Print 79 comment(s) - last by myhipsi.. on Aug 18 at 11:36 AM

Windows learns a thing or two from the world of blogging

As part of Microsoft’s efforts to promote its Windows projects, the Windows team is launching a new initiative -- a blog to promote its new upcoming Windows 7 operating system.  The new blog is titled Engineering Windows 7 and the first post went online August 14 at about 5 PM.  The blog is going to provide exclusive insight from Microsoft's development team about the progress of the OS.

The first blog, unsurprisingly, comes from Windows senior vice presidents Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky.  The pair has already stated that official engineering details will not be fully discussed until October 27 at the Professional Developers' Conference in Los Angeles.  However, they hope to drop a few hints in the blog, along with getting feedback from what people hope to see with Windows 7.

The pair writes:

The audience of enthusiasts, bloggers, and those that are the most passionate about Windows represent the folks we are dedicating this blog to. With this blog we’re opening up a two-way discussion about how we are making Windows 7. Windows has all the challenges of every large scale software project—picking features, designing them, developing them, and delivering them with high quality. Windows has an added challenge of doing so for an extraordinarily diverse set of customers. As a team and as individuals on the team we continue to be humbled by this responsibility.

They also announced that the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, a week after the Professional Developers' Conference, will feature more technical details on Windows 7.  Interestingly the team seemed to allude to the hype and moderate disappointment surrounding Windows Vista, stating, "We, as a team, definitely learned some lessons about “disclosure” and how we can all too easily get ahead of ourselves in talking about features before our understanding of them is solid. Our intent with Windows 7 and the pre-release communication is to make sure that we have a reasonable degree of confidence in what we talk about when we do talk."

Mr. Sinofsky and Mr. DeVaan believe revealing too many tentative technical hardware details too early can be very detrimental.  Not only does it waste resources, they say, but it also confuses partners.  This argument seems slightly more logical when you consider that Microsoft has to work with over 10,000 hardware partners, each with unique needs.

Both say they will post "regularly" to the blog, to provide behind the scenes info.  They also promise to try to respond to selected user comments.  Mr. Sinofsky encourages readers to send him emails to his corporate email suggesting topics and suggestions for Windows 7.

While blogging is no means new in the Microsoft community, the new Windows 7 blog seems to represent a more concerted effort to use a public dialog to help it create its new OS.  With the blog expected to run through 2009 when the OS is scheduled to release, it should be interesting to see what tidbits of information it offers.

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RE: Not really bothered
By TomZ on 8/15/2008 11:04:40 AM , Rating: 5
Completely bogus logic and conclusions, because you are assuming that Windows 7 will have lower hardware requirements, which it won't.

RE: Not really bothered
By taylormg on 8/15/2008 11:11:37 AM , Rating: 2
What I am saying is that Vista is good for the home but not for Business, but Windows 7 will be good for both. I am not assuming anything, simple stating that Windows 7 should be able to work in both enviroments like XP can.

RE: Not really bothered
By TomZ on 8/15/2008 11:23:37 AM , Rating: 5
Again, I disagree. Windows 7 will not be used by businesses early on for the same reasons that Vista, and XP before it, were not when they were first released.

One reason is having all their hardware up to a level that is supported/efficient/productive to support the new OS.

Another reason is that new OS versions do not typically have highly compelling feature sets that make it a high priority for most businesses (business case).

And finally, IT staff needs a lot of time to perform compatibility testing, and to typically upgrade apps or wait for their vendors to do the same.

All of these reasons (and probably more), make it such that most companies are on the 'n-1' upgrade system, meaning that they are typically always running the previous generation of OS.

RE: Not really bothered
By overzealot on 8/15/2008 12:29:06 PM , Rating: 2
Or lower, if they can't afford to replace all aging hardware or don't want to retrain, ever. Or if it just works well enough
NT4 is still around in business, and will be until PS2 peripherals are phased out.

RE: Not really bothered
By Steve Guilliot on 8/15/2008 10:29:49 PM , Rating: 3
You're all looking at this wrong. Businesses don't roll out new OSs. They roll out new PC's on a revolving replacement schedule. The OS comes with the PC, not the other way around.

As long as Vista doesn't have any glaring compatibility problems with a business' IT infrastructure (or a user insists on XP, which does happen), it will be used on new PC's as they are purchased. Businesses won't upgrade old systems to Vista for the same reason they won't ever upgrade the OS without a compelling reason. IT pros aren't looking to make their jobs more difficult.

