Robert L. Mitchell reported Microsoft goes to pieces in a recent ComputerWorld article. The article is light on specifics, but the message is interesting:
"With the release of Longhorn in 2007, the company has said it will offer 'role-based' versions of Windows in which only the code needed to perform a given function will be included in a particular build of the operating system... Now, rather than simply selling task-specific editions of Windows, Microsoft may let systems administrators choose which core elements of Windows to include at installation."
As a security engineer, I think this is a great idea. Microsoft is already encouraging administrators to shut down unnecessary services via Windows Server 2003 SP1 RC's Service Configuration Wizard. Completely omitting unnecessary systems would be an even better idea. This is similar to a "minimal" FreeBSD installation. My guess is Microsoft will offer templates for mail, Web, database, and firewall servers. (A Windows-based firewall still confounds me!) In any case, I welcome this development if Microsoft indeed implements it.
On a related Microsoft note, I thought this description of DLL hell was very useful.