Enthusiasts progress with plans to resurrect Windows 'Longhorn'

Enthusiasts progress with plans to resurrect Windows 'Longhorn'

Summary: Seven months after announcing plans to take up where Microsoft left off with its Windows Longhorn client development, a group of members of the Joejoe.org site have built a working protype of what they're calling "Longhorn Reloaded."

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TOPICS: Windows, CXO, Microsoft
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Seven months after announcing plans to take up where Microsoft left off with its Windows Longhorn client development, a group of members of the Joejoe.org site have built a working protype of what they're calling "Longhorn Reloaded."

longhorn-reloaded.jpgEarlier this week, the Longhorn Reloaded developers and testers posted for download Milestone 1 of Longhorn Reloaded.

"Longhorn Reloaded is a Project dedicated to the revival of the Operating System known as Code Name 'Longhorn'. To put the projects aims simply, we aim to finish off what Microsoft started before the operating system was canceled. It is a modification of Windows 6.0.4074, which was originally released during the 2004 Windows Hardware Engineers Conference," explained the Longhorn Reloaded team on the Joejoe Web site.

For the record, Microsoft officials never claimed Longhorn, the release of Windows now known as Vista, was cancelled. Instead, Microsoft execs said they "reset" their plans for Longhorn in 2004 by decided to cut the Windows File System (WinFS) feature from the product and to use the Windows Server 2003 kernel as the core platform. But a number of developers and industry watchers have said they considered Vista to be a far cry from the operating system Microsoft originally demonsrated and described earlier this decade.

When the Longhorn Reloaded team announced its intentions to build a version of Windows built on the pre-release Build 4074 of Longhorn, many said it couldn't be done. If technical roadblocks didn't make the mission impossible, Microsoft's legal department would, the critics said.

"I would like to announce you that what no one could believe has finally reach(ed) a concrete delivery," said Jemaho, a k a JeanMarie Houvenaghel, the founder of Joejoe.org and supervisor of the Longhorn Reloaded project., via e-mail. "The enthusiasm for this project has never failed and is even more great now."

Updated (with responses from Jemaho): I asked Jemaho for a target date as to when the team hopes to be able to deliver a "final" release of Longhorn Reloaded. His response:

"As of now, and you probably know, the install procedure is posing troubles to the team, and it will be a main part for M2 (Milestone 2). The rest of a set of 'to do's' has been delivered by (team member) Alpha Addict but with no timetable. "

(The core Longhorn Reloaded team consists of seven Joejoe members, Jemaho said.)

I also asked whether Microsoft officials had expressed displeasure with what the Longhorn Reloaded team is trying to do.

"We haven't currently suffered any threats from Microsoft, maybe because Longhorn is considered abandonware, I don't know," Jemaho said. "Also I'm (not) a 100% sure that they are aware of the LHR (Longhorn Reloaded) situation. "

When I asked Microsoft about the Longhorn Reloaded team's efforts in October 2006, here is the response I received from a Microsoft spokeswoman:

“Microsoft actively encourages and supports independent developers to take advantage of the features available in our platform to create their own applications and services; however, the Windows end user licensing agreement does not allow users to modify and redistribute our code in this manner.”

Would you be interested in trying out Longhorn Reloaded? If and when the final is out, would you consider running it?

Topics: Windows, CXO, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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25 comments
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  • Come on, does anyone believe

    MS is going to allow them to distribute this? Not a chance.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Might want to read the story

      It say that right in the article. Here's the quote right from it.

      [i]When I asked Microsoft about the Longhorn Reloaded team?s efforts in October 2006, here is the response I received from a Microsoft spokeswoman:

      ?Microsoft actively encourages and supports independent developers to take advantage of the features available in our platform to create their own applications and services; however, the Windows end user licensing agreement does not allow users to modify and redistribute our code in this manner.?[/i]
      voska
      • You might want to read the part

        that starts with "However,"
        xuniL_z
        • Did and what are you getting at

          It still says you can't redistribute it
          voska
  • What, and get sued, Mary Jo?

    While I laugh, heartily, at the prospect of Microsoft suing me, SCOlike, for the mystery code they say I have on all my Linux boxes, I have NO doubt they would drag all Longhorn Reloaded users and distributors in front of the US Supreme Kangaroo Court, to be prosecuted by the buddies/cronies of the Dubya administration's puppet group: the Gonzo Department of INJustice.
    OButterball
    • Hmmm...

      Methinks I detect someone with some issues here; possibly a dash if Liberal bias...
      justanitguy
      • What? What? Issues? Bias??

