Scobleizer has a post regarding the demise of WinFS, the enhanced File System that was, originally, supposed to ship with Vista. The Microsoft WinFS team posted the news back on WinFS June 23, 2006. WinFS was intended to essentially put files into a database, instead of scattering them around the C: drive or in My Documents, or wherever. In doing so, the search capabilities were to be greatly enhanced.

I remember when I was looking at Oracle back in the late nineties and thinking that such a file organization system would be the way that things should go as users start to create ever more information together and require more and more storage. And in fact, other people with jobs at Microsoft and elsewhere were thinking along similar lines.

Yet, as Scobleizer points out in his post, and some readers come to agree, in the comments that follow, that the primary forces that caused, what I will call, the dissipation* of WinFS were desktop search (e.g. Google Desktop) and the Internet, with its capability to connect everything and, now, various storage services (e.g. Gmail, Apple’s iDisk, etc.).

A couple more comments and analyses to this discussion come from Charles Miller and Dare Obasanjo.

*I call it dissipation because like so many technology projects that have “died,” many of the pieces will be picked up and utilized in other projects in the future, such as, in the case of WinFS in the next generation of SQL server among other places.

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