Microsoft returns to 64-bitness after a six-year hiatus

A strange article at InfoWorld: Top News titled Microsoft: Let the 64-bit era begin. Microsoft was one of the companies that started the Windows 64-bit era with Windows NT running on the PowerPC, MIPS, and Alpha chips in the early 90s. DEC produced the Alpha chip and went on to port UNIX to the chip as Tru64 UNIX. Sun responded with the UltraSPARC in 1995, also 64-bit. For reasons unclear to me, Microsoft dropped all but the Intel 32-bit version of their Windows products in 1999, effectively ceding the 64-bit market to to Sun, DEC, Compaq and HP. Linux has run on 64-bit chips since they were available. A recent post on the GNHLUG board indicates that Linux will run on an AMD64 laptop as well. Wow, 64 bits on a laptop!

The article mentions the 64-bit release of Windows XP, but seems focused on the long-promised “Longhorn” release of Windows, and has a couple of strange paragraphs claiming that the Longhorn flavor Windows Explorer can provide much of the search capabilities of the oft-promised (but not included in Longhorn) WinFS database-as-file-system:

The various transparencies, shading, and richer animation capabilities of Longhorn’s graphical interface that will be featured in the demo are not glitz for glitz’s sake, because these improvements are designed to help users to “collect, organize, and visualize data in a way that is not possible today,”

Uh, hunh.

I don’t think this column is coincidentally timed with the release this Friday of “Tiger,” Apple’s latest OS X version 10.4, including the built-in “Spotlight” desktop search feature. Can’t wait to see how Tiger delivers!

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