A third internal test version of the successor to Microsoft Corp.’s desktop Windows XP operating system was leaked onto the Internet recently, showing incremental enhancements over the version that surfaced in March, according to Windows experts.

Build 4015, also referred to as Milestone 5, of the software code-named Longhorn has its own startup logo, a screen that shows a user’s settings are being loaded and a more refined search interface, according to testers who have posted screenshots of the software on various Web sites. Improvements have also been made to the sidebar, a part of the desktop that will offer a search bar and quick access to often used applications and other features. Although Build 4015 uses the Windows Preinstallation Environment, an improved setup utility and procedure to install the software, it takes longer to install than the March version, called Build 4008, because of changes in the way the operating system detects devices, according to testers with BetaNews. Microsoft is also expanding features that will support the new Windows Future Storage (WinFS) file system that will be part of Longhorn. WinFS will let users view files indexed from various physical locations instead of displaying the contents of specific folders or directories, such as “My Music” or “My Images.”

Sun touts metering in utility push

Sun Microsystems Inc.’s vision of utility computing features a metering of systems that would account for low-usage patterns countered by spikes during peak times, a Sun official said recently.

Under Sun’s vision, a customer would pay for server usage based on factors such as how many CPU cycles are being used, paying more during high-use times and less otherwise. Systems would be fitted to have an appropriate number of processors to accommodate spikes, said Jay Littlepage, vice-president of Sun’s internal IT operations. Hardware could be upgraded with more processors if needed. Either a service provider such as Electronic Data Systems Corp. or Sun itself would monitor usage and provide billing services, Littlepage said. Billing also could be based on factors such as disk usage.

PostView provides document, image viewing

Metaobject GmbH and OCSoftware have released PostView, a new Mac OS X application designed to provide document previewing, online reading and searching capabilities.

PostView can view PDF, Postscript, EPS, TIFF, JPEG, GIF and other image formats, and sports the ability to view facing pages, navigate via a PDF outline, and more. Users can set a viewing size, search for and copy text from PDF and Postscript files, and print EPS and PostScript files on non-PostScript printers. The software was developed using Mac OS X’s Cocoa framework. PostView leverages the Embedded Graphic Object System (EGOS) to provide Postscript and PDF services, according to the developers. PostView is available for download from the metaobject Web site and costs US$22 to register.