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WinFS Beta 1 Released Early 582

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the how-early-is-too-early dept.
Mouldy Punk writes "Infoworld is reporting that WinFS Beta 1 has been released. The new relational file system for Windows is posted on MSDN Subscriber Downloads. This release is designed to offer developers a preview of WinFS capabilities. WinFS will be in beta when Windows Vista ships and will RTM afterwords. WinFS, when it ships, will be available for download for Windows Vista and possible support for Windows XP is being considered. The distribution mechanism for WinFS will be through an add-on download much like the .NET framework is today. Tom Rizzo also notes that there is a new blog dedicated to Win FS."
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WinFS Beta 1 Released Early

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2005 @08:46PM (#13432091)
    What should Hans has to say on this fs.
    • by HishamMuhammad (553916) on Monday August 29, 2005 @11:26PM (#13432844) Homepage Journal
      One may or may not agree with the guys opinions (especially about his stance on non-technical issues), but the fact is that Hans Reiser is one of the top experts in the field of filesystems.

      I for one would like to know what Hans has to say on this fs.
      • Is Linux Trailing? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hansreiser (6963) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @01:55AM (#13433454) Homepage


        Reiser4 is technologically ahead of WinFS as a high performance storage layer, see www.namesys.com [namesys.com] for details on its design. When you do this layering the way they did it, with the metadata stored in a layer above the FS rather than integrated into it, you lose a lot of performance while gain the advantage of successfully avoiding dealing with a host of technical issues. We are at least 5 years ahead of them technically in the storage layer.


        That said, semantic enhancements matter more than performance, and it is better to do something semantically than to do nothing, and what Linux currently is doing is nothing.


        The political support for adding semantic enhancements to Linux namespaces is mixed at best. I worry we will see that death by committee rules, and there will be no belief that each FS should try to innovate in its own way and compete with the others until one is proven the right solution. We are in serious danger of having MS implement bad technology, and Linux having to devote large amounts of resources to copying it in 5 years because we were late and chose to trail rather than lead. If the filesystems were free to compete in semantics, we could have one or several of the Linux filesystems leading them instead.


        SQL and the relational model is fundamentally the wrong model for semi-structured data. See www.namesys.com/whitepaper.html [namesys.com] for why.


        Technically, I would worry much more about Apple. Dominic Giampaolo is very bright, and well funded. His chances of delivering on a good set of semantics are high because he and Jobs are very sharp, and neither of them is afraid to go where no one has gone before. Our chances of losing technically to Giampaolo and Jobs are high, because we are frankly not well funded, and a lot of us are complacent with semantics that are still pretty much the same as their father's Unix box.



        So, in summary, I would say that we are still ahead but losing speed fast.



        Thanks for your kind words Hisham.

        • by team99parody (880782) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @02:39AM (#13433620) Homepage
          adding semantic enhancements to Linux namespaces is mixed at best......If the filesystems were free to compete in semantics, we could have one or several of the Linux filesystems leading them instead.

          I could not agree more. I would very much like to see more advances/innovation/inventions out the F/OSS, and here's a place where it has happened but apparently is at the risk of stagnating.

          Is there a recommended place (hopefully one of the big distros) where we can get a kernel that supports the hooks you need?

          Personally, I'd speculate that these benefits would be a nice point of differentiation for one of the commercial distros; and its proven success in that environment could be a big motivation for the kernel to approve the changes.

        • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @05:16AM (#13434079) Homepage
          Hi Hans,

          I've been watching the fun you've had on lkml and wanted to say don't give up! The work you and your team are doing is wondeful.

          If anything, I think you should stop focussing on getting Reiser4 into the kernel and instead start demonstrating the applications of your ideas on semantics. In other words - put what you've built to work outside the kernel and prove to people that they cannot live without a next-generation filing system. It may even mean doing things you have never done before, like creating a new distro derivative.

