Friday, July 15, 2005

WinHEC Day 3

[Posted on my MSN Space on May 05, 2005]

Device and PC Integration with Discovery, Plug and Play, Publication, and Network Explorer

Microsoft's "ConnectNow" initiative introduces a new paradigm in which device Plug and Play and use is non longer restricted to physical busses but can be accomplished via the network. Today there are two distinct UXs when plugging-in a USB device versus attaching a device to the network.
The benefits of ConnectNow are:
  • Simplified discovery and use of network connected devices.

  • Enumeration and use through standard windows API's. Abstracts the actual protocols being used (UPnP, PnP-X, WSD, etc.)

  • Can be managed by existing asset management infrastructure (Group Policy).

The main areas of ConnectNow are Discovery, Association, Security, and Function Discovery. Discovery requires a network protocol rather than a bus electronic signal. This will allow metadata exchange of hardware information such as device ID, friendly name, compatible IDs, etc. Association allows the PC to use a Network Connected Device (NCD). In the area of security, Plug-and-Play Extensions for Network Connected Devices (PnP-X) exposes and IP Bus Enumerator that provides a platform for establishing trust and a secure channel between a PC and a device. Function Discovery will allow abstraction of underlying provider implementations and allow one common API. Currently planned in-box providers for Longhorn are PnP, SSDP (for UPnP), WS-Discovery (Web Services for Devices), Registry, and 3rd-party.

Building Longhorn-Ready PC's

This session outlined the Longhorn-ready PC program. The goals of the program are to ensure that customers can make good Longhorn-capable PC decisions and to provide OEM's an early opportunity to plan and market Longhorn-ready PC's. For 2005, Microsoft plans to finalize the technical requirements of the program, begin industry engagement, and develop enterprise guidelines. In 2006, ReadyPC products should be available as well as marketing for the ReadyPC program.
Requirements for the program:

  • PC Hardware Quality - Windows XP Logo for 32 or 64.

  • System Requirements - Modern CPU, 512 or higher RAM.

  • Graphics Stability - LDDM for PC graphics made available within 90 days of launch (if not supported in-box on Longhorn). Possible LDDM UX models:

    • Classic - Windows 2000 look-and-feel.

    • "To Go" - ALC-type products.

    • Aero

There is an important distinction between Longhorn-ready and Longhorn-capable. Longhorn-ready is a marketing campaign (with associated Logo program), a Longhorn-capable PC can consist of a legacy CPU, 128-256 MB RAM, older (non-Aero) graphics, etc.
The projected platform features of a PC in the Longhorn timeframe include correct ACPI implementation, hybrid disk (NVRAM + disk), drivers verified to not introduce latency, TPM 1.2, UAA, LDDM, > 64 MB graphics memory. Microsoft is also encouraging industrial design features such as form factor that matches function (Media Center, for example), front-mounted ports, labeled and colored connectors, quiet, easy-open case, tool-less I/O card add/remove, judicious and well designed use of lights, enough 1394 and USB ports, etc.

DMI: Driver Install Frameworks Tools and Strategies

This session is the most immediately applicable to bPC. Device Management and Installation (DMI) is a platform for creating stable, Microsoft-approved driver installation packages. The platform abstracts OS version and supports Windows 2000 forward and with version 2.0 is localized in 24 different languages. DMI also creates a down-level driver store which handles driver updates and roll-backs, so driver developers don't have to worry about this. The Driver Install Frameworks are currently in their 3rd generation (1.0, 1.1, 2.0). In this version, support for test-signed and unsigned drivers has been added to support "legacy" mode. The three major components of DMI are the Driver Package Installer (DPInst), the Driver Install Frameworks for Applications (DIFxApp) and the Driver Install Frameworks API (DIFxAPI).
Driver Package Installer (DPInst)

  • For INF-installable drivers

  • Supports software-first installs

  • No code or custom installers to write

  • Creating a driver installer package requires three steps

    • Place DPInst.exe into temporary directory.

    • Place driver files into the same temporary directory (supports subdirectories if necessary).

    • Create self extracting .exe file that launches DPInst.exe

Driver Install Frameworks for Applications (DIFxApp)

  • Creates a Windows Installer Custom Action

  • Can be used by Windows Installer, WISE, InstallShield, or open sources MS WiX (Windows Installer XML).

  • Used for more complicated installs such as additional software applications, etc.

Driver Install Frameworks API (DIFxAPI)

  • Allows creation of custom installers with DIFx backend.

The Next Generation Logo Program

This session outlined the two new Logo programs that will be introduced in the Longhorn timeframe. The name of the Logo program is changing from the "Designed for…" wording to simply "Windows Logo Program". In addition, there will be two levels of Logo - Gold or Premium, and Silver or Standard (actual names are just a placeholder for now). Device vendors can still participate in signature programs without participating in Windows Logo programs.
Program Details

  • Gold delivers the "premium" Longhorn experience (Aero glass, etc.)

  • Created in response from partner feedback wanting product differentiation.

  • Must have Silver/Standard Logo first. Sliver Logo is comparable to Windows XP Logo program. Gold builds upon the Sliver Logo.

  • New and expanded device categories on WinQual (and Windows MarketPlace).

  • Administration similar to Windows XP Logo (online submission to WinQual).

  • Driver signatures will have Gold or Silver attribute.

  • There will be different artwork for Gold versus Silver Logo

  • Microsoft will begin a marketing push for Gold program only.

Possible Gold System Logo Requirements

  • Aero visual theme support.

  • DVD burning.

  • TPM 1.2.

  • RTC with array microphone capable audio system.

  • 802.11g.

  • External video must be DVI.

  • Hardware feature buttons or function key combinations (turn wireless on/off, for example).

  • Battery life indicators.

  • Enhanced color matching.

System Components:
  • Audio - WaveRT miniport WDM.

  • Input - KMDF (new keyboard driver model).

  • Graphics - At least one DVI-out required on multi-head cards.

All drivers must meet minimum quality rating.

Schedule: See slide deck for program requirements draft schedule.

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