The next version of Windows will sport some fancy, three-dimensional graphics, but for those with an older video card (as in the case of Mac OS X on non-QuartzExtreme capable gfx cards), Longhorn will look a lot like Windows 2000. Elsewhere, Microsoft seeks to merge Flash & hard drive storage.
Not all will see Longhorn in 3D
Submitted by Tudy Parghel 2004-05-06 Windows 33 Comments
Yes, it’s been on the WinHEC site for several months now that there are three User Experience levels. The Register link is interesting, but seems quite wrong about Superfetching (as expected given the other Register articles I have glanced at). They are right that flash will give users a safe way to cache large amounts of hard drive data without fear of losing it in a crash, but that has nothing to do with “Superfetch,” which Windows XP implements already (take a look in %windir%prefetch). OS X does this too, I read (I think they call it “play lists”). What is up with the poor quality of The Register? They seem like the tabloid of IT.
I didn’t say that. I’m just sure that I’ve read this fact a dozen times before, and thought it was “generally known” among those who keep up with Longhorn info.
Is it just me.. or does the register’s article describe one of those pactches for the Linux IO deely:
“Longhorn will feature a technology called ‘SuperFetch’ which essentially does what a modern processor does but on a large scale. SuperFetch predicts what data the OS is going to need next and calls it up ahead of time, storing the received but as-yet-unrequired data in main memory.”
I think it’s one of Andrew Morton’s patches.
> “Longhorn will feature a technology called ‘SuperFetch’ which essentially does what a modern processor does but on a large scale. SuperFetch predicts what data the OS is going to need next and calls it up ahead of time, storing the received but as-yet-unrequired data in main memory.”
Sounds like ordinary read-ahead.
Is there anything special about it?
What Microsoft proposes seems impossible to me. You can’t just stick flash memory into the data path, because it has a finite read/write life of between 10’000 to 100’000 cycles before it burns out.
You can’t use flash for a swap disk, and you certainly can’t use it for a cache, unless of course part of the objective is to reduce the hard disk’s lifespan to a couple of months..
the interface might look half as good as my KDE desktop.
As for Superfetch….that maikes no sense. How are you going to lose data? Cache is for read optimization, not write. Its not like the OS is going to predict what data you will be saving!
I’d like to see their be a few built in themes. Currently we have classic for those who just won’t let it go. Luna for those who like a fresh look. But it does have it’s draw backs. I would really like to see them have a Clean/Professional looking one. One that is more of a competition to Aqua, less clutter, very clean. Less stuff to guide a user since the users using it will know where stuff is, but at the same time it would be a rich eye candy verion, this isn’t a stipped dull version, it would be the very elegant version. But it wouldn’t be something for the average user or children and such. It would be more aimed at the power user that wants something really beautiful to look at.
Actually, the requirements for gfx sound very reasonable. A 32MB card is cheap now. Actually, a Geforce 2MX ought to handle the second tier with ease and I believe those are around $40 right now. In two years I imagine something along the lines of a Geforce 4 TI will be old technology and cheap to be had especially as there will be a demand for low end 3d gfx.
As for the look. Their current theme is crap. Well, it’s nice except for the explorer windeco integration look. You don’t need a 32×32 back button! Help the windows users get out of their maximize habit Microsoft, they need your help.
I wonder if it will be possible to turn off all the crap and go back to the classic interface, even with newer video cards.
You call it “crap” before even seeing it. The 3D part of Longhorn is not available to third party developers, yet, you already have an opinion about it. If you want a “classic interface” stay with Win2k3 or XP.
I have an older, non-Quartz extreme Mac runing OS X; and it does not look a lot like Windows 2000.
I have an older, non-Quartz extreme Mac runing OS X; and it does not look a lot like Windows 2000.
(I proceed noting the lack-of-smiley-emoticon on your message)
I believe what was meant was to note a similarity between the two situations (e.g., OS X w/o QE doesn’t give you the l337 graphical f/x), not to say that
OS X w/o QE looks like Windogs 2K.
Yes, indeed, that would be terrible. I’ve been spoilt by Aqua. I had to use a W2K machine for a little while out of necessity. Needed Visine afterwards.
It’s like browsing using a coloring book. Who came up with those colors?
When WinFX was first announced it was stated that non 3D accelerated cards would auto disable the new 3D based desktop features.