          I know how emotionally draining free software politics can be, we get a lot of that in my own autopackage project. If it gets too much rather than risk burn out, go off and do your own thing for a while. If you really do have a better way people will join your banner ;)

          • by mkro (644055) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @06:55AM (#13434409)
            So true. I've also been reading the mailing list about this, and I can see Hans banging his head to the wall. I must admit the reasoning against implementing it -- why this-and-this should go in that layer and so on -- goes over my head, but I fear Hans will give up the same way Nemosoft Unv did regarding the PWC driver. Where I feel Nemosoft was wrong (and that solved itself quite nicely), I do not think we can afford losing Hans Reiser. Mike (The real one) has a good point about letting Reiser4 prove itself: Quite a few run non-standard kernels, all you need is something like BEST/KAT (Tenor?) to be successful, and the users will start applying pressure to get Reiser4 included by default.
            • Notice that linux kernel developers haven't neccesarily opposed to reiser 4 ideas, but how they have been implemented. Hell, Linus even likes the "files-as-directories" thing, a idea which makes many UNIX zealots vomit...

              The problem with reiser 4 being merged (as I've seen it in the flam^Wdiscussions) is that they seem to implement things that should be implemented at VFS level, not in the reiser 4 code like they're doing now. It's that what is stopping reiser 4 from being merged, not the "ideas" themsel
              • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:24AM (#13436277) Homepage
                If by VFS you mean the gnome and kde libraries that add a whole load of explorer-like features to the desktop environments I disagree strongly. Anything implemented there is a workaround, and is only usable by applications that are built to take advantages of those libraries. File systems and the features they offer should be transparent. It shouldn't matter whether I'm using Gnome, KDE, GNUstep or the command line. The file system should be the same.
        • a lot of us are complacent with semantics that are still pretty much the same as their father's Unix box

          My father was in a coastal village in deep southern China, between Guandong and Hainan Island. The year was 1911, it was in the waning months of the Qing dynasty. If the stories are true, the house he was born in apparently doubled as a chicken coop. I'd dearly love to get my hands on his Unix box, it'd be quite a family heirloom.
  • Rushed? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PunkOfLinux (870955)
    Chances are, they rushed it out the door and it's going to be absolutely terrible. In other news, Microsoft released something ahead of schedule! Unlike 'Vista' (I'll always call it longhorn)
    • Re:Rushed? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonadab (583620)
      > Unlike 'Vista' (I'll always call it longhorn)

      Vista is not Longhorn -- at least, not as Longhorn was envisioned at one time.

      Longhorn, it was said, will use WinFS as its native filesystem. (It will include support for fat32, ntfs, fat16, iso9660, and possibly fat12, but these will be "legacy" systems, deprecated, and probably not supported for the main filesystem where the OS is installed, only for additional filesystems, such as on removable drives.) Vista will still use ntfs as its primary native fil
  • First post. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2005 @08:46PM (#13432096)
    MS just found the backup disk.
  • by jbplou (732414) on Monday August 29, 2005 @08:47PM (#13432101)
    A file system that you get by an add-on? What good will that do, most desktops in Windows have partion set to ntfs under XP what do you do with it once you added it on. Is this really a file system or is it a indexer of files.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You can convert ex2fs to ext3fs, and you can convert fat32 to ntfs. There is a good chance you will be able to upgrade ntfs to winfs.
      • Converting a Fat32 partition with system data on it to NTFS isn't always a great idea, performance-wise. It's usually best to format NTFS from go. I wonder if WinFS is the same? If so, it's probably not worth downloading this add-on for XP unless you can slip-stream it somehow into the XP boot CD.
        • by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr.bhtooefr@org> on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:12PM (#13432241) Homepage Journal
          As I understand it, WinFS is an overlay on top of NTFS, adding metadata, much like how VFAT is an overlay on FAT, adding long filename support.

          Trivia bit: Before NT4, you couldn't install NT on an NTFS partition. FAT was the only way to go. The install WOULD immediately convert the partition to NTFS on first boot, but it wouldn't actually install as NTFS.
          • I think to this day, XP and 2K3 formats the filesystems as FAT32, and converts them to NTFS before installing the OS. (Win2K may have been the last OS to do this, so please verify).
            • That's not the case with XP. I've tested it out -- use the install disc to format to NTFS, then switch over to Linux. It'll ID it correctly as NTFS.
              • That's not the case with XP. I've tested it out -- use the install disc to format to NTFS, then switch over to Linux. It'll ID it correctly as NTFS.

