It’s interesting to see the rumor mill around Vista – I saw articles this morning claiming that 60% of the Vista code would have to be rewritten and the Xbox team was pulled to work on Vista – from what I can see both of those are not true. I suspect people are looking to explain why the release has slipped into the next year. I do find it interesting that there were such ambitious plans for Vista which have gradually evaporated and pushed to a future release and the pruned back plans just aren’t within reach in a short amount of time. However, in some ways software development is about making big plans reality, sometimes it just turns out to be bigger than you thought.
One of the things I’ve really appreciated about Open Source software is the ability to REALLY see the development process. To see what the developers plan for the next release, to see and test the new features as they come along and to see the different approaches to adding new features. It really is fascinating and I’ve got to say to a certain extent I understand many of the kinds of problems Microsoft faces with a major release.
It is amazing to me that Vista has been such a long time coming. When we see linux distros with 6 month release cycles from one version to the next. Some, stretching to a bit longer (maybe a year between releases)…. of course, it’s probably not a fair comparison. It might be more fair to look at the release cycle of KDE or Gnome for a comparison.
What I think will be more interesting is if the market place finds this extra delay to be more inticing and we see a lot of pent up “demand” for a new version of Windows. Frankly, I’ve read about Vista and am not 100% certain if someone asked today why they should plan on upgrading to Vista…. I’m not certain I’d know a reason to give. I know the user interface is supposed to be new and “slicker”. I’m not sure if that’s a compelling reason for most people. (Most people shy away from new interfaces if they’ve become accustomed to a particular layout….) The fact that there will be 6 versions of Vista only further muddies the waters for the average consumer I think.
Of course, some would say – well that’s the problem with linux – too many versions to choose from… but once people get an idea of distributions being different vendors, the choice becomes simpler. (Take ubuntu as an example – server install, and gnome desktop or kde desktop are the main choices.) With other distributions a free download with no proprietary software, paid version with proprietary drivers/software demos/etc…. The differences are usually more obvious and clear cut.
With Windows though. I’m still explaining what the difference between XP Pro and Home is to people that want to save $100 or so by getting Home on a work machine. (The two biggest differences I give is the supported updates being longer for Pro and you can’t join a Windows domain with Home…) And it hasn’t been too long ago that I had to talk someone out of buying a system to act as an office fileserver that had Windows XP Media center edition pre-installed. The differences are much muddier. In fact different versions of windows the differences seem to center around features that are crippled, rather than choice of role of the system. (Maximum user connection limits of 5 users for file sharing in some Windows versions, but not others for instance.)
I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m not sure that there is great disappointment at Vista’s arrival delay. (I, at least, can speak for myself there… that I haven’t felt enthusiasm for a Windows release since I was told how stable and “rock solid” windows 98 was….) It means that there will be a bit longer to try and sort out the different variations and what advantages there are to upgrading (other than the “we won’t support the old version after x years”.)
Rant? Rambling? Probably more rambling than anything else, but it’s interesting to see the flurry of stories speculating. As for me, I’m looking forward to trying out the next Ubuntu release. I’ve tested Kubuntu out for a while and have really liked what I’ve seen. After the release of Mandrake’s founder from Mandriva, I’ve had my questions as to how “commited” I am to keeping Mandriva on my systems. Of course, that’s not the only reason, but it does make me wonder about the direction the company is headed and I see Ubuntu doing some very interesting things.
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