Waiting for Longhorn
I installed the WinHEC build of Longhorn a couple months ago, hoping to do some serious play and write some posts. Unfortunately, there's no available IDE for it, and I prefer to use my time efficiently, so I may not actually post much on Longhorn until the next complete alpha or beta release.
My hesistancy is also due to apparent (and rumored) delay of Longhorn. The new beta 1 date for Longhorn slipped to second half of 2005, according to Microsoft Watch. If you remember one year ago, Longhorn was estimated to ship at that time. I had faint optimism, that the Windows team, just like Office, was starting to get the science of release dates down.
This time frame doesn't seem to allow sufficient time for a 2006 release. I thought perhaps it would be possible since Orcas and Indigo will likely ship on time, and Avalon represented an entirely new API stack, so compatibility issues should be minimal. WinFS was iffy, but the underlying technology was based on shipping technology. However, the WinHEC slides indicated otherwise. There are massive low-level changes throughout the system. Many of the existing Win32 APIs are being gutted and redirected to use the new APIs internally. GDI, for instance, runs on top of Avalon, rather than side-by-side.
My guess is that Longhorn will ship in 2007. The good news is that the applications that I start shipping next year can add another year to their life.