What's coming with Windows? Even the insiders aren't sure...

Summary:Sometimes you find fascinating little tidbits of Microsoft news buried in obscure places, tossed in as throwaway remarks. Today’s case in point comes from a post at an obscure Microsoft blog, which inadvertently answers the question of why UAC fixes won't be included in Vista SP1 and raises a few more questions as well.

Sometimes you find fascinating little tidbits of Microsoft news buried in obscure places, tossed in as throwaway remarks. Today’s case in point comes from a post at the Windows Installer team blog, which tries to explain why some references to Windows Installer 4.1 appeared on an MSDN and then were removed.

The explanation provides an interesting factoid and also illustrates a larger principle about how Microsoft works.

First the factoid. From the post (with emphasis added):

The back story here starts about this time last year when we were finishing up Windows Installer 4.0 in Windows Vista and asking ourselves "What's next?". At that time, we didn't know the bar for features in Windows Vista SP1 and next major release of Windows.

[…]

Knowing none of the feature and release criteria, our best guess at the time was that Windows Vista SP1 would ship first, an out of band release would ship next, and then the next full version of Windows would be our focus.

[…]

[T]he new guard in Windows had a very different bar for the Vista SP than had been in practice for previous releases (at least in my memory).  Generally there is lip service to no large feature work in a SP but this time folks listened.  Big feature adds were heavily scrutinized.  The items we wanted to fix in the SP, UAC tweaks, were big feature by the new bar. 

When the UAC tweaks were rejected for Vista SP1, the justification for 4.1 faded as there were no new features in the Windows Installer in Vista SP1.

The good news to all of you who have been complaining about UAC is that your protests have not been falling on deaf ears. The bad news is that whatever work is being done will not appear in SP1.

So when will it appear? I found it fascinating that this team of developers at Microsoft, working on core technology, had to guess at the timeline and feature set for future versions of Windows, including a crucial service pack. Let that be a lesson for those who believe that Microsoft, in Borg-like fashion, ruthlessly coordinates its activities. The reality is there’s a lot of internal debate within the halls at One Microsoft Way, and even insiders are confused over what’s coming up in the Windows road map.

Now, can we talk about that out-of-band release…?

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the a... Full Bio

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