It’s funny how history has a way of repeating itself when it comes to overly-ambitious Microsoft operating system projects. A once confidential Microsoft document released as evidence in the Comes V. Microsoft lawsuit gives us a rare insider look at how Microsoft plans for a product as complex as Windows.
Although I have to admit I have not yet built up the courage to read this 76-page product planning document for Windows Cairo from 1993 word for word, but even skimming this document has revealed a number of interesting tidbits that shows just how forward-looking this project must have been for its time.
One example that stands out from the rest, the document describes the concepts of “Smart Folders” which presents folders to users that both store and view information based on metadata as well as “finding information through queries” – ideas later reanimated as part of the Longhorn WinFS vision but still not fully realized 17 years later even though the problem has been and is still relevant today.
The original case exhibit PDF is downloadable for bedside reading here.