WinHEC 2005: Day Two Blog [Updated]

Paul wakes up with tears in his eyes for day two of WinHEC 2005. But they are tears of pain, and not joy. Oh, and Longhorn 5048 is not impressive, not at all

Paul Thurrott

April 25, 2005

4 Min Read
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I hate mornings. I wish that wasn't the case, but it is. It's especially true after an excruciatingly long day followed by not enough sleep. In the cold light of morning, I'm reflecting a bit on Longhorn 5048. My thoughts are not positive, not positive at all. This is a painful build to have to deal with after a year of waiting, a step back in some ways. I hope Microsoft has surprises up their sleeves. This has the makings of a train wreck. I'll have more on that later.

I visited the WinHEC show floor briefly with Brian Livingston, but will have to come back later. Here's a factoid that will freak out the many people who have been begging for information about getting on the Longhorn beta: Microsoft has a weird post-SP2 XP machine in their booth that runs a form that lets any attendee sign up for the beta. No word on whether they plan to put such a form on the Microsoft Web site. They should: This project needs a lot of feedback from what I can tell.

Last night, after a fantastic dinner, I stopped by the x64 VIP party briefly. I spoke with Todd Bishop from the Seattle P-I, as well as Steven Bink and Tom Warren. I couldn't stay long, though: Monday is generally a busy day for me, and I still had regularly scheduled work to do.

Today is meeting day. I'm speaking with folks from Dell, HP, AMD, and Microsoft (Windows Server/x64), plus there's a blogger lunch and some Longhorn-oriented sessions. Tonight, Intel is having a party at the Experience Music Project (EMP), so I'll probably swing by there as well.

Finally made it into the press room, about 2 hours and 45 minutes later than I did yesterday.


I started my first meeting late and then ran late for the next few hours. I arrived at the blogger lunch late as well, but it was a veritable who's-who of the Windows enthusiast community. Among the people I spied in the crowd were Robert Scoble, Steven Bink, Tom Warren, Chris Pirillo, Mary Jo Foley, Todd Bishop and Ed Bott, among many others.


Longhorn will run fine on a 1 GHz computer with 256 MB of RAM, according to Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Peterson at the blogger lunch today. This is good news for today's PC users, some of whom are concerned that they won't have the PC muscle needed to run the next Windows. Of course, those people won't get the full-blown Aero Glass experience, but it will still work fine.


Microsoft builds 32-bit and 64-bit builds of Longhorn every single day now. Neither takes precedence over the other. The two versions are co-developed and will be launched simultaneously. There will only be one version: During install, you can choose between the 32-bit and 64-bit version if you have a 64-bit PC. Nice.


It looks like the Sidebar is gone from Longhorn, which is a sore loss.

Longhorn Beta 1 is currently scheduled for June 30, 2005.

Longhorn RTM is currently expected in mid-2006, as always, but will be made publicly available for Holiday 2005.

Wrapping up for the day ... lots of interesting tidbits came to light over the course of the day.

According to Microsoft, there were 60 million flash disks sold last year, and an expected 120 million will sell this year.

This one's bizarre, but we heard at lunch today that Apple is unhappy with the PowerPC production at IBM and will be switching to Intel-compatible chips this very year. Yeah, seriously.

The MSN Messenger server farm handles over 70 million concurrent sessions every single day. Until recently, they were using 250 32-bit servers to manage that load. When they switched to Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition running on x64 hardware, they reduced the size of the farm to just 25 servers. Yikes.

Regarding x64, Microsoft's policy is that all of the server software it releases this year has to be x64 compatible (but could still be 32-bit). By 2007, all of Microsoft's server products will come in native x64 versions.

You know, it's kind of odd. Everyone I talked to was excited to learn more about Longhorn before they got here. But now everyone is a lot more excited about x64 then they are about Longhorn.

Off to dinner. Tonight, Intel is hosting a party at the EMP. I might bail, however, depending on what a few friends are doing.

I've got a new Longhorn build 5048 screenshot gallery (with Aero Glass) and some more photos to post on the SuperSite in the morning. I meant to have those up today, but I kind of lost out on the time zone thing: Other people at the magazine post items to the site for me, but they've gone home for the day.

About the Author(s)

Paul Thurrott

Paul Thurrott is senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro. He writes the SuperSite for Windows, a weekly editorial for Windows IT Pro UPDATE, and a daily Windows news and information newsletter called WinInfo Daily UPDATE.

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