Sinofsky dishes on Windows 7

Sinofsky dishes on Windows 7

Summary: The incredibly tight veil of secrecy around Windows 7 is about to lift, at least a little. After months of information lockdown, Microsoft is ready to begin talking about the next version of Windows. The first bits of information come from the very top, with a new blog written by the Microsoft Senior VPs in charge of Windows 7: Steven Sinofsky, who runs the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, and Jon DeVaan, who’s in charge of the Windows Core Operating System Division. The first post includes an explanation of why we've heard so little so far and the news that the real unveiling of Windows 7 will be in October at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference.

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The incredibly tight veil of secrecy around Windows 7 is about to lift, at least a little.

After months of information lockdown, Microsoft is ready to begin talking about the next version of Windows. The first bits of information come from the very top, with a new blog that was unveiled today on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). Given the location, it’s not surprising that its name is Engineering Windows 7 and that its focus will be on “the overall engineering aspects of building Windows 7.”

What is surprising is who is slated to host (and write) the new blog, which is due to remain up and running until Windows 7 ships. The co-authors are the Microsoft Senior VPs in charge of Windows 7: Steven Sinofsky, who runs the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, and Jon DeVaan, who’s in charge of the Windows Core Operating System Division. Their first post offers an explanation for the silence so far:

In leading up to this blog we have seen a lot of discussion in blogs about what Microsoft might be trying to accomplish by maintaining a little bit more control over the communication around Windows 7 (some might say that this is a significant understatement). We, as a team, definitely learned some lessons about “disclosure” and how we can all too easily get ahead of ourselves in talking about features before our understanding of them is solid. Our intent with Windows 7 and the pre-release communication is to make sure that we have a reasonable degree of confidence in what we talk about when we do talk. Again, top of mind for us is the responsibility we feel to make sure we are not stressing priorities, churning resource allocations, or causing strategic confusion among the tens of thousands of partners and customers who care deeply and have much invested in the evolution of Windows.

That's a pretty healthy helping of Microsopeak: I think "churning resource allocations" means something like "spinning our wheels," but I have to confess it's a new one for me. But there's no doubt what "make sure that we have a reasonable degree of confidence in what we talk about when we do talk" means.

Related to disclosure is the idea of how we make sure not to set expectations around the release that end up disappointing you—features that don’t make it, claims that don’t stick, or support we don’t provide. Starting from the first days of developing Windows 7, we have committed as a team to “promise and deliver”. That’s our goal—share with you what we’re going to get done, why we’re doing it, and deliver it with high quality and on time.

Oh, and comments are open, too. Those should be fun reading.

Sinofsky took over the Windows development effort nearly two and a half years ago, as Windows Vista was lurching to the finish line. Since then, he’s been tight-lipped (with the noteworthy exception of an interview with Ina Fried of CNET News back in May); instead, as that last paragraph emphasizes, he's been focused on the internal work of engineering Windows 7 so that it’s the anti-Vista: on time, feature complete, and stable. The fact that he’s willing to speak now (and promise to post "regularly" means, I suspect, that Windows 7 is about to hit a major milestone. The other announcement in that kickoff post confirms that this is the opening salvo in a publicity campaign that we’ll hear much more about this fall, beginning at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, to be held in Los Angeles October 26-30, and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, scheduled for the following week. (I've got my tickets and reservations for PDC already and might stick around for WinHEC as well.)

I wrote about the four Windows 7 sessions scheduled for PDC back in May. Since then, the number of listings on the PDC conference agenda page has doubled, but there’s been nothing new on the Windows 7 front. That should change soon, now that the boss is starting to speak out. Still, I expect mostly hints and small bits of technical detail in the run-up to PDC, where some lucky Softie is going to give one of the most closely watched demos in software history.Having covered the tortured path that "Longhorn" took on its way to becoming Windows Vista, I have to say this feels completely different. I fully expect to see the first public release of Windows 7 code shortly after PDC (if not at the show itself) and am anticipating a blizzard of activity as the New Year begins.

Update: Don't miss Mary Jo Foley's counterpoint: Sinofsky to dish on Windows 7? Wishful thinking.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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26 comments
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  • E7 blog is up and running

    It's up:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2008/08/14/welcome.aspx
    Arneh
    • Thanks

      I published the first draft of this post before the E7 blog was live. I've revised and expanded it significantly since then.
      Ed Bott
  • Freudian slip ;-)

    "The fact that he?s wiling to speak ..." ;-)
    Yes, wily types those M$oftie$!

    Much as I've criticised VISTA and M$ I do hope they get it right this time.
    jacksonjohn
    • editing posts

      [i][Also wish ZDNET had an 'edit post' feature so that I can correct my typos :-(][/i]

      They do. Upper right corner of your post.

      It's labeled, Edit Message.
      Badgered
      • Talk about in front of your nose! Thx.

        NT
        jacksonjohn
    • Fixed

      Thanks for the proofreading assist. I published an early draft of the post before the blog was live and have updated it since.

