Although Microsoft has leaked details of Longhorn before, the conference offered the first official look at many of the technologies coming when the
operating system ships sometime in 2005 or 2006.
Delivery is somewhere between two and three years away, and the development process hasnt reached the alpha testing stage, so Microsoft isnt even
close to finalizing the feature set. Nonetheless, the company is confident enough about the broad strokes to start encouraging the developer community
to start thinking about writing applications for the operating system. Longhorns major themes are strengthening operating system fundamentals,
overhauling the presentation layer, building in radical enhancements to the file system and embracing Web services in internal and external
A widely circulated chart at the PDC lays out these pillars in large blocks with their associated code-names. Fundamentals, a.k.a. Base OS Services,
lies at the bottom of the chart, supporting all the other enhancements. Resting on top of Fundamentals are three equal-size blocks: Avalon for the
presentation layer, WinFS for storage and Indigo for communication. Atop the whole structure is WinFX, which Microsoft group vice president Jim
Allchin describes as the step beyond Win32 programming.