So Microsoft announced yesterday that some pieces associated with Longhorn (Indigo and Avalon) would be made available to Windows XP prior to Longhorn shipping. Also that WinFS would show up after the initial release of Longhorn.
Within 24 hours, the Channel 9 crew get Jim Allchin to sit down for a video interview. Ok, so it shouldn't be rocket science to get a Microsoft exec to sit for Channel 9... but the thing that I appreciate is that you wouldn't have seen this a year or two ago. There'd have been the announcement, a few spokesperson quotes in the trade press, and then a whole lot of speculation and whining. I much prefer the new transparency.
As for developer reaction on the delay itself... I don't see cause for concern. Had anyone in their right mind been working on any sort of production system that relied on Longhorn? I'd question that judgment. I think getting Indigo for WinXP (which has been planned and announced) will be great. Ditto for Avalon. But as nice as all that is, it's a ways off... and if you're delivering any sort of meaningful application any time soon, and you're a Microsoft shop, you're working with .NET 1.1. Even if you we knew exactly when these new subsystems would ship, it's worth being cautious before jumping in with both feet on a major new system.
I do think that knowing about this stuff sooner rather than later is a big plus, though I'm sure it means heartburn and tough questions for the evangelist types.