      Something tells me Mr. Sinofsky wouldn't mind anbd might even consider it a compliment if you called him "wily." ;)
      Ed Bott
      • Early Post

        Looks like Ed was the first to break the story.
        Mike Galos
  • Glad to see some progress here,.

    I'm hoping for MS to release a great product so I can upgrade from WindowsXP 32 bit to 64 bits - with FULL backwards compatibility using visualization.

    if they don't deliver, they're dead.
    Prognosticator
    • ?

      Do you mean virtualization?
      Tiggster
  • Likely meaning

    I think Mr. Sinofsky's promise is being made to Microsoft's partners and customers.

    He wrote:

    Again, top of mind for us is the responsibility we feel to make sure we are not stressing priorities, churning resource allocations, or causing strategic confusion among the tens of thousands of partners and customers who care deeply and have much invested in the evolution of Windows.

    [End quote]

    You observed:

    ... I think ???churning resource allocations??? means something like ???spinning our wheels,??? but I have to confess it???s a new one for me.

    [End quote]

    I think, He doesn't want to cause the partners and customers to put resources on one endeavour, only to have to move them to another as a result of a change Microsoft makes.
    Anton Philidor
  • RE: Sinofsky dishes on Windows 7

    Ed:

    FYI: You've still got an extra http// in the link to the blog.
    Mike Galos
    • Fixed, thanks (nt)

      ...
      Ed Bott
  • The Real-Life Schedule for Serious Productivity with Windows

    Now-to-2011: XP is reliable while Vista continues in what is the real-world equivalent of "public pre-alpha testing."

    Sometime about 2011: Vista becomes a serious productivity tool and Windows 7 is in "public pre-alpha testing."

    It will take about 3 more years for all the necessary fixes, tips, hacks, service packs, and workarounds to become available on the Web---before Vista can become a serious and reliable productivity tool. UNTIL THEN, I WOULD NOT TOUCH VISTA WITH A TEN FOOT POLE. I could buy Vista now and waste a ton of time getting some apps to work on it, but 5 months from now I might need to do something legacy that XP can do but not Vista. So I will just use XP---installing it on bare metal if and when a new PC is needed---for the next 2-3 years.

    While I enjoy top productivity with XP for a few more years, I am also grateful for the early Vista adopters who are out there slogging through all the arcane settings and miserable detailed problems.
    Utah Stan
    • You need to get out more

      Vista is a serious and reliable productivity tool now. But if XP works for you, hey, more power to ya.
      Ed Bott
    • Lost ball in the tall weeds....nt

      nt
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • Writing off Vista?

    So they're going to limp along with Vista in their OEM channel and start the Vaporware Follies on Windows 7 a full two years early. ROFL!
    Chad_z
    • You might want to do some research

      This is absolutely normal for Windows releases. XP was the exception, not the rule:

      http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=361
      Ed Bott
  • Personally, I don't care...

    If I had my wish, they would just keep XP Pro for sale. It would be great if they just made this version rock solid and forget about the glitz and glam of useless filler crapware that only saps you system resources for the purpose of "looking pretty". We'll see if Windows 7 will be worth even considering. Vista was a "HELL NO" right from the get go. For all those bashers out there: yes I did use a Vista system at work for several months and HATED IT! I had nothing but problems trying to get it to do the things our XP Pro systems did flawlessly and reliably.
    wolfsouls
  • Ed, Stay After it!

    I've been reading and researching on Windows 7 of late myself. Thanks all for the link by the way.

    As far as Vista as being a useful and productive tool, a viable operating system. I have to agree, it certainly is. Shaky at first, but since SP1 and the BS third party drivers improving drastically, it has become a powerhouse for me. Windows XP what?

    Yeah, I'm a fan of Microsoft, heck, Adobe, Symantec, and some others as well. Shucks, some may call me a shill -- So what?

    Vista just flat rocks, though I must say, that I never trusted Microsoft with my security, hence Symantec's EndPoint 11. Don't get me confused with Norton. Never did like that annual subscription crap, so that leave 95% of the antivirus and malware suites out of the picture.

    Will I be planning to upgrade to MS Windows Seven? Good question for me. Looking at my own personal history, yeah right when SP1 for it is released or when Adrian and Ed show me that there is no need to wait.

    I really enjoy Vista -- My machines, even my test boxes may be a couple of years old, they are far, far from bargain or budget computers. I am also a huge fan of x64 technology.

    Hey listen, you may find this interesting. My wife hates Vista so I ghosted her laptop and put Vista Home Premium (x64) on her machine without the Areo look. She loathes the XP theme so the "plain" Windows 2000 look if you will, she bought into it, hook line and sinker and thought that Vista is wonderful -- She's now changed her thoughts on Vista after working in it about two weeks.

    I was even asked that I can get rid of her image of XP. You betcha'!

    Now there's a real world test for Mohave!
    Kromaethius
  • You do understand...

    ...Windows 7 will *be* Vista, right? :)
    wolf_z