Microsoft stopped short of confirming reports that it plans to back-port its next-generation WinFS file system architecture to Windows XP, telling BetaNews it is only evaluating the move while also acknowledging WinFS is still years off.
"We are currently evaluating making the WinFS storage subsystem available on this platform and will make the decision based on what is best for customers," a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews.
WinFS was originally slated to sit atop NTFS and track metadata for all files on a system to improve organizing, searching and sharing of information. Longhorn applications could also store data directly in WinFS, which is based on Microsoft’s SQL Server technology.
The future of WinFS has been the subject of much confusion after Microsoft announced last August that the technology would not be ready for the next Windows release, known as Longhorn. Redmond instead opted to focus on Longhorn’s other fundamentals: the Avalon user interface and Indigo communication subsystems.
In order to give developers the opportunity to become familiar with the technologies prior to Longhorn’s arrival, Microsoft announced last year it would make Avalon and Indigo available for Windows XP. The move was also intended to ensure backward compatibility for Longhorn-designed applications.
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What can I say? Longhorn is still definitely in its early stages, so it would be intelligent to say the same about pillars such as WinFS, only time will tell how this pans out. My prediction is that WinFS will actually not make it to Windows XP. By the time Longhorn is released, WinFS will be going into beta and Microsoft will targetting developers specifically with the tools that can take advantage of WinFS, Office 12, and so forth. It is confusing, but I just can’t see it being implemented on XP.