PC company (other than Xerox) that includes the option of using a WIMP interface anywhere in their product line-up is innovative. Since they all do I have proved that all PC makers are not innovative. Not a very satisfactory approach is it?

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Of course thats what PR and advertising are supposed to do. Put the product in the most positive light and if that includes shading the truth, so be it. As IT Professionals, we know the difference, but many of the unwashed masses don't. That's the problem.

GoodOh
GoodOh

I still see the statement as 'new to Apple and innovations within OS X' but I don't refute the implication you make is there to be drawn that they are attempting a claim 'innovation' in a wider sense than could in any way be claimed as reasonable. In late breaking news "A PR Department somewhere today made an excessively positive claim for a product."

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Apple to Ship Mac OS X Leopard on October 26 http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/10/16leopard.html Some key quotes: ?Leopard, the sixth major release of Mac OS X, is the best upgrade we?ve ever released,? said Steve Jobs, Apple?s CEO. ?And everyone gets the ?Ultimate? version, packed with all the new innovative features, for just $129.? Leopard is packed with more than 300 new features and introduces a brand new desktop with Stacks, a new way to easily access files from the Dock; a redesigned Finder that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs; Quick Look, a new way to instantly see files without opening an application; Spaces, an intuitive new feature used to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them; and Time Machine, an effortless way to automatically back up everything on a Mac. Thereya go... from Apple themselves claiming all the 'new and innovative' features found in Leopard.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

--to see a computer that fast.In a Vulcan Star Cruiser they turn on full weapon power at full throttle and we out distance the virus.Is that Robert Plant and Madonna singing?

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

The computers shown there are quite fast. Clearly it's a demo which is doctored to show stuff in their best light. I assume the demo was done using screen shots from an actual working alpha or something and then 'optimized' but it very well could have just been all cartooned.

RationalGuy
RationalGuy

"Is that Robert Plant and Madonna singing?" It's Elvis and Pink.

nepenthe0
nepenthe0

Win-FS was supposed to be a revolutionary advance in file systems, supplanting NTFS. When Microsoft abandoned Win-FS, the whole [i]raison d'etre[/i] for Longhorn vanished. That was the time to jettison the project, despite the huge investment. Microsoft has launched another Windows ME (without the lockups and crashes). Ballmer knows that Microsoft's credibility now hinges upon Windows 7. Apple is hoping that insular arrogance prevails at Camp Redmond. Rick/Portland, OR

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Microsoft has a habit of doing something that. In the Vaporware stages, they come up with videos like this and announce all of the new and exciting features that are going to appear in the next product. Then, as the launch date approaches, they do two things: Push the launch date back and start throwing features over the side. WinFS was one of the first things to go but there were other things that never made it into Vista (and Windows Server 2008) as well that were promised. In Windows Server 2008, the thing that comes to mind is virtualization in the kernel. Now that's slated to appear later as an addon.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

WinFS was the game-changer. However, it was also the thing that helped lead to the delay, and then MSFT abandoned it anyway when the delay went on too long.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Check out the video I posted in Classics Rock: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=130 It shows a Longhorn concept video from PDC 2003 showing what was planned for what became Windows Vista. The concept looks great. What we have now, well... not so much. Microsoft wound up junking a lot of Longhorn code on the way to Vista, but from the looks of this video, they threw the baby out with the bathwater. BTW - Special thanks to Jeremy Bowling for sending me the link.

rosejenifar
rosejenifar

Microsoft's latest operating system,Windows Vista,has finally hit consumer desks.CNET has your complete guide to Windows Vista:software and system reviews,videos,the latest news, downloads,tips,and a test to check whether your system's ready for the upgrade.Microsoft's primary stated objective with Windows Vista,however,has been to improve the state of security in the Windows operating system.Windows Vista features a new way of searching called Instant Search,which is significantly faster and more in-depth (content-based) than the search features found in any of the previous versions of Windows. ------------------------------- rosejenifar [url=http://www.drivenwide.com]Advisor[/url]

nikolas
nikolas

If Microsoft was able to produce everything shown on the video on some kind of a Longhorn OS' developer build, than all of us running Vista on our machines must be idiots to have cashed out for the advanced hardware and the OS licence in 2007 - as the final product shows only a fraction of what it should, based on a video pro-mis(s)e. I just hope the PDC 2003 Longhorn Teaser Video was produced as an animation (not a real video capture of what was happening on a computer in real time while running OS and the apps). In that case title "Coming Ocrtober 2003" was ment for the "Unveiling of the next generation of Windows". In computer industry one can unveil a new generation of anything at any time one chooses. One may prepare mock-ups and maybe a draft video, leaving the promise of avalability unspoken. Microsoft marketing department was without a doubt exaggerating in their approach to potential Longhorn Developers (at least the video was shown at the developers' conference). I see this as just another concept mock-up video, much like videos coming from other industries. Automotive industry is a clear example: production cars are the one thing, while concept cars are another.

RationalGuy
RationalGuy

Vista was a victim of the classic Microsoft blunder -- adding 10-20% more features than are wanted or needed (whereas Apple tends to include 10-20% fewer features than needed). Based on this video it seems like at one point during the development of Longhorn, they really nailed the UI. Then they just kept adding and adding and adding and we got the bloated mess that is Vista. I imagine meeting after meeting where committees of people sat around convincing themselves if some is good, more is better.