Windows 7: The information lockdown continues

When is Microsoft finally going to start sharing information on Windows 7?

When is Microsoft finally going to start sharing information on Windows 7?

After all, if the Redmondians stick to their own oft-quoted ship target of 2010 for the operating system, that is just two years away. For developers two years isn't a whole lot of time when trying to make decisions about whether or not to build a new product that will be designed specifically to take advantage of new features and functionality in a new Windows release. And for IT managers struggling with deployment plans (as in deploy Vista now or wait two more years for Windows 7), that window on the next version of Windows isn't overly wide, either.

When Microsoft customers and partners were seeking information about Vista Service Pack (SP) 1, some Microsoft officials defended the company's new "translucency" (vs. transparency) policy. By sharing too much information that was subject to change, Microsoft wasn't doing its customers and partners any favors, the translucency backers argued. But not everyone on the Windows team thought the new rules were good for Microsoft's constituents. Microsoft needed to dial back its translucency hard-line, they said (privately -- since they didn't want to be seen bucking the powers-that-be).

It's been almost a year since Windows/Windows Live Engineering Chief Steven Sinofsky made the new information-sharing policy clear in a Microsoft-internal blog post (a full copy of which I'm running on the site for my Microsoft 2.0 book).

I'm hearing increasing dissatisfaction from Microsoft customers, testers and other sources typically in the insider track that Microsoft still hasn't shared any Windows 7 information. The silence is deafening -- and disconcerting -- they say. As was the case with Internet Explorer 8, the issue isn't whether Microsoft's Windows client team is sitting on its hands, doing nothing; instead, the worry is that Microsoft is moving full-steam-ahead to build a Windows 7 that won't have a whole lot of input from outsiders. After the compatibility and marketing nightmares that have plagued Vista, one would think Microsoft might be interested in letting its users have more sway on what they really want from a new version of Windows.

Do you need Windows 7 information from Microsoft beyond the ship-date target? If so, what do you need to know sooner rather than later?