today announced that
it was preparing to deliver Service Pack 1 for its tremendously
popular new operating system, Windows 7, and its
business-minded server operating system, Windows Server 2008
R2.Service packs provide Microsoft with the opportunity to
package together bug fixes and security fixes (which have typically
been previously delivered piece-wise to consumers over Windows
Update). They also provide a place for Microsoft to deliver new
content. As Microsoft's retail releases come less frequently
than those of its chief competitor Apple, Service Packs are crucial
to Microsoft's OSs having a healthy lifecycle.Among the
highest profile updates expected for Windows 7 SP1 is the inclusion
3.0 support. Many manufacturers are already stepping up to
the plate and delivering USB 3.0 capable motherboards. For
Windows Server 2008 R2, the big news is the inclusion of two
important virtualization technologies: Dynamic Memory and Remote FX.
Dynamic Memory enhances Microsoft's Hyper-V, allowing it to monitor
the memory usage of all the virtual machines running on the host.
The Hyper-V pools all the physically available memory and then
divvies it up as necessary. This should help prevent memory
shortages on busy virtual machines and avoid wasting resources on
underutilized VMs, all at a minimum administrative expense.The
other technology, Remote FX is used to deliver richer graphics to
virtual machines. It runs on both thick and thin client hosts.
According to Microsoft, it supports "any" screen content,
including Silverlight or Flash.Windows 7 and Windows Server
2008 R2 share a common code base, so the simultaneous service pack
release makes sense. As to when the release might land, you can
look at the history of Windows Vista for clues. Windows Vista's
first service pack was announced at a similar time -- approximately
five months after the operating system's release. It end up
being released in beta form in September '07, in RC form in December,
and in finalized form in mid-March. If Windows 7 and Windows
Server 2008 R2 follow a similar release pattern, the beta could come
as early as May, the RC would likely arrive in August, and the final
build would air in November.Interestingly, Windows 7 and it
server brethren have been so well received that the service pack may
not be as important. A recent
survey by Dimensional Research revealed that 46 percent of
information technology administrators said they would not wait
until SP1's release to install Windows 7. That's a surprising
number, considering admins usually wait until a Windows OS hits SP1.
It's certainly a testimony to the new faith in Windows 7, both in the
public and the tech community.
quote: Heck my company still has software dependent on IE7 that are commonly used around the world. (Microstrategy for one only works on IE7 or less, while Windows 7 ships with 8).