What’s wrong with this picture? Aero Glass going to need 64Mb of video ram…. Wow… Most if not all middle to high-end computer sold today have 64Mb of video ram OR MORE! Even laptop are having that much memory!
Hard core computers comes with 128 or 256Mb of vid ram, soon we will have 512Mb… And we are in 2004!!! Imagine in 2 more years!
Funny, Microsoft are asking DirectX 9.0 for Aero… STILL? No new DirectX until then?
It’s really funny. Mac OSX has the same interface no matter what card you use (QE enabled or not), but Windows can’t seem to muster that in their future OS.
Ah well…. eye candy’s subjective. Some people like XP’s “new” look. Bleh.
The above poster (Samuel Klein) is right no matter how you slice it. Not only does a mac without quartz extreme not look like Win2K, it looks NO DIFFERENT than a QEX _ACCELERATED_ mac. You can still have a genie effect, dock magnification, Expose, etc.. but they aren’t accelerated by your graphics card, it’s all CPU baby! Those concerned with performance in this situation will tend to turn off the genie, magnification, etc in the system preferences, but they are not presented with a less graphically sophisticated version of their desktop. The only option that is entirely turned off is the cube rotation on fast user switching, but even that can be enabled on non-QEX machines simply by editing an XML file.
Yeah I was joking. But I was hoping that others would (and did thank you) realize that a non-graphics accelerated Mac still has almost all of the effects in place. My 600 MHz iBook still handles window warping and drop shadows very well.
practically speaking, what use is 3D on the desktop interface anyway? just the “ooh, ahh, coolness!” factor?
who knows, this 3D thing might even make it harder to use. not unless we have a 3D input device (something like minority report?! but then…still isn’t practical).
i’d rather see something that will really increase users’ productivity and make the PC easier to use.
for the umpteenth millionth time, Areo and Quartz Extreme DO NOT use 3d widget or effects.
the processing of some graphics(in the case of QE) and all the graphics(in the case of Areo) is done in the GPU. that is all!!! the load for the composition is totally or partially offloaded to the GPU WHERE IT BELONGS!!!
Longhorn in the Win2000-like version will not be anything like Mac OS X without quartz extreme. Mac OS X with plain Quartz looks and behaves the same as Mac OS X with quartz extreme. They are both 3rd generation display models where everything is “real”. By contrast, Longhorn in the Win2000 mode will be nothing like Longhorn’s nice display and without its features.
Quartz Extreme only speeds things up by changing the graphics processing area from the CPU to the graphics card, it doesn’t change capabilities or functionality. The difference with Longhorn is in functionality and capabilities. Microsoft doesn’t want the processor hungry 3rd generation display to run on hardware that will make it seem slow or a downgrade from WinXP so they added a mode that will essentially not use any of the new stuff.
I think that Apple will be quite vindicated when people see that Microsoft’s 3rd generation display is hungry for power as much as their’s is (if not more).
As for the look. Their current theme is crap. Well, it’s nice except for the explorer windeco integration look.
I don’t know if I love or hate the integrated-win-decorations yet. Part of me says, “ooo, big title bar, it looks neat” but part of me is concerned about screen real estate — even *after* upgrading to a 1280×1024 monitor.
You don’t need a 32×32 back button!
ha ha, no kidding.
Help the windows users get out of their maximize habit Microsoft, they need your help.
now here’s where I wonder… some usability experts (namely Microsoft’s) are heavily advocating the uncluttered ‘one thing at a time’ interface of maximised windows. (‘smattafack, my brothers will maximise their MSN buddy list, for whatever inscrutable reason.) It looks like Longhorn is gonna take this even further than XP did.
Personally, though, I’ve always hated maximised windows (unless they’re full-screen web browsers, if all I’m doing is web browsing). And overlapping windows, although they’re cluttered, do help to reinforce a very important idea in modern computing that many people still don’t realise: you can run more than one program at a time! I spent a few years training computer neophytes in basic computer skills, and I was amazed by their inability to grasp the idea of multitasking. It took a lot of effort to convince them that when you minimise a window (or even simply switch to another window) you really don’t lose that first window. Overlapping windows help the novitiate understand that multiple programs can run at once.
