March 01, 2001, 9:45 AM — Everything I've seen and read about Windows XP leads me to one conclusion -- this is not for the office, either on the desktop or in the server room.
Due out later this year, Windows XP, previously code-named "Whistler," is supposed to be the first Windows operating system to combine the consumer code base (represented by Windows 9x and Windows Millennium Edition) with the business code base (represented by Windows NT and Windows 2000).
Reports are that it will come in at least three versions: home, office desktop and server, with the server version not shipping until next year -- possibly as Windows 2002 server.
At the preview launch last week in Seattle, the emphasis was on the "rich multimedia experience." (Hardly necessary in a server product. I'll watch movies on a screen designed for movies, thank you very much. And I'll do it sitting on a comfortable chair, recliner or sofa with a side table to hold my drinks and snacks.)
Also featured was a new graphical user interface that allows multiple users of a single machine to more easily personalize their "experience" as well as return most things (hardware and software) to the same state as when they left. Few, if any, business desktop machines are shared these days -- so this "feature" will simply get in the way.
But the scariest thing I heard was that XP allows users to, in essence, set up their own virtual private network (VPN) between any two XP users anywhere in the world. According to IDG News Service reporter Ashlee Vance, the user "can permit a friend to see his screen via a chat-type protocol and even run programs from the original user's machine."
Microsoft will publish a way, and provide the tools, for one PC to run software from another -- and take over control of another machine. The crackers must be drooling with anticipation! Suspiciously, Microsoft gave out no details of the security mechanisms to be used, except to say that transactions would be encrypted (and the crackers love that, too -- no way to trace an attack back to them).
So, when debating among Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP, you can throw out any consideration of XP. That makes the choice of Window 2000 that much easier to decide.