                Where exactly does it say that the partition ID has to match the filesystem that is currently on the drive? Did you try actually mounting it to make sure?

                I have no idea what Windows does at that point in the install process, and it really make no difference at all.

          • Correction:

            Yes, by default the NT installer program would create a FAT partition and then convert it to NTFS. That was the order set up in the installer app.

            If, however, you formatted the drive first in another NT machine as NTFS, you could then install directly to the NTFS partition.
      • Well, there's really no conversion that happens between ext2 and ext3... the only difference between the two is that ext3 uses a journal. If you disable the journal on an ext3 partition, it effectively becomes ext2.
    • > A file system that you get by an add-on? What good will that do, most desktops in Windows have partion set to ntfs under XP what do you do with it once you added it on. Is this really a file system or is it a indexer of files.

      The bu^H^Hfeature is that you no longer get^H^H^Hneed to know where your files are.

      Some idiot UI designer probably wrote a paper about how Windows users are confused as to where their files are located.

      Rather than addressing the root of the problem -- the even bigger idiot

      • by Matt2k (688738) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:05PM (#13432210)
        > and whose mistake was propagated to Windows 98, 98SE, ME, NT, 2K, XP, and 2K3, effectively making it impossible for nontechnical users to ever learn where their files were located...

        The root of the problem is that most people do not care where their files are located. They just want it to work.

        By the way, I think something is wrong with your keyboard.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:09PM (#13432231)
          By the way, I think something is wrong with your keyboard.

          You mean the ^H's? He's probably using Lunix. It's 2005 and they still can't get the freaking backspace key to work.

        • by tsa (15680) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @12:53AM (#13433190) Homepage
          The root of the problem is that most people do not care where their files are located. They just want it to work.

          That attitude (of the most people you are talking about) to me is just like, for instance: ``I don't want to learn about strings and notes, I just want to play the guitar!''

          People will have to get it into their heads that computers are complicated things and you need some basic understanding of how they work before being able to use them. Have you ever seen a `My Documents' folder of someone who doesn't want to know about computers? No wonder they're always complaining that `it doesn't work.'
          • People will have to get it into their heads that computers are complicated things and you need some basic understanding of how they work before being able to use them.

            And people like YOU will have to get it into your heads that it is the job of the technologists to take things which are inherently comlicated, and spend as much time as possibly making them less so, up to a point where interaction with the technology is as simple as pushing against a door to open it.

            Your guitar analogy is quite idiotic as wel
            • You have a point there.

              Usage of common household appliances, like television sets, microwaves, and computers, should NOT take any specific effort to use. And if they do, then they're either ill-conceived, poorly designed, or in an unfinished experimental stage.

              I think computer interfaces are still in the unfinished experimental stage. Until they come out of that, people will have to learn how to operate computers.
              • Let me put it to you this way:

                If you want to use a modern cell phone, do you need to know how it stores data, what operating system it uses, or how it's address book is stored in the phone's hardware? Or do you simply need to know that is has the capability of saving your friends' phone numbers and know the simple process of navigating through this list?
            • ..to a point where interaction with the technology is as simple as pushing against a door to open it.

              General purpose computing devices will never, ever be as simple as you wish. Notice that all the devices you list are single-function devices; they have a finite set of states and are capable of doing only one job.

              A computer is nothing like a toaster. It is a general purpose device with an almost inifinite number of states. It's "jobs" are mearly abstractions. It can do one, many, or no jobs at any
              • Now creating simple specific interfaces to common well understood jobs may be possible. That's still a very small subset of what a computer does though.

                But I think that's exactly what WinFS is trying to do here. It's creating a specific, simple interface (the WinFS browser) to do a common, well-understood job (finding and organizing your files). The fact that it does so in a manner alien to you does not mean it is wrong or stupid.

                There's a very good analogy lesson here with MP3 collections. Back when I o
              • I agree that "pushing a door" is a simple analogy, but our abstraction is getting better all the time. One should not need to know how a computer works in order to undertake a task which does not directly involve "making the computer work". You shouldn't need to have to understand paths to save a file. I don't want the file with the name "letter to Bob" and last week's timestamp in the work subdirectory of the text docs folder with the correct file type. I want the letter I wrote to Bob last week. To a tech

          • by xtracto (837672) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @05:41AM (#13434163) Journal
            Have you ever seen a `My Documents' folder of someone who doesn't want to know about computers? No wonder they're always complaining that `it doesn't work.'

