There's more than one way to reload Longhorn

Summary:The folks over at Joejoe.org aren't the only ones with "Longhorn" nostalgia. Enthusiasts over at the AeroXperience.org site also are looking to bring back Longhorn, a k a, the precursor to the Windows Vista release that Microsoft launched in January 2007.

The folks over at Joejoe.org aren't the only ones with "Longhorn" nostalgia.

Enthusiasts over at the AeroXperience.org site also are looking to bring back Longhorn, a k a, the precursor to the Windows Vista release that Microsoft launched in January 2007.

The Joejoe.org Longhorn Reloaded team is looking to ressurect and retrofit a 2004 pre-release version of Windows so that it can be used as an alternative to Windows Vista.

The AeroXP "Vista Customization Square"/Retrophase team is looking to bring the existing Vista Aero interface to a pre-Longhorn-Reset version of Windows is focused on bringing Longhorn look and feel to the supported Vista platform. (Sorry. Bad explanation on my part.)

"Incubating in our very forums is a project called 'Retrophase.' Think the reverse of 'Longhorn Reloaded.' Instead of bringing Windows Vista capabilities to the rotting Longhorn 4074 platform, the community is bringing Longhorn goodness to the shiny new Windows Vista platform," blogged AeroXP member Rafael Rivera.

The Longhorn Reloaded effort kicked off in earnest last October; Retrophase started in June 2006. Last week, the Longhorn Reloaded team announced it had achieved Milestone 1 along its internally-set release timetable.

The existence of both of these projects raises a number of questions:

  • Once Microsoft "abandons" a code base, is it fair game for developers to use that code base to build a new product/technology? (I doubt Microsoft considers the Longhorn client code to be "abandonware," as one member of Joejoe.org suggested, but this is still an interesting point to ponder....)
  • If Microsoft doesn't "release" code -- under some kind of open/quasi-open-source license as a platform atop which developers are encouraged to tinker -- as was the case with, say, Visual FoxPro (the basis for Sedna/SednaX) --can the code still be used in that way?
  • Would Microsoft be open to the "community" keeping a discontinued/older code base alive? (The Visual FoxPro folks are requesting an answer on this very issue right now, with their call for Microsoft to release the FoxPro source code so that the community can keep continue to update it.)

Topics: Windows, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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