Microsoft's Whistler OS Gets Unscheduled Debut

Microsoft officials were trying to figure out today how a copy of Whistler, the next-generation version of consumer Windows that will be based on Windows 2000, was posted on the Internet for download.

The internal build of Whistler was posted on "various college and Internet sites" yesterday morning, according to a report on ActiveWin, a Windows-centric Web site at http://www.activewin.com/.

The Whistler project is the result of Microsoft's combining the work of two development groups; one that was building Neptune, which was touted as a consumer version of Windows NT, and one developing Odyssey, the upgrade to Windows 2000. An update to Windows 98, Windows Me, is slated for release later this year, and Whistler -- which has no scheduled release date, according to Microsoft -- is designed to be an update to both Millennium and Windows 2000.

A spokesman for Microsoft said only that the company was "investigating the posting of the code to the Internet," and was not sure how many users had downloaded Whistler, or even if it was still available on the Internet.

According to ActiveWin, build 2211.1 of Whistler -- referred to as Whistler Windows 2001 -- looks similar to Windows 2000, but has added HTML enhancements that seem to be aimed at novice users. According to users who downloaded the alpha code, the control panel is an HTML interface by default.

Also, the code includes the MarsCore.dll file, according to ActiveWin. Mars is the code name for the future version of the client software for the Microsoft Network.

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