The myth of the missing Vista features

The myth of the missing Vista features

Summary: One of the most common comments I see whenever I write about the Windows Vista schedule is some variation on the following theme: Microsoft “gutted

TOPICS: Windows

One of the most common comments I see whenever I write anything about the Windows Vista schedule is some variation on the following theme: Microsoft “gutted” Windows Vista (then known by its code-name Longhorn), so it will be nothing more than Windows XP Service Pack 3. They had to cut a long list of features, and it's still late.

Oh yeah? Next time you read that comment, ask the person who wrote or said it to list the features that were cut from Longhorn. Here, I’ll start the list:

  1. WinFS. The revolutionary object-oriented file system has been decoupled from the operating system and is now scheduled to be released as an add-on to both Windows Vista and Longhorn Server sometime after those products ship. WinFS should be available for beta testing in 2007. You can read more about it here.

OK, your turn.

Topic: Windows

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  • Vista is virtually a rewrite of Windows

    There is a huge amount of new and enhanced external features in Vista, and literally thousands new and enhanced internal features in Vista. Vista's development cost amounts to several billion dollars. Therefore Vista will be anything but a glorified Win XP service pack release.
    P. Douglas
    • Now, now...

      ...let's not let such pesky facts get in the way of a good Microsoft bashing. :)

      Carl Rapson
      • Sorry ... I don't know what I was thinking. (NT)

        P. Douglas
    • Microsoft will have all the old code (and security problems) for backwards

      compatibility ofapplications.

      And, there are so many lines of new code, that there will be even newer and better vulnerabilities to be hacked.

      It won't be much different than XP with all the things that MS has promised to backport.
      • Sounds like assumption to me

        Software compatibility in general comes through interfaces and behavior, not the raw code. Just because they're maintaining backwards compatibility does not mean that all the old flaws will be there. Why is it that MS can issue a hundred security patches without breaking most of the software that runs on Windows?

        The only reason to keep security holes for the sake of compatibility is if legitimate software uses some behavior that creates the flaw.

        Windows has long had a massive API (the "I" being the most important initial for this discussion--Interface). You can change the implementation while keeping the same interface. So long as the expected, documented behavior is the same, the software that uses it won't know the difference in most cases. If there's a security flaw that's not part of the expected, documented behavior, then it can be fixed without affecting most applications. I say in most cases because the software industry has had a history where some software always uses undocumented features of system APIs (ie. the source code makes the feature apparent, but the officially sanctioned documentation does not talk about it), or the developers used programming methods discouraged by the API manufacturer, which later break due to a change in the API.

        Further, MS has long used what are called "shims" to keep unorthodox but popular software compatible. Windows detects that you're running a particular application, and it will adjust the system implementation that the software sees, so that it runs without breaking.

        In some cases they've used emulation/virtualization. For example, if you run a 16-bit Windows app. on XP, it doesn't run on the existing Windows kernel. Windows runs it in a 16-bit emulator.

        There's a saying in the software world: "Every problem can be solved by an additional layer of abstraction".
        Mark Miller
  • Reminds me of what everyone said when XP was released

    ...that it was just "Windows 98 with a cartoon GUI slapped on top of it".
    • Well,...

      I'm not really knocking it, but the default colors on the window title bars [b]did[/b] look a bit "Fisher-Price" like. A lot of my Windows-using co-workers and relatives went with the Silver or Classic looks.
      Tony Agudo
    • Well, XP took more resource, made Computers run slower, wan NOT more secure

      So mayby the statement is somewhat accurate. I never upgraded to XP, I switched to Linux. I still have an old AMD 400 MHz with 256M faithfully running Win98. It just keeps going and going.
      • You completely missed the point

        ...but that's seem to be a running theme for you.
      • well, dont talk then.

        If you didnt upgrade to xp, you really have no basis for comparing then, have you ?

        I used 98se, and had to do a reinstall every 3 months.

        I switched to XP on the same machine (which runs on 128 mb RAM) and its smooth, and I havent had to do a reinstall for 6 months now, not even a system restore. (yes, I switched to xp just 6 months back)
  • a few to add...

    Next-Generation Secure Computing Base
    Extensible Firmware Interface

    A few from Paul Thurrott....
    "There are so many more examples. But these two, WinFS and virtual folders, are the most dramatic and obvious. Someday, it might be interesting--or depressing, at least--to create a list of features Microsoft promised for Windows Vista, but reneged on. Here are a few tantalizing examples: A real Sidebar that would house system-wide notifications, negating the need for the horribly-abused tray notification area. 10-foot UIs for Sidebar, Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, and other components, that would let users access these features with a remote control like Media Center. True support for RAW image files include image editing. The list just goes on and on"
    • And don't forget about...

      native RSA SecureID support. They recently said it was shelved after two years of working on it.
      Tony Agudo
      • Forgot to post a link...

        proving it:
        Tony Agudo
    • Monad cut?

      Uh, you might want to make note that Monad is in RC1 now and will ship in August under the official name PowerShell.
      Ed Bott
      • Yea, it is in, but won't be anything like what they advertised.

        So, just because it is "in" does not tell the whole story.
        • Please elaborate

          What features of it have been cut out that were promised?
      • powershell

        thats good news for admins, now they can really learn the benefits know to Unix admins for years
        • I doubt it

          I think in the beggining, most Windows admins will not know what to do with powershell, nor will they care to learn. I think it will be a handy tool for the minority of us Windows admins who already use UNIX and use the cmd enviroment in Windows.

          Right now, the existing cmd enviroment is semi-sufficient with the help of a few of the Windows ported gnu tools like sed, grep and awk, but overall it's kind of hokey. It'll be nice to have a real shell to work with in Windows.
          • re: I doubt it

            Yes, you are probably right
    • And, don't forget, many of the features that do make it will be stripped.

      So, even though MS can say that a feature is making it into Vista, it may be stripped down and not of much use.