Many will at long last get a peek at the guts of Microsoft’s forthcoming
‘Longhorn’ operating system this week as the software giant kicks off its
Windows Hardware Engineering (WinHEC) trade show in New Orleans Tuesday.
Windows Longhorn is the codename for the next major Windows operating
system release, expected in late 2004 or early 2005. Longhorn is expected
to integrate the Palladium security architecture, a 3-D enabled user
interface (codenamed “Avalon”) and a file system dubbed Windows Future
Storage, which is based on SQL Server 2003.
Attendees of the WinHEC show will have a chance to take in a slew of
sessions covering the upcoming operating system’s drivers, audio/video
capabilities and display architecture.
The company will also use the show as a platform to unveil its new Hardware
and Driver Developer Central portal.
On the Audio and Video Devices track, Microsoft will offer sessions in
Windows Longhorn Audio Architecture and Windows Longhorn Audio/Video User
Experience. The first takes a high level look at Longhorn’s audio
architecture, including an overview of the new “glitch-free audio
subsystem” which the company said has been “redesigned for ease-of-use and
flexibility.” The second session promises an overview of the new audio
video device support infrastructure and user interface that Microsoft said
will make audio/video devices “just work” within Windows and Windows
Another session will cover designing portable media players for Longhorn,
including technical information on new transfer software designs and
information on new wire protocols for device communications.
On the Client Storage track, the company will discuss its plans for optical
storage and writable CD and DVD file system support in Longhorn.
In Display Innovations, the company will unveil its Longhorn Signature
Monitor concept, which aims to change assumptions about traditional
computer monitor applications and create a monitor that enhances business
productivity while also serving as the ideal display device for video and
entertainment applications. Microsoft will also give an overview of
Longhorn’s color management architecture and show how independent hardware
vendors (IHVs) can use the architecture to develop new products. The
company has also promised demonstrations of medical imaging, professional
photography, enterprise printing and other scenarios using the
For manufacturers, Microsoft is providing a session on the Windows Longhorn
Deployment Toolkit, which engineers will use to preinstall the operating
system on PCs.
Microsoft will give attendees an overview of driver development for the new
operating system, as well as hardware compatibility testing. Separate
sessions will break out information on Longhorn’s graphics drivers and
DirectX 9 for Longhorn, which leverage the power of today’s video cards to
drive more “stable and feature-rich” 3-D rendering.
The company is also using the show to launch its new Windows Hardware and
Driver Central (WHDC) community, which Microsoft hopes will serve as a
centralized community resource which helps provide hardware and driver
developers with the technical information they need.