What's Been Yanked From Vista, And When - InformationWeek

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6/26/2006
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What's Been Yanked From Vista, And When

WinFS, the Nomad scripting language, a new PC firmware standard--all were once upon a time features in the operating system.

The disappearance of WinFS from Microsoft's next-generation Windows Vista operating system came as "no surprise" Monday to industry analysts such as Directions on Microsoft's Michael Cherry.

"The only thing that was a surprise was that even though they promoted it as much as they did, it never got any traction," said Cherry. "It just seemed dead from the start."

WinFS -- which truth be told was yanked from Vista back in August 2004 -- wasn't the last (first?) piece of the OS to get the hook.

"I think we're aware of [dropped features] in Vista because they started promoting pieces of it so early," Cherry said. "It's like the tree in the forest. If we didn't know about a feature, would we have heard about it being dropped?"

Any long-term development project suffers cuts, and Vista's no exception. "The long development cycle had something to do with it, certainly. And I don't think it's any different than earlier Windows, other than we have heard about more because of the early promotion and long cycle."

What follows is a list of the most prominent feature departures from Windows Vista, once called "Longhorn":

Next-Generation Secure Computing Base, May 2004: This ambitious security platform -- code named "Palladium" -- was first touted nearly five years ago, but got the ax, then was revived, all in the space of a couple of days. At a 2004 WinHEC, Mario Juarez, a Microsoft product manager, said "NGSCB is alive and kicking" and promised that the technology would make an appearance in Vista (then, of course, still called "Longhorn"). NGSCB was to lock out some kinds of malicious code, but was heavily criticized for requiring new PCs and raising privacy questions regarding copyrighted content. Some elements of NGSCB have survived in Vista, however; "Secure Startup," which is meant to keep thieves from getting to data on a stolen system, is the most prominent. (Stolen notebook PCs have made headlines of late as several filched PCs have contained massive numbers of personal records and identities.)

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