Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 18th May 2008 12:59 UTC, submitted by Adam S
Microsoft Back when Windows Vista was still known as Windows Longhorn, the operating system contained a very interesting and promising feature, a feature promoted as one of the 'pillars' of Longhorn: WinFS. WinFS was a storage subsystem for Windows, based on a relational database, that could contain whatever data you wanted to put in it. Thanks to the relational properties of the database, you could then create relationships between data, or let the computer do that for you.
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BeServed?
by JamesTRexx on Sun 18th May 2008 14:33 UTC
JamesTRexx
Member since:
2005-11-06

I think that having a system like BeServed for every *nix out here is more feasable than WinFS coming out for Windows.
At the very least it would be here sooner with enough developer interest.

Reply Score: 1

RE: *nix alternatives
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 18th May 2008 15:30 UTC in reply to "*nix alternatives"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Too bad all of those are more or less dead ends. I would love something like this to come to fruition, so that we can finally have the kind of actions and applications Microsoft touted back in 2003 and Longhorn.

Of course, Beagle isn't dead, but Beagle is not a relational database-based "filesystem" - it's an indexer and query tool. Also nice, but in essence it's got as much to do with WinFS as a spoon has to do with a pig.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: *nix alternatives
by evert on Sun 18th May 2008 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE: *nix alternatives"
evert Member since:
2005-07-06

WinFS is like Beagle - neither of them are a real filesystem (WinFS sits on top of NTFS), and both use indexing and so on to offer an alternative way of finding and using your data. The WinFS model is more advanced, I agree, but Beagle is working right now.

The other projects I linked against offer many concepts and code that /could/ be used to create an awful new tag-based or database-like filesystem. Maybe they are dead end just because people don't care about it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: *nix alternatives
by bornagainenguin on Mon 19th May 2008 02:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: *nix alternatives"
bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

WinFS is like Beagle - neither of them are a real filesystem (WinFS sits on top of NTFS), and both use indexing and so on to offer an alternative way of finding and using your data. The WinFS model is more advanced, I agree, but Beagle is working right now.

The other projects I linked against offer many concepts and code that /could/ be used to create an awful new tag-based or database-like filesystem. Maybe they are dead end just because people don't care about it.


Interesting thread here, and I'm giving up my ability to mod in this article to point out there is a new kid on the block (according to my copy of LXF105 any way, website looks like its been around awhile--maybe under a different name?) called Recoll.

http://www.lesbonscomptes.com/recoll/

Supposedly it uses less resources to do what beagle does and is faster as well....time will tell.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 3

Lobotomy Project
by madbob on Sun 18th May 2008 15:40 UTC
madbob
Member since:
2008-05-18

I also have a development project aiming to implement a relational filesystem, and the relative desktop environment build around it: http://lobotomy.sf.net .
I've not so much time to dedicate the project, actually it is just a (not enterely working) proof, but sometime I can release some new code and, above all, some new addiction to the specifications.
If someone has feedback, it is always welcome ;-)

Reply Score: 1

Look one article down to
by Sabon on Sun 18th May 2008 16:06 UTC
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Look one article down to
"Interview: Kevin Musick, BeServed; Haiku Code Drive 2008
Written by Thom Holwerda on Sat 17th May 2008 19:19 PST"

Microsoft should drop their ambitions to code that they are not equipped to organize and develop and turn to people who can. Or go with ZFS.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Look one article down to
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 18th May 2008 16:17 UTC in reply to "Look one article down to "
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Or go with ZFS.


Please, people, read the article PROPERLY before spouting NONSENSE. ZFS, Beagle, Spotlight - they're all awesome, but have absolutely NOTHING to do with the technologies behind WinFS or the original WinFS project that led to their creation.

ZFS is an advanced filesystem that allows for things like volume snapshots and copy-on-write. Indexers and query tools like Beagle and Spotlight index the data on your hard drive, and expose that index to the user through what is in essence a glorified search dialog. All these technologies do their job well, they're useful, and I wouldn't want to live without Spotlight on my Mac.

