In a very interesting post, Ray Ozzie talks about the potential of WinFS:
Again, using the WS-* analogy, developers will start to standardize from the ground up, with basic agreements on “envelope” (the most basic “item” schema) and, slowly but surely, domain-specific schemas for richer object and relationship types. Microsoft will obviously drive the initial schemas required by the core system - such as Contact - but where will it go from there? What will a refactored Adobe Photoshop Album look like in this environment? Or an iTunes for Windows? Or the mobile client for Siebel, SAP, Great Plains, or salesforce.com, with all client-side data now open and available to VARs and other solution developers?
I would be extremely happy with the whole notion of a new system of organizing data (to avoid the term file system), if only it were more of an industry initiative than a Microsoft-only thing. Taking the iTunes example - why would Apple ever want to support a Windows-only feature?
If Microsoft would work on standardizing WinFS, so that the e.g. the proprietary schema language, as well as a clear spec of what the file system iis supposed to do, are implementable by others as well, this would really be a very cool thing indeed. Sigh … one can dream …