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WinInfo Daily UPDATE, March 29, 2005

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In the News
- Python Expands To IronPython
- It's Official: Windows XP N

==== In the News ====

by Mark Joseph Edwards, [email protected]

Python Expands To IronPython

You might have heard of Python, a popular and powerful cross-platform open-source programming language. Python, which is the creation of Jim Hugunin, is described as "an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language ... often compared to Java, Perl, Scheme, or Tcl." The basic description says a lot (for more information about Python, see the URL below). Even behemoths such as Google rely heavily on Python to develop their solutions. Microsoft has also recently gotten into the act.
Last year, Hugunin decide to expand on Python by creating IronPython (see the first URL below), a new implementation that works within the Microsoft .NET Framework and the cross-platform Mono environment, which Novell sponsors (see the second URL below). Version 0.6 was released to the public in July, when Hugunin also announced that he was joining Microsoft to continue working on IronPython's evolution. Last week (some 8 months after Hugunin joined the company), Microsoft released IronPython pre-alpha version 0.7 to the public. Incidentally, Microsoft stresses on its download page that IronPython is a codename, so undoubtedly the company plans to come up with another name for the final release.
IronPython is faster than the original Python and lets programmers handle diverse sets of styles, interfaces, and subsystems. You can also use the language to communicate with hardware and to develop the same functionality as programs written in other languages--but with far fewer lines of code. With IronPython, you can also produce static runtime executables (.exe files) and DLLs.
The main thrust of IronPython seems to be that it supports Microsoft's Common Language Runtime (CLR) environment (see the first URL below), which allows seamless integration of code written in numerous languages, such as C++, C#, Java, and Visual Basic (VB). If you want a flexible cross-platform language, be sure to check out Python, and if you're developing for .NET Framework, you should certainly check out IronPython 0.7 (see the second URL below). IronPython also has a message board, documentation, and a bug-tracking facility (see the third URL below) and a mailing list you can join (see the fourth URL below), although Hugunin implied in a message to the list that it might eventually be closed in favor of the message board.

It's Official: Windows XP N

Microsoft has reached an agreement with the European Commission regarding the name of a European Windows XP version that doesn't contain Windows Media Player (WMP). XP versions sold in Europe will be called Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional Edition N. Microsoft suggested a list of nine possible names, including one with the suffix Reduced Media Edition, but the Commission didn't like any of Microsoft's proposed names and instead suggested the name that the company eventually accepted. Microsoft reportedly also agreed to delete any statements that warn that some applications don't work with the new XP edition.
"While we are disappointed with that determination and have some misgivings that the Commission's designated name may cause confusion for consumers, we will adopt the Commission's name in order to promptly move forward and accelerate the pace of the implementation process," the company stated in a press release issued yesterday. Microsoft is still working to address another Commission requirement that the company provide open access to its server protocols.

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