WinFS has little to do with searching and indexing, and more to do with managing. WinFS allowed you to set relations between objects, and use those relations to manage and organise your data - either manually, or automatically via applications. To achieve this goal, it used a relational database, as described rather well in the interview.

Please, people, I know it's fashionable to discredit anything Microsoft does, but the ideas behind WinFS were sound, and the goals ambitious. They failed a lot of times to bring these concepts to your doorstep, but it seems, judging by the words of Clark, that they heave learned from these errors and are now working at in a different way: ensure a solid base, and build up the house from there.

In the interview, you can clearly read that the idea of bringing WinFS' features to the desktop are not quite dead just yet. And you can be anti-Microsoft all you want, but I'm excited about that.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Look one article down to
by unoengborg on Sun 18th May 2008 17:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Look one article down to "
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06


Please, people, read the article PROPERLY before spouting NONSENSE. ZFS, Beagle, Spotlight - they're all awesome, but have absolutely NOTHING to do with the technologies behind WinFS or the original WinFS project that led to their creation.


That's true. If you want a semantic desktop in the *nix world, have a look at nepomuk http://nepomuk.kde.org/

As KDE4 will be ported to Windows, MacOS, there is a chance that we will see the the ideas of the original
WinFS come true, regardless what Microsoft decides to do with WinFS in the future.

Reply Score: 6

wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

Nepomuk integration is one of the most exciting features of KDE4. OTOH I'm worried about implementing semantic attributes at such a high level. I mean, what happens if you log into, say, icewm, or console, instead of KDE, and move or rename a file? Can Nepomuk detect this change correctly the next time you log into KDE? In Windows the problem doesn't arise because there's only one desktop environment, but in GNU/Linux it seems that semantic features should be implemented below any DE, maybe with FUSE. I guess there must be a good answer, because people are actually using KDE4, but I haven't found it.

Reply Score: 6

unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

OTOH I'm worried about implementing semantic attributes at such a high level. I mean, what happens if you log into, say, icewm, or console, instead of KDE, and move or rename a file?


I don't know if the nepomuk developers have addressed this, but one way of doing it in Linux could be to use inotify to trigger some kind of update method in such an event. This would work even at the CLI level.

Reply Score: 2

jacquouille Member since:
2006-01-02

Spot on! Sebastian Trueg, main nepomuk-kde author, is working on this issue right now and his solution is indeed based on inotify. See:
http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/playground/base/nepomuk-kde/filewatch/

Given the KDE schedule, I suppose that this is KDE 4.2 material. Note that this is very very badly needed as currently if you copy a file even inside konqueror/dolphin, the metadata is lost, see:
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=161403

Re GNOME integration, the great thing about Nepomuk is it's an abstract, open specification, of which nepomuk-kde is just the kde implementation, but nothing prevents GNOME devs to implement a nepomuk-gnome the way they like, based on their own frameworks etc.

Reply Score: 2

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

I was wondering that too. Maybe the Gnome team should create their own semantic backend, if they already don;t have one, and work with the KDE team to standardize the protocols so that interaction between both services would be flawless. Better yet fdo can maybe create it a standard for all desktops to use. I'm not a fan of KDE's UI, but the technology can't be denied. Gnome needs to get in the game.

Reply Score: 3

Horatio_Hellpop Member since:
2007-12-17

//As KDE4 will be ported to Windows, MacOS, there is a chance that we will see the the ideas of the original //

KDE 4 will be ported to Windows and OS X? Please pass the water bong.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Look one article down to
by Nossie on Mon 19th May 2008 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Look one article down to "
Nossie Member since:
2007-07-31

I think people are just getting fedup with Microsoft announcing products and features that never come to fruition.

Microsoft constantly goes competition bowling with press releases.

Iphone - surface, is the most recent example I can think of... Microsoft seems to feel that if you don't have your own thunder then try and steal everyone elses AND/OR announce a non existent product before a real existing launch to stupefy your competitions customers. Years later while they wait to buy Microsofts previous announcement MS can sell them something with half the promised features when the competition had already a fully implementable solution -- sometimes driving the competition out of business in the process!

