Saturday, June 24, 2006

WinFS is dead?

The word has come down from on high: WinFS -- the long-anticipated "relational filesystem" from Microsoft -- won't be delivered as a stand-alone product. A Digg submitter writes:

The official word from the dev team is that WinFS will no longer be developed as a relational filesystem, and all future betas are cancelled.

I've always wondered about the rationale for this type of next-generation "file system". As I saw it, a file system is nothing but a high-speed way -- but conceptually kid-simple -- to create, read, update and delete blocks of bytes within the constraints of foldering, files and basic permissions.

As originally described, WinFS would revolutionize the file system, providing SQL-like query capabilities and other search-focused characteristics that would make retrieval of data a snap.

Guess what? There are plenty of applications that already do this. Apps like Google, that layer incredibly sophisticated applications on top of a brute-simple file system. And apps like, yes, SQL Server... that does much the same.

So I've always wondered why the file system had to be so sophisticated that it could perform some of the application's work for it.

I guess I have my answer now.

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