Microsoft will deliver in March an early developer release of two of the three key pillars of its next major version of Windows, code-named Longhorn.
The so-called CTP (community technology preview) WinFX release will be made available to developers next month, said Eric Rudder, Microsoft's senior vice president of servers and tools. Rudder made the announcement at the VSLive conference here during his Tuesday morning keynote.
While WinFS is now years away at best, two other things are coming more or less on the revised schedule, just not with Longhorn per se. Avalon, the new graphics engine, will still be at the core of Longhorn, but will be made available to users of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 as part of an effort to get developers to leverage its capabilities prior to Longhorn's launch. Indigo, the web services and communication architecture which was never really exclusive to Longhorn (despite reports) will also be released prior to Longhorn, as expected.