25 June 2006

Microsoft's WinFS: Not Pining for the Fjords

"Chasing tail-lights": that's all free software ever does, according to Microsoftie Jim Allchin. Open source never innovates, you see, it only copies. Unlike Microsoft, the paradigmatic Great Innovator.

Take WinFS. A truly interesting idea, for reasons this Microsoft introduction makes plain (no, really). It was announced as part of the great, innovative vision for Longhorn/Vista, but as the note at the top of the page in the previous link warns:

UPDATE: In spite of what may be stated in this content, "WinFS" is not a feature that will come with the Longhorn operating system. However, "WinFS" will be available on the Windows platform at some future date, which is why this article continues to be provided for your information.

Ah, well, never mind. At least that innovative feature will be available on the Windows platform at some future date.

Or maybe not. This blog posting by the WinFS team essentially says WinFS is not deceased, it is merely pining for the fjords. Most of those commenting are unimpressed by this innovative way of looking at things.

This one is representative:

Wow. Talk about spin.

I'm normally a pretty strong supporter of MS, but I don't hesitate to lay into them when they deserves it. This blog posting is pure spin. WinFS is dead.

Or to put it another way:

This WinFS is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late WinFS. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace, if you hadn't nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies! It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an ex-WinFS!

Maybe Microsoft could chase open source's tail-lights instead - if it bought some binoculars....

Update: Jack Schofield has written a good history of the rise and fall of WinFS.

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