I have all the respect in the world for the WinFS team and the dream that could have been but the PR fiasco that was Vista was happily hyped and fueled by MS before the release and now they wonder why people are pissed when it's all Scots mist?

http://www.downloadsquad.com/2006/11/07/windows-longhorn-concept-vi...

That previous video of longhorn showing the leopard like smooth transitions and accelerated graphics actually made what would become Vista an interesting OS and yet all we end up getting is an encumbered XP with a pretty skirt?

Once Microsoft actually starts delivering on their promises THEN maybe they'll regain some respect from the tech community.

It's funny, people say Steve Jobs has a personal reality distortion field generator -- and its bloody true!

But in all honesty, I think it's standard equipment for everybody working in Microsofts public relations department!

Reply Score: 3

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Wow! I want that as my OS. If that was what vista looked like now, I would go back to windows in heartbeat. Why would they not try to at least meet half of those goals? The funniest thing was the tag line at the end, "Simply the best windows we ever built", yeah because it doesn't exist. Rather sad really.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Look one article down to
by gonzo on Sun 18th May 2008 16:22 UTC in reply to "Look one article down to "
gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

Microsoft should drop their ambitions to code that they are not equipped to organize and develop and turn to people who can.


Please see video that I linked, the one showing WinFS team demoing and talking about WinFS beta 1.

"Not equuiped to organize and develop.." ??? Really? How did they manage to get it to beta 1 then?

The decision to stop working on it (for now) had nothing to do with teams' (in)ability to deliver.

Edited 2008-05-18 16:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Actually..
by gonzo on Sun 18th May 2008 16:11 UTC
gonzo
Member since:
2005-11-10

Microsoft also released, on Channel9, another video of WinFS, showing beta 1 release.

Here:
http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=106356

Looks quite OK to me for beta 1, especially given that the big deal for the team at that point was to provide full backward compatibility.

Edited 2008-05-18 16:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

casuto
Member since:
2007-02-27

Stupid peaple didn't understand Windows Search - which indexes in low I/O priority and only a few folders - and so they disable it thinking it slows down Windows, but the same stupid people are complaining because WinFS - that's heavier and more bloated - has been removed from Vista

Edited 2008-05-18 18:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Stupid peaple didn't understand Windows Search which indexes in low I/O priority and only a few folders, but the same stupid people are complaining because they want WinFS that's heavier and more bloated

Umm...do you even understand what WinFS was all about?

Reply Score: 3

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

There might be some truth to what he said though... doing the metadata updates in WinFS probably would probably have worsened the overhead of certain filesystem writes.

Reply Score: 2

It's where it's supposed to be
by eantoranz on Sun 18th May 2008 19:20 UTC
eantoranz
Member since:
2005-12-18

In the list of features for Windows 7... that will be dropped in the middle of the development process (just like in every iteration of Windows Microsoft has promised to deliver it into). This guys are sickening.... and it's even worse to see people buying into anything Microsoft says.

Reply Score: 1

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

"I'm going to attribute a statement to Microsoft that no one there has said and then declare my utter disgust with that imagined statement."

No one is releasing any concrete information about Win7 features.

Reply Score: 3

RE: It's where it's supposed to be
by WorknMan on Sun 18th May 2008 21:11 UTC in reply to "It's where it's supposed to be"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I pretty much expect that when a new version of Windows is announced, it'll be out at least a year or two after they said and that some features will be dropped.

Maybe they've finally learned their lesson and will actually deliver on time and with whatever features they promise for Windows 7. I'm not holding my breath though ;)

Reply Score: 2

stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

last i heard it was put on the back burner because they were wasting too much time trying to do fancy things rather than make an OS.

Reply Score: 1

ZFS + WinFS ???
by Kebabbert on Mon 19th May 2008 07:24 UTC
Kebabbert
Member since:
2007-07-27

As I understand it, WinFS is a database on top of NTFS? Wouldn't it be possible if SUN released a database on top of ZFS, in a similar vein? We know that SUN has excellent engineers with outstanding technical excellence. SUN could surely implement WinFS-esque features on top of ZFS? Wouldnt be awesome with WinFS based on ZFS instead? The best of two worlds?

