Building Support Solutions in WinPE
Best session of the conference - Why? Because they handed out 1GB USB2.0 UFD's - woohoo!. Really though, this actually was a pretty good session. We've been working with WinPE pretty intensly since it's introduction during Windows XP development through the development of "Interim" WinPE announced at last year's WinHEC. Nothing in this session came as much of a suprise with the exception that MS is saying that the .NET framework can be added to WinPE. They don't provide support or a mechanism, but have stated that is can be and has been done. I'll have to take a look at that, maybe leveraging the Windows XP Embedded .NET framework component to disect exactly how it can be added to WinPE. Once again, we got some mud in our (HP) eye for not supporting high-speed USB 2.0 boot capability in our BIOS. Hopefully we'll get there sooner than later since UFD's are taking off so rapidly. MS also alluded that more WinPE details for Longhorn, including booting WinPE from MS's new WIM image format, would be revealed at the PDC - I guess I'll have to start begging to go to LA again :). The session finished with two demos from ISV's using WinPE for diagnostics and backup/recovery. It's interesting to see how ISV's/IHV's are adopting and implementing WinPE in solutions.
Bluetooth and USB
I wan't able to find any sessions during this timeslot that directly related to my job or workgroup, so I thought I'd attend this session since it sounded interesting. There was a very brief update on the updates to USB and IEEE 1394 for Longhorn. For USB 2.0 Microsoft is doing a complete rewrite of USBHUB.SYS. Later in the day I would learn that this was due, in large part, to power managment enhancements. MS also plans to enable kernel debugging via USB 2.0. I loved hearing this since debugging on legacy-free systems has always presented a challenge. Apparently there was a Driver DevCon session on this, so I'll have to try and track down the slide deck. The 1394 update was even more brief, simply stating that IP addressing would be removed from 1394 in Longhorn. As for Bluetooth, the main emphasis was to being looking at the enhancements that have already been added to XP SP2 and to stop using COM ports for Bluetooth applications (use RFCOM? and sockets instead). The Longhorn updates include stack improvements, improved channel interference avoidance with 802.11, new faster EDR radio, and extensibility features. The extensibility features will include SCO driver development (for Bluetooth headsets), a service discovery protocol, L2CAP, and a new Driver Development Interface which simplifies application development.
Multicore Processor Technology - Maximizing Performance in a CPU Constrained World
In short, this session discussed the power and thermal envelope considerations in respect to processor performance of daul-core versus single core processors. It was presented by AMD and was very AMD architecture centric. The key take away was that a dual-core processor can run with the same power consumption and thermal conditions at 400MHz less than a single core processor. However, even with the 400 MHz difference, there are significant performance gains.
Dynamic Partitioning and Windows Longhorn
Nope, this wasn't about disk partitioning and Virtual Disk Services. I guess I should have looked in the conference guide. I have to admit I was kind of suspiscious when I met several enterprise server guys in the audience. I ended up leaving early and moving next door into:
Longhorn Power Management
I arrived a little late, but here's the rundown on power managment enhancements in Longhorn. Power profile management will be updated to include management/configuration from group policy, powercfg.exe, etc. No word on whether the power management API will be updated (or the lib and header files fixed!). Longhorn will also include a better mechanism for handling a power profile when no users are interactively logged on to the system. MS is also updating processor power management which will include a rewrite of existing processor drivrers (p3.sys, amdk7.sys). Longhorn will also include an improved UX with simplified shutdown/sleep UI, battery meter, hung app resolution, etc. The new UX will also include OEM extensibility. OEMs will have enhanced opportunities for adding/configuring power schemes, control panel applet property sheets, etc. One interesting point was that the new default settings are STILL not EStar compliant.
System Performance Assessment Tools for Windows Longhorn
Longhorn will introduce a new paradigm of scaling OS functionality in respect to hardware capabilities. Today, application developers need to do custom detection of hardware detection and usually dumb-down their apps to the lowest common denominator. MS is adding an infrastructure (cmd line util, API, WMI provider) to provide some basic system metrics for hardware assessment. The basic metrics are graphics performance (used to determine which Aero model the graphics card can support), memory, processor, and storage. The command utility, winstat.exe, will produce XML output that IHV's and ISV's can read to determine if the system is capable of advanced features included in applications without having to write their own assessment code. Winstat.exe is included on the WinHEC build of Longhorn and documentation was included on the conference proceedings CD, so I'm going have to play with this on a few of our systems see how Longhorn ready they are. Seeing that MS was using our systems for several of their Longhorn demos, I'm thinking we're pretty close :)
Longhorn OS Deployment and Manufacturability
The presenter used to be our TAM, so I had some inside info before attending this session so I didn't take too many notes. The key information is that Microsoft is placing new emphasis on OEM and corporate deployment scenarios on Longhorn, rather than these scenarios being an afterthought once the retail install was developed. Longhorn will inclue the OPK (with new and improved tools for image management, deployment and maintainence), and will introduce the WAIK, an OPK like package for enterprise level customers who have a tendency to ask OEMs for copies of the OPK (which we can't legally give them). This session also covered the "world-wide binary" concept. Longhorn will separate code from resources, allow a language-generic base image that uses MUI for translation. This will finally fix the problem of creating and managing an image per language. The session also glanced over WinPE updated that were presented in detail in the morning and introduced WDS (Windows Deployment Services), the eventual replacement for RIS.
Gibson, Intel, and Cakewalk hosted this year's party at EMP. It wasn't quite as fun as last year's party, but still a good time. See pics below.
Well, I'm off to finish up the second half of day 3. I'll try and post the day 3 summary tonight.
Guitar Tower 1
Guitar Tower 2
Sky Church Jellyfish
Sky Church Stage Side
Sky Church Stage Center