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Longhorn: Now you see it, now you don't

Just when people were getting their first glimpses of Longhorn, Microsoft's often-mentioned, seldom-seen future version of Windows, the company has brought down the curtain.

Microsoft has asked several Windows enthusiast sites to remove screen shots of an early version of Longhorn, distributed at this week's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, according to several blog postings.

Microsoft said it's taking the controversial action for legal reasons. Turns out there may be certain technologies in the early version of Longhorn for which Microsoft has not filed patent applications.

Paul Thurrott, who runs a site called WinInfo, told's Ina Fried that he reluctantly took down the three galleries of screenshots from his site. "For someone like me, the relationship is not worth bickering over something like this." He said he was not going to ruin his Microsoft relationship over "some screenshots of some inconsequential build."

However, Thurrott called the move a PR mistake, saying it's keeping Windows enthusiasts from being able to build excitement over the new operating system. "We've waited so long. We want to talk about it and do what we do."