A (Microsoft) code name a day: Fiji

In Week 2 of my "Microsoft code name a day" series, I'll be looking at some of Redmond's "vista-themed" code names, starting with "Fiji."

Even though more and more teams at Microsoft seem to be shying away from christening their fledgling products with good, old-fashioned code names – favoring the ever-so-boring “V.Next” designation instead -- there are still some who are doing so.

Microsoft code names always have piqued my interest. They offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint.

code name
of the day:

In honor of Microsoft code-name junkies everywhere, I’m going to feature one, random Microsoft code name per work day for the rest of this month. I’ll provide as much information as I’ve been able to unearth on each, and attempt to provide some context as to how the team chose the name and how the forthcoming technology fits into the Redmond product hierarchy.

Microsoft code name of the day: Fiji

Best guess on what it is: Fiji is "the next version of Windows" following Windows Vista and preceeding Windows "Vienna" (the version of Windows formerly code-named "Blackcomb"). Some people say Fiji will take the form of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1. Others believe it will be a full-fledged, but relatively minor, Windows release -- more of a Vista R2. Microsoft won't comment publicly on the code name at all.

Meaning/context of the code name: Fiji, like a number of the code names I'm planning to feature this week, is part of Microsoft's vista (with a lower-case V) series. When Microsoft officials acknowledged the decision to change the Windows Blackcomb name to Windows Vienna, they said to expect other products to be part of the "beautiful vistas" line. Some of the "vistas" are cities; others seem to be countries.

Back story: For the past few years, Microsoft's plan of record has been to release a new version of Windows client and a new version of Windows Server every two years. The thinking in Redmond: Stagger releases of more minor, interim (R2-style) updates with major, full-fledged ones. If the new Windows development organization under Steven Sinofsky sticks with this plan, Fiji should be out around 2008. If Fiji is simply the code name for Windows Vista SP1, it should be out by the end of 2007, right around the same time as Longhorn Server.

Additional info: Fiji raises an interesting question: What counts as an operating system? Going forward, will service packs/roll-ups count, in Microsoft's, partners' and customers' eyes, as new versions of products? (That's what Windows XP Service Pack 2 was, after all.) Or will Microsoft try to get company watchers to consider SPs the equivalent of new Os releases, in order to appear to be more agile in its development? Stay tuned.

Anyone have any other details on Fiji to share? Or have another Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page.