Something’s been bothering me…

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?

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2 Responses to “Something’s been bothering me…”

  1. Tonio Loewald Says:

    Windows 7 is an interesting gamble. Microsoft wants to avoid the Vista branding, but also want Vista customers to either pay an exorbitant upgrade fee or buy new PCs when their old PCs are running just fine (it’s not like a two year old PC is perceptibly inferior to today’s model for 90% of users).

    The theory that the XP upgrade process is atrocious precisely because Microsoft would prefer customers to buy a new PC is interesting. I guess it will probably work, but each customer will be one quantum more angry at Microsoft than they were before.

    There’s a lovely segment on a recent episode of 30 Rock where they’re brainstorming ideas to sell a buttload of microwaves really fast: one guy suggests making them bigger so burritos don’t get stuck on the turntable, and another suggests making them unreliable so people have to constantly replace them. Genius: let’s make bigger, flimsier microwaves. Liz Lemon of course points out this was what the auto industry did and is roundly abused.

    Microsoft is essentially burning goodwill to make quick sales.

  2. hazinf Says:

    Which is essentially a problem with the “Free Market”, but this isn’t a political blog. I hope.
    I never cease to be amazed by Microsoft’s strategies in upgrades. They have a suite of products that are widely used in the home and in the enterprise (and everywhere in between) but manage to come up with products that are a pain from an enterprise software management perspective, and frustrating for a home user.

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