Reply Score: 1

RE: ZFS + WinFS ???
by AndyM103 on Mon 19th May 2008 09:23 UTC in reply to "ZFS + WinFS ???"
AndyM103 Member since:
2008-03-18

As Sun tend to GPL things now and, as Microsoft have said themselves they "don't agree" with the GPL, I think that any Sun Database FS on top of ZFS will probably released for Solaris or general *nix. Sun would be foolish indeed to give technology away to Microsoft, look what nearly happened to Java.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ZFS + WinFS ???
by Kebabbert on Mon 19th May 2008 11:39 UTC in reply to "RE: ZFS + WinFS ???"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

What happened to Java? You mean MS hijacked it, and called i J++, only to be sued, and then later released it as C#?

SUN tried to standardise Java, but got hindered by Microsoft. MS doesnt want that.
http://www.openmalaysiablog.com/2007/09/microsoft-conde.html

Reply Score: 1

Vista Stinks
by FunkyELF on Mon 19th May 2008 13:39 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

I got a new laptop a couple of weeks ago and I have spent most of my time with it in Linux. The other day I decided I wanted to play a game that I've had a for a while, Battlefield 1942. I installed it in Vista. To get it to work with widescreen, you have to edit a couple of files. I edited those files and go it to work. Then, for some other reason I decided to uninstall it, re-install it. My settings remained. These were settings in a file, not in a registry. So I uninstalled it again, this time going to the C:\Program Files entry and shift+deleted the directory. Then I re-installed the game. The settings were still there.

I went through windows explorer to see those files, it wouldn't show them to me. I enabled hidden and system files...still wouldn't show them to me. I ran a dir /a in DOS and nothing.

I had Python installed and did an os.walk('.') and sure enough those files showed up in Python but not in Windows.

I think I managed to get a corrupt filesystem with less than 3 hours using Vista. I had files that I couldn't navigate to using Explorer or DOS but I could with Python. I actually had to edit the files using python commands which wasn't too bad, just a couple of string replacements but still....ridiculous.

Reply Score: 1

Plan ?
by blahblah on Tue 20th May 2008 01:22 UTC
blahblah
Member since:
2006-03-23

Interesting to note:

He talks about one of those "neat" "super" ideas that spilled over into other places: letting you have "stream" column type that gives you a file handle to a db item. Then he goes on and on about how people want these win32 api semantics for these objects, how it's so great and super that it provides these.

Now where I have hear this before? Something about providing a "file" interface for every object. Hm... dang.. let me rack my brain a little more... something about "everything is a file". I just don't know.

I think any time someone from microsoft starts throwing around the word "super" and "great", it means two things:

- Bill! Bill! come see my project. SUPER!
- I just ripped off an idea that's been around for years and years, and finally figured out how to shim it windows in the most bizarre manner possible.

Ok, I really try to avoid posting to osnews, coz I'm always too sarcastic, but I just couldn't help myself. Like the site, though, keep up the good work Thom!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Plan ?
by rr_145 on Wed 21st May 2008 18:36 UTC in reply to "Plan ?"
rr_145 Member since:
2008-05-21

Now where I have hear this before? Something about providing a "file" interface for every object. Hm... dang.. let me rack my brain a little more... something about "everything is a file".


Everything is a file....

There is a mainframe operating system which was released in 1974 where everything IS a file.

AND it has:

- Virtual Machine architecture
- An API (SCL) which can be run line-at-a-time, as command files or COMPILED (the API is the interface - facilities only now becoming available with 'Dynamic Languages')
- SCL inherently has positional and/or keyword parameter specification (MY_FUNCTION(START=0, STOP=99, REPLY=result))
- Cascade loading so that code is only brought into memory when first accessed
- Separation of programs into 'pure' and 'writeable' areas (NO code corruption at run-time)
....and lots more

And it now runs on commodity x86 hardware (via emulation)!

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICL_VME

Reply Score: 1