Windows Longhorn won't be reloaded, after all

Windows Longhorn won't be reloaded, after all

Summary: One month after a team of Windows enthusiasts hit Milestone 1 of "Longhorn Reloaded," Microsoft has put the kibosh on the project.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows

One month after a team of Windows enthusiasts hit Milestone 1 of "Longhorn Reloaded," Microsoft has put the kibosh on the project.

Longhorn Reloaded -- an initiative of a handful of members of the site to take up where Microsoft left off with its Longhorn client development in 2004 -- is no more, according to a posting on the site.

In late May, the core team of Joejoe developers working to resurrect the old Microsoft Longhorn client code, managed to deliver Milestone 1. But the project subsequently attracted the attention of Microsoft's lawyers.

According to a mid-June posting on the Joejoe site:

"Dear Members and developers,

"It is with sad news that I have to inform you that today due to a (cease and desist) letter we recived from microsoft we are no longer able to provide you with a download link to longhorn reloaded. It deeply saddens me that although microsoft have known about this project for many months they only issued us with this notice a few days after we started to distribute the iso via torrents and ftp server.

"From now on any links posted or any requests asking for a download link to LHR the post will be deleted and the thread closed.

"I am just as sorry as you guys are about this, but we got to think about the community as a whole first.

"Many regards,


" founder and senior administrator."

Jean-Marie Houvenaghel (Jemaho), the founder of and supervisor of the Longhorn Reloaded project, posted on June 12:

"As per request by Microsoft, Longhorn Reloaded is DISCONTINUED. Thread Closed."

In late May, when the Longhorn Reloaded developers hit Milestone 1, I asked Houvenaghel whether the team had been contacted by Microsoft's lawyers. His response, at that time:

“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.”

Contributors to the Longhorn Reloaded project, predictably, are not happy. A couple of contributors suggested that the team might be able to build "a standalone exe/msi installer to run on top of an existing install of (Longhorn Build) 4074." But it's uncertain whether Microsoft might attempt to crack down on such a project.

I've asked Microsoft for an official comment on the Longhorn Reloaded situation. More to come when and if someone responds.

Topics: Microsoft, Windows


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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  • Happens all the time

    Just take the source tree and fork it into a new project.

    Oh, wait ...
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Message has been deleted.

  • Big Companies Versus the Little Guys

    Big companies always win when fighting little guys, like in this case. The little guys may be legally right, but don't have the money to fight the big company.
    • Who did you say was 'legally right'?

      By what stetch of the imagination do you get that these guys who were plagiarising MS code for their own amusement were legally right?

      There is no obligation for any developer to actually produce what they have started developing. It is their right. They do not have the obligation to make their code available to third-party developers in these circumstances.

      It is like saying that just because I partially develop a product and decide not to procede, you have the right to break into my home and steal the idea to continue developing it your self. Get real!

      It is a bit dumb of the developers to not get the OK from MS in the first place.

      None of the issues here are really MS-specific. It is about original developers having the right to decide the fate of their ideas and efforts.

      Though admittedly, I would like a clause in granted patents to require development to complete and attempts at production started within a few years after the granting, but well before the expiration of the patent. That is, viability MUST be proved if they want to continue to receive the protection of the patent. If the conditions are not met, the patent should lapse into the public domain. I think this would stop the shelving of patents.
    • No, mor like my property vs. , umm you have no property.

      Has nothing to o with big and little. One owns the code, the other does not.
  • open your eyes people, can't you see it yet?

    Vertical Computer Systems Inc (BB: VCSY)
    ? VCSY Message list | Reply to msg. | Post new msg. ? Older | Newer ?
    By: yo-eleven
    21 Jun 2007, 10:39 PM EDT
    Msg. 188038 of 188045
    Jump to msg. #
    Wake up everybody. Microsoft put the clamps on a project underway by outside Microsoft developers intended to build what Microsoft took out of Longhorn.

    The fact Microsoft is enforcing their patent IP tells me they are on a solid IP footing. They would be doing many other things than this if they were going to get into a patent war.

