Over the weekend my blogging colleague Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft is set to deliver Vista SP1 beta by mid-July. Sounds to me like Microsoft is rushing SP1 out of the door in order to encourage business users to adopt the new OS.
SP1 is not so much an update for Vista but more a marketing toolThere are several aspects of Mary Jo's report, which if they turn out to be true (or even close to true) suggest that Microsoft is fast-tracking SP1. For example, dropping the beta in by mid-July and then the final version in November is fast turn-around for Microsoft and suggests that SP1 is not so much an update for Vista but more a marketing tool than the company wants to have at its disposal. Also, Vista SP1 is more about bug fixes, minor tweaks and giving Vista a bit of a tune up than a raft of new features. There have been suggestions that SP1 would bring to Vista a whole new kernel (bringing Vista's kernel in line with Windows Server 2008), but if the beta period is only four months, I doubt that's enough time to shake the bugs out of a major kernel update, especially considering that some service packs have seen a beta life-cycle of a year or so.
There's no doubt that Vista needs a service pack. The more systems I roll Vista out on and the more I see (and feel) the bugs. But a rushed service pack is something I and everyone else having to deal with Vista can do without, thank you very much Microsoft. But there's a huge incentive for Microsoft to rush Vista SP1. While Vista is selling well in the consumer market (how many consumers believe they have a choice?), businesses are far more wary, with many admins claiming that they are waiting for SP1. Well, it seems that come November this excuse will no longer apply. I wonder if businesses will then take the leap of faith and embrace Microsoft or substitute the "we're waiting for SP1" excuse for another excuse. Maybe they'll then wait for SP2.
One thing's for sure, if SP1 does make a beta appearance in July and is released in November, I'll be taking great care when rolling it out. I sincerely want to avoid applying a buggy service pack over onto an OS that has more than its fair share of "features."