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Windows "Longhorn" Section - Introduction

Microsoft Windows codenamed "Longhorn" is a major upgrade to the Windows operating system and  is both an evolutionary and revolutionary step forward in the progression of the Windows platform. More base services than ever are provided to increase developer ability and productivity, as well as enhance the level of rich interactivity, usability, and integration delivered to the end-user.

The Windows NT kernel has been further enhanced to achieve greater levels of security, reliability, and performance. Several platform services and device driver interfaces have moved to (or returned to) user-level, increasing platform resiliency and simplifying extensibility. Rights management technologies and code access security help maintain user data privacy and application and system-level integrity. Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), technologies such as Secure Startup utilizes trusted hardware components to further protect end-user data from unauthorized access and ensure system integrity.

"Longhorn" will also offer rich media experiences for end-users and developers. The most visible change in "Longhorn" is its new graphical user interface (GUI). "Longhorn's" new GUI allows for seamless integration of glitch-free 2D and 3D vector graphics, images, animations, and video while maintaining snappy performance Windows users expect by pushing the increased workload to the graphics processing unit (GPU). On systems that have older GPUs or just a plain 2D VGA graphics adapter, "Longhorn" will scale back to graphical levels comparable to that experienced on Windows XP or Windows 2000 while maintaining glitch-free performance.

"Longhorn" is a prime example of integrated innovation. Microsoft has taken .NET and driven it deep into the platform. The Win32 subsystem still remains, but it is set beside the main application programming interface (API) which is called WinFX. WinFX is where Windows' core programming interfaces meet the .NET Framework. It is a new API written in managed code and is the future of Windows application development. The security, rapid development, and extensibility benefits .NET developers have enjoyed for years now apply to the core API of the OS. 

"Longhorn" offers many other enhancements and conveniences. New visualization, organization, and search technologies let users view documents without first opening an associated application, organize information in a way that makes the most sense to them, and quickly find the information they need whether it is located on the end-user's computer, on a local network, or on the Internet. Inking, spellchecking and enhanced speech synthesis and recognition are integral parts of the user interface. Real-time communications services like conferencing, application sharing, peer-to-peer, and remote desktop have been enhanced to make it easier to connect to your computer or to friends' computers remotely and have a richer experience doing so. Microsoft has also provided a new command line interface, codenamed "Monad", which combines the power and language independence of Windows Scripting Host (WSH), the simplicity of the command line, and unified object model of .NET.

There is much more to "Longhorn" than what this introduction covers. Visit other content pages in the "Longhorn" infocenter for more in-depth coverage.

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