I’ve heard a lot of people recently refer to Windows 7 as a service pack for Vista. I didn’t really think this fair, particularly as the same criticism is often made of Mac OSX releases. However, after using it for some time (only because I get paid to, not for fun or anything), I’m starting to come around to this idea.
Without going into the whole Mac OSX release schedule, and what counts as an upgrade and what is a service pack, I’m beginning to realise that, at least with respect to the UI, Windows 7 is not really much different from Vista. It has the same version of the Start Menu and task bar, it has Aero, has a few extra interface features (Shake a window to hide others? Who is actually going to be able to do that reliably enough to use it?), and otherwise, looks just like Vista. So, is it just “Vista done right”?
I’m not convinced there, either. Vista’s chief problems seemed to be the change in the security model, with the Windows Firewall, and particularly UAC. Maybe I’m looking at it from too much of an enterprise perspective, but that is where I use Windows, in a large enterprise, and part of my job is doing the sort of thing UAC tries to stop, without UAC trying to stop it. Vista’s security model was a significant factor in our organisation not upgrading. (The others were a lack of funding, and the fact that everyone else was avoiding it.) It was just going to be too much effort to bypass all of the bits and pieces we needed to so that we could install software and/or hardware without bothering our users. So we made a decision to wait for the next version.
This is quite different to our move to XP. That started out as a plan to move to Windows 2000, and a lot of work was done to prepare for that. When it was changed to XP, most of the work was already done, the only difference was the client operating system.
The problem is that we abandoned all the work (which was not much) that had been done on Vista before Windows 7 was available (because of the funding problems), so we hadn’t been able to work out many of the issues prior to our current plans for Windows 7. (And, now we’re rushing through it for a number of reasons, including the fact that our OS has fallen significantly behind our hardware.)
In any case, my point, and I do mean to get back to it, is that Windows 7 might actually be a service pack release for Vista, but I don’t think it counts as Vista “done right”. At least not from an enterprise perspective, and shouldn’t Microsoft be more concerned about their enterprise clients? Especially if they’re going to give us 7 different versions of Windows including Business and Enterprise?