        [i]Moi[/i]?!

        Hey, I use EVERYTHING LIBERALLY, which makes "a dash of Liberal" a REAL oxymoron!
        OButterball
        • No, just a moron.

          ;)

          You walked into that, wordsmith. Maybe you were referring to your cattle grazing on Blue territory.
          osreinstall
  • If it works count me it

    If they can get it to work, than count me in. I was one of those excited for Longhorn when it first previewed but became annoyed as MS dropped all of the features that mattered and came out with Vista.
    jfp
  • Why?

    Besides WinFS, what else were they wanting?

    I can think of a few better projects that they could work on than trying to hack Microsoft's code and get themselves in trouble. Even if they succede in creating the binaries, as soon as they make the ISO and distribute it they will be sued by Microsoft.
    Patrick Jones
  • MS can't lose here

    Just sit back and wait. If these folks fail miserably, MS looks better--see, they couldn't do it either. If they succeed, then MS owns the product and can take it over and incorporate it into the next iteration of Windows, with zero cost to the company.

    Sounds like a win:win to me.
    tic swayback
    • Oh yes they can....

      ... how good will Microsoft look if a bunch of "enthusiasts" manage to deliver the OS that Microsoft could not.

      Explain *that* to the shareholders!
      bportlock
      • I'm sure the shareholders would be thrilled...

        ...to learn that the next version of Windows, which will cause huge profits, was developed at absolutely zero cost to the company.
        tic swayback
  • Good luck trying this with OSX

    Oh sure, Apple [b]claims[/b] that the core is open source but if you don't actually publish your changes, is it truly open?

    [url=http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2006072801826OPLLDV] Apple Lies Again [/url]

    [i]As time went on, and Mac OS X got closer to release, Apple decided they wanted to keep some things secret. Some new features needed to be worked on, but couldn't be in the live cvs repository, or it wouldn't be a secret anymore. Some things leaked out, which caused no end of fuss, and gradually projects were removed from the live cvs repository. Eventually, so little was left in the live cvs repository and processes already needed to be in place to do periodic source drops, the live cvs repository was abandoned.
    ...
    Geez, no wonder so many Apple developers are looking at Linux as a more attractive option. If I were getting treated like that, I'd leave too. This reaction to Apple's arrogance seems to be trickling down to the users as well, since a bunch of the more notable ones are also switching over to Linux lately.
    ...
    Don't follow Apple's example. Be a real community member, and reap the benefits of what you sow.[/i]

    Disgusting.
    NonZealot
    • You've posted this...

      in the wrong place. You need to be in a blog about Apple for best trolling effect.
      msalzberg
      • THANK YOU!

        nt
        dolph0291
  • Some screenshots of it in action

    Nice work I’m glad to see our project explode on the internet , I know what it was like when I joined I know we couldn’t have got here without jean , ark and ludicrous help not to mention luk001 who made that fantastic theme .

    I just did add some screenshots of it in action, That one is of an early version of our DWM theme and modifications which haven’t been included in this preliminary release

    http://www.alphaaddict.net/Gallery/Longhorn%20Reloaded/

    I think the team deserve a lot of credit for this , While they’res are problems with the installer which I can reveal was a last minute change after I failed to get the C# one to work which integrates tightly with flash ...

    I’m sure they’res a huge irony there, Anyway I will be rebuilding it without any loss of features for the next build
    AlphaAddict
  • some things in Vista are better than Longhorn

    From the screenshots, some of the people don't realize even though much of the goals were cut down because of time management, and even though some of the design changes were for the worse, a lot of the design was changed because it had problems. A lot of changes that made it into the final version of Vista were for the better. I would be more interested in using something that reconciled the good parts of the original vision and the good aspects of the final design, without being naive.
    brian.shapiro
  • Hell Yeah, and let Microsoft Sue Me!

    Mary Joe:

    One of the biggest and longest bones I have to pick with Microsoft is the abandonment of the WinFS system, together with all the other promised features, which up until 2004 was the biggest promise of MS new OS, If joejoe.com can resurrect that promise I'll be more than happy to try it. MS be damned! As far as I'm concerned Vista is to Longhorn what a handjob is to sex, a sorry excuse for the real thing and a letdown.
    jaszman
    • It annoys me when...

      people bitch about the lack of WinFS. What would you have used it for? Exactly? Cataloguing your pr0n collection with more details? The only people who should care about it are developers and somehow judging by your statement I doubt you're one of them.
      moonchacha