After months of speculation, Microsoft plans to give developers their first hard look at the next version of Windows in October.

The Redmond, Wash., company expects to release a "developers preview" of the new operating system, code-named Longhorn, at its professional developers conference in Los Angeles. Although it won't be a full beta, or test, version, Microsoft executives have promised it will be more than just "slideware," software that companies haven't been using and don't know when it will be coming.

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