            Yes, I have seen the "My Documents" folder of my mother's account. And as you say she has like 500 documents, including MS Explorer saved files AND their corresponding folders to hold images and misc binary files.

            Yes I know that for me it is really stupid, as I tend to order every thing on its subfolder. For example let me tell you how I order my music: /mnt/Music/ /Anime /Metal /Dream Theater /Images and Words /... /OST /Boondock Saints /Kill Bill /... /Guitar /Classical /Shred /... ...

            blah blah, you get the idea.

            And, althoug I have heard the marvelous things that programs as iTunes, Win.Media Player, Winamp Media Library or even MusicMatch jukebox do to order music libraries I still cant get one that I find really useful.

            Maybe for a lot of us that is THE way to do it, but see, my mother, as a lot of computer users is just a Biology teacher. She knows the minimum required to do what she NEEDS to do in her computer (Word, Excel, Power Point) you just need to understand that people does not have the model in their heads, I mean, the model of the file system, that you/we automatically recall when we open the Windows Explorer/Knoqueror/etc...

            That attitude (of the most people you are talking about) to me is just like, for instance: ``I don't want to learn about strings and notes, I just want to play the guitar!''

            Now, as an example, Think about the WinFS like Gmail, I really found the Gmail approach useful, more if I have thousands of mail. If you see, desktop search bars have gained a lot of acceptance these days.

            That is because we no longer know what each file in our computer does, and we do not have to care. We need to get exactly the file that we need when we need it, and you can do that searching.

            Now before ranting about the facts I gave, just take my last paragraph and replace the word file with mail and instead of a Microsoft technology you will have a Google technology, is it bad? no, I really dont care where all my files go, if I need to have some files classified then a Tag would be great. otherwise I just want the OS to identify it when I ask for it.

          • The root of the problem is that most people do not care where their files are located. They just want it to work. That attitude (of the most people you are talking about) to me is just like, for instance: ``I don't want to learn about strings and notes, I just want to play the guitar!''

            Bah. Most people use their computer because they have to in order to do work. And, honestly, it's not such a terrible request that the computer be easier to use. Half of the things that the user is required to manage sh
      • by aussie_a (778472) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:35PM (#13432351) Journal
        The bu^H^Hfeature is that you no longer get^H^H^Hneed to know where your files are.

        One of these days they're going to invent an operating system that recognises the Backspace button. The possibilities will be endless! They might even have cars that run on electricity in that future age.
      • by ciroknight (601098) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:48PM (#13432409)
        To be honest, I rather like the model of files having no direct location, rather, just a byte-heap in a database. For a long time, this is actually how I've organized my files on my disk, but the problem is, every now and again, your mind changes how you want to lay out all of the files, and it takes a few hours to refile everything in the correct folders.

        With folders going the way of the highway, you can just heap whatever files you want, wherever you want, without all of that path confusion. Deal with namespace collisions either with longer, more descriptive file names, unique file identifiers, or a mixture of the two.

        You might find it idiotic, but I find it as the best way to organize my files and find what I want, as fast as possible. Pair it with a program that can rip my files apart for all of the metadata that it can give up, index that along side the files, and no file is ever more than a few mouseclicks away. Best yet, instead of having to delete and move files around, which thrashes the disk and makes the filesystem a disaster, the filesystem can effeciently use space because it can know exactly how big the files are, and start sticking files right up next to each other. And if I were designing the UI for this thing, you'd be able to change over to a pane, change the SQL query, and poof, the folder displays what you want.

        No more rediculous symlinks. No more folder paths, executable paths, etc. Better isolation of executable files and libraries and configurations, verses userspace files. Honestly, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages IMO.
        • agreed. My only hope is that it could do this over multiple volumes. With my media collection spanning multiple harddrives, it would be nice to have it aggrigate them into on logical volume, and organise them by metadata (tv show, movie, music album, etc) now, will somebody port something similar to linux so i can lay this ontop of the ext3 filesystems i currently use.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          > You might find it idiotic, but I find it as the best way to organize my files and find what I want, as fast as possible. Pair it with a program that can rip my files apart for all of the metadata that it can give up, index that along side the files, and no file is ever more than a few mouseclicks away.