But yeah, the screen does get pretty cluttered (especially if your OS doesn’t support multiple workspaces). That’s why eye-candy isn’t just fun. It’s also very important as a tool that guides and informs our perceptions. I find that drop shadows, for instance, make it a zillion times easier to distinguish one window from another. (hey, here’s a plug for a fave piece of freeware for Windows XP: M Yamaguchi’s Y’z Shadow. You can find it at http://www.softpedia.com/public/cat/13/9/13-9-41.shtml .)
yeah, my cousin still does not understand that just because the window is not up in front of her, that the application is open and running.
I minimize my stuff and she say “ohh, I didn’t want you to close what you are doing just so I can print some stuff out”
and for the millionth time I have to tell her that I am not closing i, just minimizing it.
I think that its interesting that Microsoft can now ride the train of their own monopoly by waiting 5-6 years to release a new version of their OS. In 1990’s years 5-6 years would be the the end of your company if you waited that long to update something as important as an OS!. They are getting to big for their britches. Monopoly= no progress!. It will stand out in the computer world very quickly. I hope the future inovators are watching closely!
Infinite read cycles are not a problem for flash, There’s a lot of data on your hard disk that doesn’t get updated more than, say, a 1000 times during the entire life cycle of your machine, and that’s also perfectly safe with Flash technology.
In fact, a file system that would correctly use both Flash and a ramdisk could perfectly do without the noise, power consumption and moving parts wear of a hard disk. We still need the hard disk for those GBs of data we all carry around, though. So a combined HD/Flash device is not a bad idea at all.
Microsoft software engineers are correct on that one, even though I am sure Linux will be the first OS to use such a technology when it gets marketed.
I thought the reason Apple went with a 3D-rendered desktop was to take a load off the overburdened CPU and put graphics in the hands of the GPU, making for better performance and a prettier interface.
So… Longhorn’s gonna require this much beef? Seems like a step backward to me. If UT2k3 can run well on a 64 MB card, I don’t see what in God’s name an OS could require more than that for.
If you have 20 windows open and each is being rendered on a different layer at 1024×768 you need enough video memory to accomidate those “textures”.
Yes. Each window is 1024x768x4 (24-bits + alpha) = exactly 3 MB per window. So for 20 windows that makes 60 MB of textures.
However, I assume they adopt the B/W Gameboy technique of storing textures occuring multiple times only once. You could easily store buttons like close, minimize, back, forward only one time. But a big reduction wouldn’t that be, because most part of a window is a document.
What about double buffered windows? And wouldn’t texture compression minimize the memory requirements?
Yeah, so you have a nice looking 3D desktop. Stressing your hardware the whole day. Nice.
Forget about today, think about 2006…
You don’t know what kind of hardware will sell in 2 years. PCI-Express will be here, more system memory, even faster video cards with more memory (512Mb) and mabe even dual core CPU from Intel and AMD. Speed will be there to support all the nice eye-candy that Microsoft will put into Longhorn.
It’s going to be like the arrival of Windows 95. Many people had to upgrade or better, buy a new computer to run the new OS… The same thing will happen with Longhorn.
And it’s about the same thing with MAC OS X. Yeah, it runs on a G3… But at what speed? Now they have G4 and better G5… Upgrading is something that has to be done in order to bring new technology.
much to much from the hardware for an OS 0_o
3D brings nothing, I repeat nothing to an OS.
And another thing… MS shell will offcourse be completely bloated. Have you ever seen the Aston shell? http://www.astonshell.com . Some of those the Aston Themes look really impressive and you think it requires a lot of power. But it works on my p1 faster then the standard win98 shell…
Some things look real 3D without minimal performance loss. I think they require so much hardware power on purpose, or they have no clue how to program.
I think <u>they</u> require so much hardware power on purpose, or they have no clue how to program.
they = MS
> Infinite read cycles are not a problem for flash,
> There’s a lot of data on your hard disk that doesn’t
> get updated more than, say, a 1000 times during the
> entire life cycle of your machine, and that’s also
> perfectly safe with Flash technology.
Perhaps I’m reading this wrong, I thought Microsoft’s whole idea was to use the flash as a non-volatile intermediate buffer for stuff that’s going to be written to disk.
With this design, the flash memory would be subjected to an unending barrage of erase/write cycles that would kill it in short order.
With modern HDDs, you tend to have an on-device RAM cache, which contains stuff that’s waiting to be written to the physical disk. MS seems to want to use flash RAM instead so that it can recover if the power goes down.
But I could be incorrect.