At least that's been my experience.

RE: Not really bothered
By Jimbo1234 on 8/15/2008 1:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. Our IT department is rolling out Vista machines with this round of hardware upgrades. Vista64 that is. For any business that needs >4GB RAM Vista64 is the way to go. XP64 is dead, long live Vista64.

And what businesses need machines with >4GB? Ask any with an engineering or graphics department and they're running at least that. CAD / Graphics workstations have plenty of horsepower to run any OS.

Our non engineering machines are lower end Vista64 machines. Why does the secretary's computer need to be that powerful? To keep things more homogenous, aka the fewer differences in machine types, the easier the management. Oh, and the number crunchers our scientists use are beefy machines too.

RE: Not really bothered
By rudolphna on 8/15/2008 11:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
supposedly, windows 7 WILL have lower hardware requirements... Or at least wont use nearly as much RAM at idle as vista does. When you think about it, the actual "requirements" arent that bad (800mhz, 512etc) If they could just make it so that those would be feasible to actually run.....

RE: Not really bothered
By TomZ on 8/15/2008 11:35:44 AM , Rating: 4

In fact, one of our design goals for Windows 7 is that it will run on the recommended hardware we specified for Windows Vista and that the applications and devices that work with Windows Vista will be compatible with Windows 7.

RE: Not really bothered
By Spuke on 8/15/2008 12:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
Unless they drop in WinFS, I'll wait till there's no support for XP then switch.

RE: Not really bothered
By omnicronx on 8/15/2008 2:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 will not be released with WinFS, Microsoft has hinted that they may release a subscription based version with WinFS, but that is still up in the air.

RE: Not really bothered
By Klober on 8/15/2008 2:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting considering a DailyTech article that was posted the same day as your blog reference. From the article located at it is stated:
He [Steven Sinofsky] says that Windows 7's kernel will be an evolution of the leaner kernel from Windows Server 2008, which in turn was an evolution over the Windows Vista kernel.

To me this alludes to an even leaner kernel than Server 08 has, which is a leaner kernel than Vista has, and which in turn should equate to (theoretically) better performance on the same hardware than Vista currently shows.

Just another reference to throw in the mix to inspire further discussion. :P

RE: Not really bothered
By TomZ on 8/15/2008 2:30:08 PM , Rating: 5
That's interesting. Here what Sinofsky said:

The key there is that the kernel in Windows Server 08 is an evolution of the kernel in Windows Vista, and then Windows 7 will be a further evolution of that kernel as well.

And here is what Jason Mick wrote in his article:

He says that Windows 7's kernel will be an evolution of the leaner kernel from Windows Server 2008, which in turn was an evolution over the Windows Vista kernel. (emphasis mine)

So, I guess Jason is probably the one who thinks that these kernels have become "leaner," since Sinofsky didn't say that.

RE: Not really bothered
By Klober on 8/15/2008 3:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
Good call, I just skimmed through the cnet article looking for the info, and when I found it I guess I didn't read thoroughly enough to see the absence of "leaner". I should have known better. :)

RE: Not really bothered
By 306maxi on 8/15/2008 12:15:54 PM , Rating: 5
Oh god. Not another one of these posts. Vista will use lots of RAM @ idle because this is a good thing. When I first ran Vista I was running it of 512mb of RAM and it would typically use about 400mb @ idle. Then I got a PC with 2gb of RAM and typically it would use about a gig of memory @ idle. Got another 2gb of RAM the other day and suddenly Vista uses about 2gb of memory. You may be thinking wtf???? But Vista uses superfetch which caches commonly used programs in the RAM so that they launch quicker and by god it does work well. When you launch an app like a game Vista clears the cache of all unnecessary files and your RAM is free for the game.

RE: Not really bothered
By KingViper on 8/15/2008 1:02:12 PM , Rating: 4
Won't use as much ram at idle? Do you even know why it does that? Vista was optimized to use as much of your memory as it could at all times. Why only use 10% of your memory at certain times? It's a waste of having all that memory. Vista was created to use your memory for its intended purpose, to speed things up.

RE: Not really bothered
By Jimbo1234 on 8/15/2008 1:51:31 PM , Rating: 4
And does that ever work well. Autodesk Inventor fires up in 12 seconds instead of 40.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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