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Q&A: Microsoft's Eric Rudder on Longhorn, Indigo, Web services

He declined to specify a release date for the next generation of Windows

By Carol Sliwa
October 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - LOS ANGELES -- Eric Rudder, senior vice president of servers and tools at Microsoft Corp., declined to nail down a release date for Longhorn, the next major Windows release this week. But he was more forthcoming about some of the new technologies the company demonstrated at its Professional Developers Conference here. Excerpts from Computerworld's interview with Rudder follow:

Microsoft demonstrated new technologies targeted for Longhorn, the next major Windows release. When will we see them, and how much of them are expected to make it into this release as opposed to a future version? I think more important than exactly when is that we've gone out of our way to share our thinking with the community and get feedback early. We take a bit of a risk ... but I think I've been clear with my team certainly [that] I'd absolutely run the risk of disclosing too much rather than disclosing too little.
I think we're very sincere about getting all of this technology to market and the strategy we've identified as these waves of technology. We're in the Windows 2003 wave now. People can start to take advantage of a lot of this technology today. People can write managed code apps. They can use C#. They can use VB.Net. They can write Web service solutions.
We absolutely will deliver Yukon, the next version of SQL Server, and Whidbey, the next version of Visual Studio, shortly. People have technology preview editions and can expect updates to that every couple of months until we get it out. On the road map, I showed that in the second half of 2004 for Whidbey and Yukon. We think of that as together in the same wave, and Longhorn some time after that.

Microsoft recently listed Longhorn for 2005 and beyond. Is 2005 still a possibility? We're more focused on building the right product with the right quality, and those things will determine our schedule.

Why did Microsoft choose to share so much information at this conference about products such as Longhorn that are so far out? Because it helps us build better products. What better way to understand if we're meeting customer needs and IT needs and developer needs than by giving them an early preview where they still can influence the product? Some of these things are in the design phase. They're still at the point where we can actually change the implementation based on the feedback of the community.

A Gartner analyst characterized Indigo, the code name for communications technology for building advanced Web services, as an enterprise service bus. Do you agree?

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