Well, Maybe WinFS Isn’t Being Cut After All…

Microsoft’s Jeremy Mazner says that BusinessWeek’s statement that WinFS network capability will be sacrificed to Longhorn deadline pressure is incorrect. Mazner’s post seems pretty unequivocal. Says Mazner: “WinFS hasn’t been cut.  WinFS hasn’t even really been scoped back….[W]hat [is this talk about] WinFS wouldn’t work over a network?  I’m not entirely sure….Perhaps that line got mangled, or he meant to say something else, or he just misinterpreted some snippet he saw in an email somewhere.  I went back and read the Joe Peterson mail of March 19 that Jay quotes right before his WinFS corporate network quote, and the only instance of the string “WinFS” is in the paragraph where Joe talks about the core pillars of the release remaining the same.”

Maznor wonders if the reporter “had some confusing information about Longhorn Server….We recognize that for WinFS to be really interesting in the enterprise, it needs to be able to scale up to a server environment.  And we know that the Longhorn client version of WinFS is not optimized for that kind of scale….”

Okay, so that introduces the question of scale. I wonder if that’s a 32-64 bit thing at the enterprise network level? (I’ve kind of become obsessed with the whole 32-64 bit thing lately.)

Second, there’s the question of “legacy” file systems. On the face of it, that would seem to be the single hardest aspect of the WinFS concept. One could certainly anticipate a lack of features in that area in the first release and one would certainly be wise to anticipate that this is an area where one would see Microsoft’s classic pattern of pragmatic, stepping-stone approaches that “get it right in version 3.”

More from Microsoft as the story develops…


Spencer the Katt gives brief mention to a forthcoming device that, like the Lojak car system, gives location information on a lost or stolen laptop. If you accept the premise that a thing that is not obvious but not entirely invisible is a useful anti-theft technology, couldn’t equivalent functionality be done in software? Essentially, ping a server with your id, and if you don’t get an okay, disable the system (yeah, yeah, work in a semi-disconnected model, user-definable lockdown options, virus-writer techniques to mask the driver’s “signature,” etc.). Of course, short of a BIOS implementation, it would be paved over by a formatting, but you’ve achieved the primary goal (casual access to your information). Maybe the lockdown could lead to a “No questions asked reward” screen — giving the theft / janitor who found the thing an incentive to return the hardware in the locked down (but recoverable) state.

I dunno’. Are laptop thieves actively interested in purloining information? If so, putting a software-based obstruction in their way is laughable.