Monday, September 29, 2003

What I'd like to see at the PDC

What I'd like to see at the PDC

I'm getting fairly excited about the new stuff we'll see at the PDC. It's clear that this will be a key event on the road to Longhorn, as well as a useful update for both Yukon and Whidbey. Longhorn, if Paul Thurrot's Supersite for Windows' is be believed, will offer (yet another) new UI. And of course Scoble has been hyping some of the things Longhorn will do over in his blog.

But what I want to see is how Longhorn will make a difference in terms of getting real work done. The flashy new interface is, for me, a turn off - businesses don't want to have to upgrade machines to have larger disks, more RAM, bigger CPUs, and better graphics cards. What they need is systems that will make things faster for the end user and, for the IT staff, systems that are easier to support and manage.

WinFS will undoubtably make a difference for me - the ability to search my own hard disk faster will make it a useful upgrade. When I think that I can search the internet, via Google, faster than I can search my hard disk I have to smile a bit. WinFS should change all that!

But all the other stuff? I'm just not convinced. Where's the real business value in all this stuff? Is Avalon really something that will make a user truly more productive or will it really bring down the support? Or is it just eye-candy that will make folks want to upgrade? Frankly, a lot of this looks like bloat-ware. Stuff that, in the labs at Redmond are utterly cool, but in the offices of Mom and Dad Ltd are a gratutious waste of money.

So what I want presentations on at PDC are ones that also address the issues of security, real end-user productivity and administrations. I want to see how Longhorn is going to be managed, controled and how it will make a difference to TCO. Sure, I love the cool stuff - but I want to see the real business value too.

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