          That's a reasonable solution for a technical user.

          ...to consistently and correctly enter and update the metadata about their files?

          It's hard enough to get people to ID3V1 or V2-tag their MP3 files.

          • Why does a human have to enter the metadata? Why not let the machine do what it can to derive what the file is about, and ask the human whether or not it's right? Such a system can be taught to "learn" when it's right or wrong, and it'd get better with time.

            People can't update their ID3 tags. But they can download a program like MusicBrainz which is a database of ID3 tags that those of us with the time do things right.

            To be truthful, the worse metadata that exists today in my opinion is that of Photos, and
        • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @12:13AM (#13432999) Homepage Journal

          Your description sounds an awful lot like what the AS400 team used to describe when I worked at companies that had good AS400 techies. It hybridized the mainframe-style contiguous file allocations with an integrated RDBMS that tracked the file information, much as the file information pages do with other file systems.

          I find it interesting that so many "advances" other systems are making nowadays sound exactly like what the AS400 developers used to talk about. Using databases to store configuration information. Making the database an integral part of the OS. Virtualizing all storage so the system could shuffle files based on size changes and usage patterns to minimize head thrashing. Using wizards/forms for adding new software, changing configurations, etc.

          I guess it's all considered "new" because so few people ever actually learned anything about the AS400 internals -- they just used them and counted on the system to do it's job properly.

          • > I guess it's all considered "new" because so few people ever actually learned anything about the AS400 internals

            Words can't even describe ... its "new" because so few people ever used the AS400. Period. I mean, beOS has some of this functionality, OSX has a certain level of extensible file metadata, but so few people, comparitively use or used those OSes that you have to accept that when Windows does it, its news because thats where it hits the most users.
          • by TheAncientHacker (222131) <.TheAncientHacker. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @01:37AM (#13433390)
            It wasn't an "advance" new with the IBM AS/400. The AS/400 series inherited it from the relatively unpopular IBM System/38. The System/38 inherited it from the IBM Future Systems project done in the late '60s and early '70s but that IBM never quite managed to get quite ready enough to actually ship.

            You can read more about it at the relevant Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] article.
        • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @12:50AM (#13433162)
          Ok, fine... you have just heaps of data, with a myriad of references to them.

          What then is delete? How does a user distinguish between "remove an association from the blob of data" vs "remove this blob of data altogether". Should the blob automatically delete when you remove all metadata around it? If not, how will you find it again? If so, would you really want data vanishing just because you removed a keyword?

          What does partial backup look like on a system? How can you have a combination of partial backups and know you have a whole? I can do that with a set of five directories. Let's say you tag a set of files with "project fred". But one small file, that you almost never care about, gets tagged with "project ferd". What good is the ol' Fred backup now?

          At some core level these blobs of data that users place on a system need ONE meaningful location where they always "are". You need someplace where the file will always be, no matter what other associations you remove. You need somewhere you know it will be to assure yourself EVERYTHING you care about is backed up or moved between systems.

          The perfection you seek can just as easily be obtained with files in directories that allow metadata on top of them and things like smart folders that are essentially queries over the user-defined and automatically extracted metadata. In fact I think that's what WinFS does anyway (just like OS X does today).

          If you really like the system you describe nothing is stopping you from storing all your files in a DB and writing an explorer on top of that. Yet all this time, things like that have never taken off in the market.

          Some things do not take off because the technology to make the useful has not yet arrived. But some things simply never take off because in practice they are not practical, and the filesystem as a full-fledged database with no default structure is one of those things.
        • by asifyoucare (302582) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @12:52AM (#13433172)
          ...No more rediculous symlinks.

          Damn, you mean I can't do something like this

          ln -s ridiculous rediculous

        • From Rob Pike's slashdot interview [slashdot.org]:

          5) Database filesystems - by defile The buzz around filesystems research nowadays is making the UNIX filesystem more database-ish. The buzz around database research nowadays is making the relational database more OOP-ish.