    Vertical Computer Systems, Inc. Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Microsoft Corporation
    PR Newswire (Fri, Apr 20)
    ? Now Solutions Successfully Resolves Its Lawsuit Against Ross Systems
    PrimeNewswire (Wed, Apr 18)
  • The True Advantage of Open Source Software

    This is a perfect example of why the open source model is superior. With the open source model, there is freedom to innovate and customize. No one can come along and shoot you down because they don't like your vision of what software should be.
    • This was a case of people taking what Microsoft ....

      ... produced without compensating Microsoft and trying to build on it. Last time I checked Microsoft did not publish this under GPL so this was strictly infringement in every sense of the word.
      • I think you missed what was just said ...

        I don't think 'dumb-luck' was saying that Longhorn code is publicly available or that this wasn't infringement, but rather that he/she sees the Open Source model as being advantageous because you can freely build on what others have produced without the fear of them shutting you down.

        With proprietary code, you can't do that sort of thing on such a large scale as Longhorn Reloaded and get away with it, nor can you do it on any scale and legally, but with Open Source you absolutely can and are encouraged to do so.
        • sorry, I meant to say 'chessmen', not 'dumb-luck' (nt)

    • Then they should have used an open spource

      product to begin with. THere is nothing innovative in taking someone else's code.
      • nothing innovative?

        C'mon! No_Ax even you can't be that stupid! This was all innovation, they were doing what Microsoft themselves couldn't do with all their programmers and billions of dollars. <br><br>Most things invented things were additions to an already invented products.<br>MS was just getting very embarrassed because a group of volenteers did what they could not......actually get the Longhorn vision into reality.<br><br>devlin_X<br>-=Failure is not an option......It's built into Windows.=-
        • That'll teach me not to proof read....

          The line:<br>
          "Most things invented things were additions to an already invented products."

          Should have read:<br> "Most things invented were additions to already invented products."<br><br>
  • Longhorm demo rocks and all we got was Vista! They went from awesome to crap.

    Bill Gates could have gone out on top! Instead he release another crappy OS! The best OS ever is Windows XP. Longhorn could have been the best instead we get Vista.
  • Who didn't see this coming?

    The only story here is how long MS took to shut this down. I don't understand what these guys were thinking. If you want to "roll your own", proprietary closed source software isn't a place to start your project. MS had every right to stop this.
    • No, you are perfectly free to start with your own closed source code...

      ... just don't steal Microsoft's to do it. Write your own - or are they saying they don't have the skills to do it and need to "appropriate" others code to start?

      Pretty lame in either circumstance.

      Oh, and by the way, the early Longhorn betas weren't all that great either.
      Confused by religion
  • Don't use "100%" with an "a".

    Mary Jo, aren't you a professional writer? I'm sure it isn't beyond your breadth of reasoning to comprehend that the guy said "a hundred percent", not "a 100%"? You do see the difference, don't you Mary Jo? The internet has made rock stars out of lazy writers and journalists. That's too bad for those of us who actually care about proper usage of the English language.
    • Jesus Christ....

      Talkback is becoming absolutely worthless.
      Hallowed are the Ori
      • There was a time

        when one took pride in the quality of one's workmanship. For a wordsmith, that quality is the grammar and language used.

        The parent is right; it's sloppy workmanship. We can generally excuse a faux pas in the more obscure rules of grammar; after all english is a very complex language, but something as obvious as "a 100%" is nothing more than laziness or ignorance, either on the part of Foley or her editors.

        What's even sadder is that those calling for quality are attacked by the prophets of mediocrity and their disciples.
        • Get over yourself.

          Slamming an author for a grammar mistake in a sentence [i]quoted from someone else[/i] seems a bit hypersensitive to me. Granted she could have noted that she reproduced the error verbatim using the [sic] notation, but this is hardly worthy of the tirade above.

          [i]What's even sadder is that those calling for quality are attacked by the prophets of mediocrity and their disciples.[/i]

          The only thing sadder is when those rushing to criticize the grammar of others fail to grasp the meaning of quotation marks.