Microsoft Corp.'s Jim Allchin, senior vice president for the Personal and Business Systems Group, delivered a keynote speech yesterday that laid out with a mixture of hyperbole and plain talk the company's plans for Windows NT 5.0 and beyond.
"NT 5.0 is going to be a massive release," Allchin said. "And Microsoft is going to bet the company on it."
Allchin was addressing an audience of software developers at the company's Professional Developers Conference being held in San Diego. He admitted at one point that "NT hasn't won any popularity contests" and promised changes.
The next version of the operating system will have "true interoperability" in which clients can work with any server and servers can work with any client, Allchin said. Standard protocols will be used "if possible," and all protocols will be published.
"NT 5.0 will be a distributed operating environment that can be broken down into one word: Windows," Allchin promised. "It will reduce the total cost of ownership by 50 percent."
Among the new services in NT 5.0 will be hardware support for Plug and Play, use of the Windows Driver Model (also promised for Windows 98), and broad device support for digital video disc, scanners and other peripherals. The OS also will include 64-bit VLM (Very Large Memory) support, I20 support for off-loading I/O capabilities away from the main processor, and improved symmetric multiprocessing scalability, Allchin said.
Microsoft also announced an alliance with Cisco aimed at integrating directory services into all networks. For example, such integration would enable routers to be controlled via Active Directory.
Allchin warned his listeners, however, that all of this would not be found in the first beta release, which is available now.
"There's a lot that's not in the beta yet," Allchin said. "There's still a lot to do. The main system is pretty solid. You will have a problem in setup, but once it's up it should be very solid."
Among the new features promised for NT 5.0 but not found in the first beta is IntelliMirroring, which will allow a "seamless replacement of a crashed system," Allchin said.
Allchin called the IntelliMirroring a "totally replaceable" machine. If one machine dies, the hard disk on the local machine -- client or server -- uses cache to flow data in either direction for recovery.
One of the few new features that garnered a round of applause from the audience was NT 5.0's promised multilingual support.
"NT 5.0 is world-ready," Allchin said.
NT 5.0 will have a multilingual user interface that will run the same code anywhere in the world. It also will have simultaneous support of multiple languages with a single, worldwide API set.
Allchin promised the software developers that with NT 5.0 "you can enter any market worldwide, easily."
Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at http://www.microsoft.com/.