          This research to me sounds like the original designers growing tired of the limitations of their "creations" now that they're commodities and going back to the drawing board to "do things right this time". I predict the reinvented versions will never
      • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday August 29, 2005 @10:14PM (#13432523) Homepage
        I totally agree. I mean... when I search for "Porn" on my drive, it would be as though I did a search for *.*
      • by Skreems (598317) on Monday August 29, 2005 @11:32PM (#13432866) Homepage
        That post just made my day :-) Hilarious. 90% of users don't understand that the Desktop is actually a file in a heirarchical structure. If you stopped hiding that fact from them, sat them down and said "look, here's how things are structured"... you could fix all of this in about 10 minutes. Perpetuating the "hide things from the stupid user" UI philosophy only makes people less willing to learn, and thus increases the need for stupid workarounds to fix it. Vicious cycle.
    • by xygorn (632847) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:03PM (#13432204)
      Take a look at http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=1063 56 [msdn.com]
      for more information.

      Basically, it sounds like the files are stored at the low level as ntfs files, with a relational database wrapping around them, allowing you to treat them as .NET objects.
    • by globalar (669767) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:24PM (#13432306) Homepage
      WinFS is essentially an intelligent metadata layer. In Windows OS parlance, an executive subsystem that utilizes an existing NTFS volume. The idea is to extend the traditional data model for files/folders and scraps of metadata into object-oriented patterns that the entire system can use (and hopefully reuse). Sort of like an object manager for the filesystem.

      It's more than a file indexer for a developer, but just that for the enduser. Right now, it seems Microsoft really just wants feedback on the API's. If any real innovation for endusers is going to come from this, Microsoft seems to hope developers will figure it out.

      ext3 was essentially an add-on for ext2. Point being, some of the better improvements don't take reinventing everything.
  • NTFS? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Snoolas (910809) on Monday August 29, 2005 @08:48PM (#13432107)
    I wonder if there is a possibility of MS releasing the NTFS specs for the FOSS community once WinFS becomes widely used? That would be great, but seems unlikely.
  • GNOME Storage? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2005 @08:48PM (#13432108)
    I realize that this is a story about WinFS, but I'm hoping someone knowledgeable about GNOME Storage is reading.

    I'm just wondering if any progress has been made on GNOME Storage or if it's just completely stagnated (a Seth project stagnating? Why I never!). My guess is all he did was some special natural language interface (which should have been an add-on later) and did no real work on a relational file system.

    I wish that guy would finish something for once.
    • Re:GNOME Storage? (Score:3, Informative)

      by ciroknight (601098)
      Um, no offense, but GNOME Storage was CRAP. I've been following Database filesystems for a long, long time, and have worked out a number of different implementation-schemas on paper, and I have to tell you, the way that GNOME storage was going about things was entirely bogus.

      The sytsem worked off the idea of installing a CORBA orb in the kernel to communicate back to userspace, where the query utility was located. This has advantages, but the enormous, gigantic disadvantage of having to have a CORBA orb
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Monday August 29, 2005 @08:54PM (#13432141)
    I hope people find it usefull. I tried the Vista beta a month or so ago and I wasn't impressed one bit. Nothing felt different or improved. I don't know if I was expecting some radical changes, but other than the "theme", it looked the same as XP. In fact, judging from "look and feel" it rendered the clear type fonts very blurry compared to xorg on gentoo which I'm currently typing this on.

    However, the only thing I can saw I was pleased about was its performance. On a 2.4 ghz celeron with 512 mb of ram, it ran fine, just as fast as XP on the same system.

    What did impress me about a week later was when I took that spare HD I used for vista and loaded OSX on it. Now that looked beautiful, ran fast, ran native OSX apps fine, and my conclusion from that week of OS experimentation was that if OSX ever made it to whitebox computers legally (let's not start this discussion again) it would knock Microsoft out of the water.

