January 1999! Apparently our marketing department hasn't been loitering around the punch bowl. They've recently knocked off one of their resolutions and announced that Windows NT 5.0 will be called Windows 2000. We know, we know. We're going to have to get used to it. The name change certainly raises some interesting questions. Is this going to start an industry trend? Will OS/2000 be far behind? (Can't answer that one.) Why was Windows 1999 passed up? Will it be referred to as W2K, eerily similar to Y2K? How will Workstation, Server, and Enterprise Edition be distinguished? Why change the name at all?
The party line goes that after many years as the operating system of choice for business and technical users, the next version of Windows NT is the "final transition that firmly establishes it as a mainstream product for all businesses on both the client (user desktop) and server." Our translation is: Windows 2000 (Windows NT) on every desktopand going forward, no more of the Windows 9x family. Indeed, the Windows 2000 code base will be used for the next major consumer release to follow Windows 98. Additional justification for the name change included consistency with products such as Office 2000 and consumer confusion with the Workstation designation.
The variants of Windows 2000 will include the tagline "Built on NT Technology." We would've opted for "Built NT Tough" (and had Garth provide the catchy country jingle), "Choice of the NT Generation," or "Good to the Last Bit." But sadly, once again we were left out of the loop. The product names include Windows 2000 Professional; you've always known this as Workstation. Server undergoes minimal change and is now Windows 2000 Server. The former Enterprise Edition is Windows 2000 Advanced Server. The new baby is Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. This is touted as "the most powerful and functional server operating system ever offered by Microsoft." Targeted for huge data warehouses, balancing the checkbook of the World Bank, simulating galactic peace, and OLTP, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supports up to 16-way SMP and up to 64GB of physical memory. Clustering and load-balancing services are standard features in both the Advanced Server and Datacenter Server.
Fear not, your old pals Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98, and Windows CE are not forgotten. They will not be changing names. Want more of this story? If so, check out http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000.
What about our New Year's resolutions? In line with what you've been telling us you want to see here, one resolution is to bring more kernel coverage to MSJ. To check this off our to-do list, we've tapped contributing editor James Finnegan to author a new column, Nerditorium. As Windows 2000 grows, James will strive to shed new light on kernel mode concepts and development issues. The purpose of the column is not to suggest ways to hack around the operating system in kernel mode. Even if you never write a driver, this column will help you better understand the OS for which you're developing.
Also packed into this driver-themed issue: Ervin Peretz, a Microsoft engineer on the Windows 2000
base team, gives his WDM IRP handling tips. And
our Bugslayer, John Robbins, writes about his build experiences and provides handy trace code. Happy New Year!