WinFS Beta 2 has been cancelled, and the technology is now slated to be bundled into the next SQL Server release, Microsoft said Friday. "With most of our effort now working towards productizing mature aspects of the WinFS project into SQL and ADO.NET, we do not need to deliver a separate WinFS offering," Quentin Clark of the WinFS group said this in the blog post announcing the decision
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As Jeremy Reimer writes in this Ars Technica article, WinFS was initially touted as one of the "three pillars" of the Vista operating system, along with Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Presentation Foundation. In 2004 WinFS was taken out of Vista, but Microsoft said it would be made available as a download compatible with Vista and Windows XP, Reimer notes.
Now WinFS will not even be a standalone download, and that decision has a lot of developers peeved. "WinFS is dead" is the most-used phrase in the comment string that follows Clark's post. Several other commenters note that WinFS had been the only reason they were considering an upgrade to Vista at all. Many see the announcement, and the WinFS project as a whole, as proof that Microsoft needs to seriously rethink the way it works.
Other reactions from the blogoshpere:
"Hey, I chug the Kool-Aid from a freakin beer bong here, but even I have to say that Microsoft's putting a PR spin on this albatross that probably isn't going to fly. 'It's not dead... it lives on in productized form in Katmai!' [Katmai is the next version of SQL Server.] 'Yeah, and Bob lived on to become Clippy." -- Robert McLaws
"This is the right decision, albeit two years too late but better late than never. It's sad to think about the projects that got killed or disrupted because of WinFS only for this to happen." -- Dare Obasanjo
"So has Microsoft given up on the relational file system? NO! But they have given up on integrating the relational file system with the Win32 API. I predict a lot of the WinFS ideas etc will slowly but surely make their way into the Sharepoint roadmap. I mean sharepoint already has a WebDAV server doesn't it...." -- Alex James
"The problem I see is that MSFT comes up with the coolest ideas. Then a company like Apple puts it into perspective and creates a usable product called "Spotlight" and literally steals the "Spotlight" from them. And then google comes up and creates Desktop Search, and then MSN comes in a reactive mode and creates MSN Desktop search. And then MSFT uses it's sheer momentum to package MSN Desktop search with Outlook 2007." -- Sahil Malik
This article originally appeared on TheServerSide.NET.