The next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn and now officially known as Windows Vista, is now in beta. Here are a few resources I've found:
Putting aside all other over-reported features like the translucent windows and the improved search, two things I'm really excited about is the breadcrumbs bar in Explorer windows and the Microsoft Command Shell. The breadcrumbs bar (I'm not sure what it's really called, but that's what Paul calls it) is a navigational feature that makes navigating to different folders a lot easier. It'd take too long to explain, but this screenshot ought to give you a good idea. As you can see, every parent in a folder's path can be clicked to show a list of the other subfolders in that parent.
The Microsoft Command Shell, a.k.a MSH and codenamed Monad, is the successor of cmd.exe, which is the command-line interface for Windows. Unlike cmd.exe, which is almost exactly like command.com (i.e. MS-DOS), MSH is a much more powerful CLI, and is at least comparable to that of Linux (or maybe even better, if you like .NET and object-oriented programming). Just like Linux and other Unix-clones, MSH will support pipes and filters, meaning you could easily combine various programs to work on a single problem. It even has its own scripting language. The geeky possibilities are endless. I might even find some use for the CommandBar (a would-be-cool shell extension that puts a command prompt inside any Explorer window). The bad news? MSH's final form will have to be delayed until a few months after Windows Vista itself. But I guess, seeing that I won't have money to buy a new PC until well after I graduate, I really couldn't care, can I?
Trivia: The shortened title for Windows Vista would be Windows VI, which is a cool coincidence, considering that it really is Windows 6.0.
As a sidenote, I wonder where the Desktop Sidebar has gone? Hmmm...I didn't like it very much, anyway (a waste of space, I thought). Well, good riddance.