    Let's face it, few home users will switch to Vista legally. Most will get it with a new computer. My school uses Windows 2000 and probably won't switch to even XP for a while. So go figure.
    • it IS legal.

      when it becomes available for purchase, you can legally install it on any computer you choose. someone ought to challenge the "EULA" and vendor artificial lock-in. hell, why not buy the ppc version and install it on the ppc computer of your choice... one wonders why DRM isn't fully ubiquitous by now judging from these kinds of decisions. DRM has always been about control and nothing else.

      i don't doubt that every other industry will also want some kind of DRM on physical objects too... they just
      • But Apple could put a simple copy protection that looks for some specific chip on the motherboard that only exists on their hardware. So you get OSX, crack it in two seconds, and you've just violated the DMCA.

        What most people (not most people here though) never understood about laws like the DMCA is that software and hardware manufacturers could control many aspects of their product using simple copy protection schemes and just rely on the DMCA to enforce their rules.

        It's not going to stop at printer cartr
    • I tried the Vista beta a month or so ago and I wasn't impressed one bit.

      Well since Beta 1 wasn't put out to "impress" anyone, I'm not surprised at all. You completely missed the point of the beta. It was targeted towards developers, to give them a chance to begin working with Vista's new features. All of the really cool new stuff won't be added until at least Beta 2.
      • I wouldn't be surprised if I did miss the point of the beta in that I wasn't impressed with any new features. But then what features are the developers looking for? Not to sound rude, but I guess I am missing your point.
    • by merreborn (853723) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:20PM (#13432284) Journal
      There's one good reason to switch to vista: Microsoft ends support of their OSes after 5 years. Windows 2k, as much as I love it, isn't going to be much fun after a few years without a single patch. XP will go the same way before long.
      • actually running an unpatched os behind a NAT is virtually hack-proof through the means of worms and port exploits. and if you don't get infected with spyware/trojans, then you're basically home free.

        it's been my experience that upgrading your os is not always in your best interest. sometimes certain configurations end up worse after the upgrade. programs stop working, peripherals go haywire etc.

        it's a good thing most updates allow an uninstall.
    • by DrCode (95839) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:21PM (#13432288)
      About performance...

      It's somewhat telling that you were pleased that it ran just as fast as XP on the same system. On my Linux box, when I upgrade the kernel or even KDE, I generally expect better performance than before. I get the impression that OSX users expect the same.
  • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Monday August 29, 2005 @08:56PM (#13432155)
    Seriously, if this is being backported to XP then what will be the difference between XP and Vista? Afaik all the avalon and .net libraries are being backported. All i can think of is a glass looking interface, some toolbars and a bunch of wizards?
    • Don't forget DRM. (Score:3, Informative)

      by plasmacutter (901737)
      yep.. it's chock fool of DRM. Requirements for vista logo testing involves mandatory compliance with CGMS-a, AACS, Down-rezzing, bus encryption, and "remote controlled component revocation" programs.

      There's a reason Vista took so long to develop and it wasn't the end user interface [corante.com]

    • by KillerBob (217953)
      I had an e-mail exchange with Bill Hilf, and he was able to point out a couple of fairly significant differences that *are* going to make it into Vista.

      Probably the most interesting to the Linux community is that the services for Unix (SFU) POSIX-compliancy layer is going to be running at the same level as the Win32 execution code. They aren't going to be nested, they're going to be parallel. Theoretically, it might even be possible to replace USER, GDI, and EXPLORER with your favourite X server and DE/WM.
  • Anyone have a link to a download for non-subscribers?
  • When Microsoft first introduced WinFS in 2003, the company said it would include a new synchronization engine that could index a host of disparate Windows files

    I'll bet it is based on the Unix 'file' command.
  • What exactly is it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SumDog (466607) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:03PM (#13432205) Homepage Journal
    I've seen a lot of stuff about WinFS and I do RTFA, but I'm still a little puzzled. Is this supposed to be like a labeling file-system where instead of having folders you apply labels to each file (document, music, etc.) similar to Google Mail's system? That's what I think of when I think of "relational" as in database design.

    But from what I've heard, WinFS sits atop of NTFS and simply connects it to a SQL database for indexing. How the hell is this revolutionary. You could place all your files in a "My Documents" folder and then make a nice pretty front end to it, categorizing each file, and then hacking the file chooser to use your interface.

