Dear Microsoft Beta Tester,We are pleased to offer you an early preview of Windows, Code-Name "Longhorn," by extending this invitation to join the Longhorn beta program. Your participation is completely voluntary. Longhorn Beta Program participants will preview software for the next generation of Windows as well as Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. If you choose to participate you will have the opportunity to provide Microsoft with feedback as we continue work on these exciting new releases.[snip]
Sources close to Microsoft told me this week that the software giant has started a mysterious new software project called Project M, which might be a replacement for the Windows shell in Longhorn. Heading Project M is none other than Hillel Cooperman, the user experience guru who presented Longhorn's UI ideas to developers at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October 2003. Cooperman reports directly to Chris Jones, who recently returned to the Windows client team. Jones, in turn, reports directly to Will Poole, senior vice president of Windows Client Business. Project M is described internally only as Windows "shell enhancements," a mysteriously vague description. The project is secret even to most people at Microsoft and won't likely be added to Longhorn until the beta 2 or even the Release Candidate 0 (RC0) release. One source theorized that Project M is to Longhorn as Luna was to Windows XP: Early XP (then known as Whistler) betas used a UI called Watercolor that Microsoft eventually dropped. The UI in today's Longhorn builds, which we'll soon see in beta 1, could likewise be pushed aside for something more visually impressive.
My sources describe Longhorn Beta 1 as one of the most stable beta 1 OS releases in Microsoft history, although it will lack most of the UI niceties the company plans for future releases. Beta 2, I'm told, is going to be "incredible" and "far more impressive than people now realize." We shall see.
The Web Standards Project (WaSP) is collaborating with Microsoft to promote Web standards and help developers build standards conformant Web applications.Today we formally announce the WaSP / Microsoft Corporation Task Force. WaSP's goal is to provide technical guidance and advice as the company increases Web standards support in its products including Microsoft Visual Studio and ASP.NET.WaSP and Microsoft developers will work together to better understand and execute on Web standards as defined by standards bodies such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).