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VNU Net: Windows 2000 goes 'headless' this summer

Jun 11, 2000, 14:24 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by James Middleton)

By James Middleton, VNU Net

The next generation of Windows 2000 will feature a so-called 'headless' option, without local display, keyboard or mouse. It will be managed over a network, which will allow it to compete with embedded or Unix systems.

The 32-bit Server editions of the operating system (OS), currently known as Whistler, can be installed headless but, to make the option universally available, the Redmond giant is encouraging hardware suppliers to add Bios support for headless servers.

Microsoft will launch the technology in a standalone kit this summer but will not actually implement the feature into the OS until the final release of Whistler early next year.

Ashim Pal, an analyst at Meta Group, said that Microsoft is making a bid for the growing area of network appliances. He said that the product could be considered embedded "in some fashion, but would not increase its standing as a Unix competitor".

Pal said that all operating systems had a part to play in the appliance space "because there will be a range of devices available featuring a cut-down operating system, whether it be Linux, Unix or NT".

He said that Linux had the edge because of Microsoft's licensing laws. "Appliances are cheaper and, because Linux is free, it will offset cost even more. NT is still expensive and will only be able to contend in the higher end space," he said.

Microsoft said that users will have to wait for a 64-bit version of the headless server until the release of the next generation development, codenamed Blackcomb.

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