    I really think Microsoft should have though harder about this and made it a real filesystem with a new structure and layout on disk. It could have really be different and revolunatory, but from what I can tell, it's just a layer now and offers nothing really new or innovative.
  • Vista==XP (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitalderbs (718388) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:07PM (#13432216)
    When buying a Vista license, you'll be paying for XP a second time ... but you're really saving in the TCO.
  • Excellent! (Score:3, Funny)

    by sigmaseven (906671) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:07PM (#13432219)
    Yeah, I should use a Microsoft beta file system, because my files and documents aren't in enough danger as it is....

    Seriously, is there an upside to this system to the casual-to-serious user? Or is it mostly a DRM-delivery platform? I read TFAs, but this sentence hurt me: "(Integrated data initiative is a term used to refer to a group of technologies whose goal is to provide better integration for data..." ...aaaand I just bluescreened my brain.
    • So they are releasing a beta, big whoop? The same thing happens in open source, hell in fact a lot of distros are holding back official reiser4 support until its released in the mainstream kernel. For some people it makes sense to try it out, or to look at what features are available for it that can be developed on. There is a reason it was released on MSDN (Keyword *DEVELOPER NETWORK*) and not to the general public (ie "casual-to-serious users"). As far as I see it, the eventual general usage of WinFS is b
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:12PM (#13432239)
    If this is an add-on which interfaces to the kernel through an API it should be possible to get it to run under Wine, right? I'm fairly ignorant about how Wine works, so I'm wondering. That would be cool to have WinFS running on Linux.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:17PM (#13432264)
    Right now you can add attributes to NTFS files, but there's no decent way to do it. Likewise, ANY DB-style FS is going to be limited to the ways that the vendor (MS) provides for you to access the data. Remember those ridiculous dialogs Winword used to prompt with? Asking all that crap about the author, and topic, etc. etc. until you asked Clippy how to turn the fscking thing off?
    The "DB based FS" is only as good as the data that you put in, unless you solely want to make virtual folders of "all my MP3s that I warez'd last week from Rancid", but I'd say those sorts of things are going to be in the minority.. and again, depend on the metadata of said pirate MP3s.
    Now there will be code jocks out there who would LOVE this sort of thing, since you could probably use it as a halfway decent free CVS replacement, but I'm thinking more of Joe and Jane Sixpack. How is it going to make their AOL experience better?
  • Ok but .... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by matth (22742)
    .. what about fragmentation? We're now going through what? 6 to 7 different Windows versions and we still can't fix the basic problem of file fragmentation? Good grief.
  • Ever been to Cairo? (Score:5, Informative)

    by AnimeFreak (223792) on Monday August 29, 2005 @09:50PM (#13432418) Homepage
    When Microsoft first introduced WinFS in 2003, the company said it would include a new synchronization engine that could index a host of disparate Windows files

    In 2003? Jesus Christ!

    I seem to remember that in 1994, Cairo [wikipedia.org] was all the rage. Hell, it has been an idea since 1991. If I did not toss them out before I moved into my current house, I'd have scans of each individual article in Windows Magazine about Cairo from 1994, 1995, and 1997.

    WinFS is not even close to being called "new."
  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Perryman (882190) on Monday August 29, 2005 @11:12PM (#13432787)
    ...A microsoft supported file sharing program! wait... what does the FS stand for again?
  • by rochlin (248444) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @01:37AM (#13433391) Homepage
    People seem to think WinFS is about the user experience -- where your files will be kept instead of folders, what meta data you can search on or what the new Explorer will look like. Somebody on the WinFS blog wanted screenshots (even). But it's really about programming standards and flexibility. When you write a program, almost the first thing you do is create a data format which might be an XML or RDBMS Schema or a text file format with a lot of commas. If you want to share that data between apps or between computers, you really have to create your own API with users and security and all of that junk. In general, you have to do a lot of the low level stuff. If it's built into the OS, it's a terrific thing. It just has to be efficient. MySQL is integral to the LAMP platform. Maybe it's not a file system, but from a programming perspective, that's what it is. Screenshots of MySQL aren't exciting, but having a ubiquitous MySQL with a direct API through the OS integrated with the OS security would be nice. Maybe that's what WinFS will partly be.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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