Microsoft has released the first betas of key developer technologies for the next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn.
There are now beta 1 packages available for Microsoft’s new presentation subsystem, codenamed Avalon, and its web services-based communication subsystem, codenamed Indigo.
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Microsoft had previously released pre-beta community technology previews of Avalon and Indigo to selected developers for review.
In addition, the company has made available a new beta technology for end-user identity management, called InfoCards. Sun Microsystems and Microsoft recently announced they would be jointly developing identity management solutions, but InfoCards is a Microsoft solution.
A single sign-on technology, InfoCards allows users to gain secure access to all authorised websites and applications without having to use multiple log-ins.
Unlike the proprietary Passport system, which has seen little take-up from users, InfoCards is based on the developing WS- stack of interoperability standards, supported by a number of major industry players.
Although WS- is in competition with the other widely supported federated management solution pushed by the Liberty Alliance, Sun also looks to WS- for its federated management development work, so InfoCards doesn’t necessarily mean a breach in the Microsoft/Sun federated management relationship.
Avalon and Indigo are part of Microsoft's WinFX programming model, the next development of its .net Framework. WinFX is also intended as the development foundation for Longhorn, due in 2006.