Windows 7 Revealed

Today at PDC, Microsoft gave the first public demonstration of Windows 7. They’ve been pretty tight-lipped about the new OS until now (with the one exception being the Engineering 7 blog), in stark contrast to the way Vista was announced. I read some of today’s reaction, and I’ve been reading the news over the last couple of weeks too. Here are a few of the things we know about Windows 7:

  • The final name will be simply Windows 7.
  • The version number will be 6.1, which indicates that the codebase is based on Vista.
  • There won’t be a major interface overhaul – just refinements and improvements to Vista’s attractive UI.
  • User Account Control (UAC) isn’t going away, but it has been refined.
  • The sidebar has been killed – gadgets now live on the desktop.
  • Windows 7 will run on netbooks on the small end, and will support up to 256 CPUs on the large end.
  • Built-in apps like Mail and Calendar are gone, with Windows Live Essentials left to fill the void.
  • The final release will likely come in the latter half of 2009.

For a simple overview of what was demonstrated today, check out The Windows Blog. If you want something a little more in-depth, check out Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite or ActiveWin. If you’re just looking for screenshots, see this post.

As you can see, it looks a lot like Vista! I’m definitely looking forward to playing with the revamped taskbar. Even ignoring the new functionality, the clear look is a welcome improvement.

Looking good so far Microsoft!

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) RTM

windows It’s official, Windows XP SP3 has finally been released to manufacturing. An announcement was quietly made today on the TechNet XP forum:

Today we are happy to announce that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has released to manufacturing (RTM). Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be available to OEM and Enterprise customers.

The update will be available at Windows Update and on the Microsoft Download site on April 29th. It will be pushed out via Automatic Updates starting June 10th. MSDN and TechNet subscribers should have access to the download later today.

There isn’t a lot of new functionality in SP3, but it’ll definitely be nice to avoid having to download dozens of updates after a fresh install of XP with SP2. Here’s a list of some of the included improvements.

Keep an eye on the Windows XP site for updates. There’s more commentary at Techmeme.

Windows Vista available today

Post ImageToday’s the day. Windows Vista is now available in stores, ready for you to purchase. I went to Best Buy today (for something else, not for Vista) and I have to say, the Vista display was sad. There were only a couple boxes on the shelf, and one demo computer. More people were buying the WoW expansion than Vista.

I guess that is to be expected though. Most people will get Vista when they buy a new computer. That has caused some people to wonder why Microsoft has spent so much on advertising for Windows Vista. I think it’s a tactical move.

Here are some of the more interesting things I have come across today related to the Vista launch:

Windows Vista RTM

Post ImageMicrosoft announced today that Windows Vista has been released to manufacturing. Everyone is thinking the same thing – finally! Here’s what Windows chief Jim Allchin had to say:

“It’s rock solid and we’re ready to ship. This is a good day,” Allchin said in a conference call. He said that Microsoft is releasing Vista in five languages. The French, Spanish and Japanese versions were actually signed off on before the English version, Allchin said.

Now that we have some concrete dates, let’s compare Vista to XP:

  • Windows XP was released 62 days after RTM. Windows Vista will be released 83 days after RTM.
  • When Vista is released, a total of 1923 days will have passed since the Windows XP release. A total of 4177 days will have passed since the release of Windows 95.

Sources: ActiveWin, Wikipedia

If you’re looking for some related Vista RTM coverage, here are a few good links:

I’m looking forward to giving Vista a whirl!

Read: CNET News.com

Does Windows Vista need Beta 3?

Post ImageVia Scoble I came across a post by Robert McLaws, in which he states that Windows Vista simply isn’t ready to be released. He suggests that the team add a third beta and push the launch back another four to six weeks:

I’ve been defending Microsoft’s ship schedule for Windows Vista for quite some time. Up to this point, I’ve been confident that Vista would be at the quality level it needs to be by RC1 to make the launch fantastic. Having tested several builds between Beta 2 and today, I hate to say that I no longer feel that way.

Beta 2 was a disappointment on many levels. It was nowhere near as stable as it should have been, and was a huge memory hog. Later builds have improved stability and performance, and have introduced visual tweaks and enhancements that make Vista feel more like a finished product. But several events are conspiring to make life a lot more difficult for beta testers, and I forsee problems if they are not addressed.

He then goes on to detail each of the problems.

I’ve always been in the “don’t ship until it’s ready” camp, so I agree with Robert. I haven’t been testing Windows Vista (though I did install Beta 2 onto a virtual machine) so I can’t chime in with my own experiences, but Robert is an expert, he knows what he’s talking about. Additionally, he isn’t the only one sounding the warning bell – remember Chris Pirillo’s crazy interface posts?

When I get the final version of Windows Vista, I want it to blow me away. I want it to be the best version of Windows I have ever laid eyes on. I want it to be quick, responsive, and pleasantly surprising when I least expect it. I want it to be a solid, finished, and polished release. If adding another beta and delaying the launch is what it takes to get there, so be it.

Read: Robert McLaws

Apple to run Windows?

Post ImageHow would you like to buy a Mac and run Windows on it instead of OS X? All the style of an Apple computer with the ubiquity of Windows – there are many people that would love to have the option. Looks like they may get it sooner or later:

Word is out now that Apple has joined BAPco, an industry group that does one thing and one thing only: create benchmarks for testing the performance of Windows-based PCs. The move comes on top of rumors that Apple will include VMWare-style virtualization capabilities in the next version of OS X, which could enable the Mac OS to run Windows apps without requiring a third-party emulator or a reboot.

Apple does hardware. Microsoft is a software company, Apple a hardware company. Now that they are using Intel chips anyway, why not run Windows? There have been many essays written arguing for and against such a decision, but I think it would be cool. Apple could concentrate on making sexy computers and leave the OS stuff to Microsoft.

I’d buy a Mac if it ran Windows Vista.

Read: Engadget

Don't Wait for Vista

Post ImageMy friend Kevin recently posted about how impressed he has been with the Windows XP experience (he switched over from Apple). No matter your religious affiliation, it’s hard to ignore that XP is a very stable, solid operating system, and the upcoming Windows Vista will only build on that. In fact, Vista looks so promising that the Gartner Group has changed their original advice:

Gartner Group has clarified its advice for when users should consider moving to Microsoft Vista, saying that organizations still running Windows 2000 should consider upgrading as soon as Vista ships.

Previously, Gartner had advised that “companies shouldn’t rush to upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista” and that “most firms could safely hold back until 2008.”

I was impressed with how stable the Beta 1 release was, at least as far as the fundamentals are concerned. I am really looking forward to Beta 2. And seriously, 2008? Five years has been long enough without a new version of Windows, thank you very much.

Read: CNET News.com