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

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.

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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

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44 comments
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  • Five-year plan

    [i]Let that be a lesson for those who believe that Microsoft, in Borg-like fashion, ruthlessly coordinates its activities.[/i]

    Of course they do. That doesn't mean that they don't change the long-range plan, though. Or even that they don't change it frequently.

    As always, Hanlon's Razor applies.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Considering Ballmer is jealous of Oracle I wouldn't put anything past M$$

      Poor Stevie - guess even 'Gods' get jealous!

      http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article2568492.ece

      Be sure to copy both lines and paste since ZDNet butchers links.
      nomoremicrosoft
      • I guess thats why Larry Ellison said he would

        trade places with Gates or Ballemr in a heartbeat and only dreams of having their marketing power.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Eh, there's a difference

          between marketing power and having loads of cash. Their marketing is
          anemic at best, they don't understand marketing. Now, cash, that they
          understand, and are willing to throw as much at a project, doomed or
          not, that they can muster.
          Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
  • Like a fine wine, Windows will evolve over time...

    My rep and I went to a very formal wine and cheese tasting event today at a VERY expensive hotel in Seattle. I was invited as part of the local CIO Symposium. My rep and I started talking about next generation Windows (Windows NG to those of us in the KNOW) and we both agreed that although Vista was perfect, the next version of Windows will be even more perfect. At the very moment new Windows features are released, I will COMMAND my MCSEs to deploy and "deploy without prejudice" to all servers and workstations in our environment. My reasoning is simple: given everything Microsoft releases is perfect, how can I afford not to be perfect? With that, my rep and I tasted a very sharp cheddar and toasted to Windows NG, whatever, whenever and wherever it is.
    Mike Cox
    • Poor pairing

      [i]With that, my rep and I tasted a very sharp cheddar and toasted to Windows NG, whatever, whenever and wherever it is.[/i]

      Mike, Mike -- it should have been a Czech white.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • It already has... into VINEGAR!

      Mikey... time for your meds!
      Mike Cox, Sr.
    • 9.7

      Love the "perfect" "even more perfect" lines.
      BanjoPaterson
      • sub 9.7

        It may be a 9.7 on the Mike Cox-O-meter but definitely sub par on the troll-O-meter. Failed to even get a nibble this time.
        burtoni
    • Improving on perfection

      Is not considered good taste where
      everything is perfect.

      A certain guy and his comrades got thrown
      out of the perfect place. You might want to
      consider the consequences before tossing off
      that last toast, Mikey.

      I refer you to your elder, Sr.
      Ole Man
  • out-of-band

    What is the likelihood that the out-of-band release was/is Windows Home Server?
    HobbesPDX
    • Slim to None...

      WHS is an entirely different beast. It's a SERVER OS, not a workstation OS.
      Wolfie2K3
  • RE: What's coming with Windows? Even the insiders aren't sure...

    I don't know whats more worrying, ruthless coordination in a Borg like fashion, or groups of developers sitting round saying "so what the hell do we do now?".

    The "lipstick on a pig" plan that is Vista didn't work and Microsoft's research branch (Apple) hasn't released many new developments they can copy - lol
    BobF_z
  • Microsoft is a dysfunctional organization

    I've worked with Microsoft programmers and people. For the most part they're competent and personable. Some of them appear stressed out beyond what their work load would warrant, but that's hardly unique in the industry.

    The problems at Microsoft are rarely staff level. It's MS management that's broken, and that flows from the very top. And until upper management changes, they will continue to be a dysfunctional organization producing second-rate, over-priced product with bloated feature sets and ever more bizarre licensing requirements.
    Chad_z
    • Sales and Mktg are quite functional, thank you ...

      While the Product and Development organizations may have their problems, the Sales and Marketing juggernauts roll on. Microsoft has done an excellent job at maintaining their dominance in the market, no matter how well the product performs ...
      terry flores
    • By what metric do you say that? Your opinoin???

      Because by any real world metric they are kicking *ss and taking names.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • This is a forum...

        precisely the place to air opinions. One shared by many, as far as his description of the product goes. Having the greatest market share doesn't mean the best product (Beta vs. VHS being one of the prime examples). Windows has mostly been just good enough, not great. And that works for most people. But that is hardly reason to sing the company's praises. Especially when the OS is a kludge of old and new functionality, with a tendency to break far too easily and often.
        mds_z
        • And even opinion needs some basis.

          He made an outlandish claim and I questioned what he bases it on. If its nothing more than his desire to be a MS basher...
          No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Beta Sucked...

          1 hour tape length v 2 hour VHS
          video quality was almost identical, some cases VHS was better.
          BetaMax was cheaper than VHS, and this is BECAUSE IT SUCKED. look up your facts.
          Dat was a crappy format. That's why c90 won out. Dat wasn't guaranteed to work everywhere, and it lost. It's the same reason windows wins. Options. Everything works with windows. No other operating system can say that. Linux works with things IF YOU FIND THINGS FOR IT. Apple doesn't work with squat. Need to run windows programs? you can do that on an apple by RUNNING WINDOWS. need to run apple programs? get the windows edition. It's cheaper anyway, and probably better supported.
          evilkillerwhale@...
          • How much nonsense can you fit in one post?

            >1 hour tape length v 2 hour VHS

            VHS used a slower tape speed (which reduced quality) and a bigger cassette ( to hold more tape) to get 2 hours per tape, there's nothing magical about the VHS format itself that made that possible.

            >video quality was almost identical
            This claim is so brain-dead stupid I'm not even gonna bother refuting it.

            >BetaMax was cheaper than VHS,
            BZZZT Wrong, sorry, please try again. More proof that you've not the slightest clue what you're talking about.


            >and this is BECAUSE IT SUCKED.
            >look up your facts

            Fact: Beta had less noise, less crosstalk, less signal degredation over time, and was more mechanically reliable.
            VHS succeeded it was cheaper and had a wider selection of programming available when the prices dropped sufficiently to allow mainstream sales. That's it.

            >Dat was a crappy format. That's why c90 won out.

            Dude, C90 didn't "win out" over DAT, it had been around long before DAT. CDs is what did in DAT. Go back to Planet Clueless.
            bmerc