James O'Neill's Blog

December 19, 2008

What will Windows 7 be like … magnificent ? The Goldilocks question.

Filed under: Beta Products — jamesone111 @ 3:07 pm

It’s odd to think that  I’ve been using Windows Vista as my main OS for more than 2 years. We’ve started taking the wrappers off “Windows 7” and “Server 2008 R2” at Tech-ed in Barcelona people were asking when they could get a beta, when the product would ship and so on. I have summed this up on internal discussions with “Those who know aren’t talking and those who talk don’t know”. The best answer we got to for the beta,was “It might be before Christmas, but then again it might be after”. Ah yes, put a Microsoft field person on the spot about dates and we become evasive enough to make the average politician’s answers look clear and direct. There are still a few days left for me to be proved wrong, but it looks like early in the new year. As for ship dates, we said when it shipped that Vista would have a 3 year life -  taking it to the end of 2009, and in the run up to the launch of Server 2008 we used slides which indicated “R2” at the end of 2009. We haven’t gone public on any changes to that. A beta at the start of the year would tie in nicely with that too.

I’m going to switch to 7 when the beta arrives. So that means the end of the road for Vista and I . I’ve genuinely liked the OS : but I’d need to have my head in sand to think that everyone liked it as much as I have. So I’ve been thinking about what people will make of 7. And I’ve got to a few examples.

“All Microsoft OSes are dreadful. It’s their natural state,XP was bad, I never used Vista but it was worse, 7 will be worse still”  Thank you, professor. There’s precious little point in my talking to you. Next.

Microsoft OSes were OK upto and Including XP.Things went off the rails with Vista.”  Now there are two ways this can go.
Either “The only hope is for Microsoft to go back to XP, and refine that”. That just won’t happen. The Windows 5.x generation (Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003) is behind us, we are in the 6.x generation (Vista, 2008, 2008 R2, and “Seven”). The handful of things which can’t be made to work on Vista won’t work on ANY future OS.
OR “As a point release of Vista, Seven will deliver what Vista should have been in the first place”.  I’m probably going to have resist the urge to disagree with this. Vista was what it should have been for 2006. If we’d somehow produced 7 back then it would have had all the problems which come from a generational shift. But when people are ready to move its daft to beat them up for being slow to come to that decision.

“Vista was probably OK, but we didn’t move up to the 5.x generation in its first couple of years. The 6.x generation is the same”  This isn’t a good thing in an IT department.”We can’t deploy anything new” is a bad thing to say when the word “technology” is part of your title. But again if you’re ready to move now, no sense in asking “what took you so long”

“We’ve deployed vista .” This can go three ways.
Either “The change to 7 is small enough to make the step up really easy and we can see the benefits” – thank you, no need to talk to you but would you like to talk to some of my other customers !
orThe change to 7 is small enough that we can’t see the benefits ,so we’re going to stick with Vista”-
or “We’ve been through the pain of one OS upgrade, we’re not doing another one any time soon”

And that is the Goldilocks question. “This jump is too big” – “This jump is too small” and hopefully “this one is just right.”. Of course the only way to find out is to try the porridge for yourself – which – hopefully – is where we’ll be in a few weeks.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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