Windows

Prediction: Microsoft will leapfrog Vista, release Windows 7 early, and change its OS business

Windows Vista is not being deployed by enterprise IT departments, who claim that Vista offers minimal benefits for upgrading and a lot of pain. My prediction is that Microsoft will look for a Vista exit strategy that will include an early release of Windows 7 and a new approach to how it handles operating systems.

Microsoft is nothing if not responsive to its customers. In fact, it's hyper-responsive. That's why we've ended up with feature-bloat in both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office as the company has tried to please everyone by including everything-but-the-kitchen-sink in its software.

And that's why Microsoft will ultimately try to quell the embarrassing Windows Vista debacle by making a bold move with Windows 7 to win back customer loyalty and generate positive spin for its most important product.

What will happen next?

My prognosis is that Microsoft will use smoke and mirrors to conjure up an early release of Windows 7, the next edition of the world's most widely-used operating system. Then they will quietly and unofficially allow IT departments to migrate straight from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has already alluded to this and IT departments have certainly welcomed that idea, since most of them have found very few reasons to migrate to Vista -- although my colleague John Sheesley recently argued the devil's advocate position for IT departments to adopt Vista.

To be clear, I am not predicting that Microsoft will do a quick-and-massive overhaul of Windows Vista in the next 12 months. Instead, I think we'll see Microsoft do the following:

  • Strip out or minimize some of Windows Vista's clunkiest features -- especially User Account Control
  • Simplify the interface back to something closer to Windows XP
  • Reduce backward compatibility in order to streamline the code base
  • Work much harder with vendors to ensure driver and software compatibility with new hardware and applications
  • Reduce the cost of Windows in retail boxes in order to generate goodwill and undercut Mac OS X (meanwhile, this will have little effect on the price of enterprise licensing, which is already much cheaper than retail)
  • Learn from the long delay of Windows Vista and move to an incremental release model with a subscription and at least one major update per year. Financially, most IT departments are already on a subscription plan. Now look for Microsoft to move consumers in this direction.
  • Release Windows 7 by the end of 2009 and market it as the simplest and easiest Windows ever

This will be Windows Vista Service Pack 2 but with a new Windows name, a new marketing campaign, and a new release model. Naturally, Microsoft won't fool many IT departments or hard core techies with this type of move, but it doesn't have to.

If Microsoft does it right, this will create a general sense that it "fixed" Windows and will create an OS that is more modular and more versatile so that it can thrive on more types of devices, from things like the Eee PC and the HP 2133 Mini-Note to high-end laptops and desktops.

If you want evidence to support this theory, look no further than the circumstances that created and led to the evolution of Windows XP, which currently dominates about 80% of computers.

Remember the circumstances surrounding Windows XP?

Windows 2000 was supposed to be the version of Windows that unified the two code bases: Windows NT and Windows 9x. It was named Windows 2000 so that it would be seen as the obvious successor to Windows 98, which was much more widely deployed than Windows NT 4.0, the code base that made up the foundation of Windows 2000. However, as deadlines were missed and features had to be dumped, the concept of codebase unification was one of the casualties.

That left Microsoft with Windows 2000 Professional as the clear successor to Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, while Windows 98 still enjoyed a far larger installed base and thus most of the hardware and software vendors tailored their solutions to that OS. Windows 2000 Pro was not widely adopted, despite the fact that it may have been one of the highest quality client OS releases that Microsoft has ever done.

Microsoft's update to Windows 98 was called Windows Me, and it had an ever lower adoption rate than Windows 2000. Users, businesses, and IT departments simply were not interested in either of these two operating systems. They stuck to their guns and stayed with Windows 98 in large numbers. Is any of this sounding familiar?

As a result, Microsoft sped up the next release of Windows 2000 and re-focused it on unifying the two codebases. The result was Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional. Despite a lot of initial concerns about Product Activation (which was introduced with Windows XP), the OS itself satisfied users and IT departments enough that it became a natural choice to upgrade when it came time to replace hardware.

One of the primary motivators for naming Windows XP -- the "XP" stood for "eXPerience" -- was to get away from the year designations (Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows 2000) and create a product that would be upgraded incrementally and purchased via subscription. So, the idea of creating an operating system that would rely on incremental releases rather than a shiny new box every 3-4 years is definitely not new for Microsoft.

The first problem with that was that while Microsoft was talking about that ideological shift during the release of Windows XP, there was already a group of developers working on the next major release of Windows (it was code-named "Longhorn" back then and eventually became Vista). The status quo executives inside Microsoft decided that they wanted to keep doing standard OS releases because there was too much money at stake to change the business model too rapidly.

However, with its Software Assurance program, which as launched in 2002 (the same year as XP), Microsoft bundled OS and application licensing with customer support to create a new volume licensing program that is based on a subscription model. That was the first step in changing the business model, so that it can change the development and upgrade model for Windows.

The next big -- and potentially more challenging step -- will be to convert consumers and small businesses to Windows subscription customers. This could eventually involve advertising, in which users could get Windows for free or at a reduced cost if they allow part of their Windows screen to be used for targeted advertising. Of course, you could pay a higher fee and get no advertising.

Whatever Microsoft does in terms of the Windows business model, it's clear that the company must simplify Windows and change the development model to feature incremental releases of the OS rather than huge new versions that break existing applications and are incompatible with the current hardware. Consumers and IT departments are simply no longer willing to accept that.

Can Microsoft change Windows quickly enough?

Microsoft knows it needs to change Windows drastically and quickly. It's known since before it even released Vista.

In a January 7, 2004 e-mail, the chief of the Microsoft Windows team, Jim Allchin wrote to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer:

"I am not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers (both business and home) the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems [our] customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that doesn't translate into great products. I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft... Apple did not lose their way... They think scenario. They think simple. They think fast."

On September 23, 2005, The Wall Street Journal reported:

Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft Corp. executive, walked into Bill Gates's office here one day in July last year to deliver a bombshell about the next generation of Microsoft Windows.

"It's not going to work," Mr. Allchin says he told the Microsoft chairman. The new version, code-named Longhorn, was so complex its writers would never be able to make it run properly.

The news got even worse: Longhorn was irredeemable because Microsoft engineers were building it just as they had always built software. Throughout its history, Microsoft had let thousands of programmers each produce their own piece of computer code, then stitched it together into one sprawling program. Now, Mr. Allchin argued, the jig was up. Microsoft needed to start over.

We don't know the extent to which Microsoft changed Longhorn/Vista or the development process. We do know that it went ahead and released Windows Vista in January 2007, and that the response to it has been famously lackluster. Many users have been confused and frustrated by it. A lot of powerful machines run much slower with Vista than XP. IT departments have avoided it like the plague.

Microsoft executives have continued to point to strong sales of Windows Vista, but those are mostly driven by new computers that have Vista installed automatically and enterprises that are paying for Vista licenses as part of Software Assurance but are not deploying it.

I have no doubt that Microsoft execs are privately seething over the public condemnation of Vista, and they are looking for ways to right the ship. Never forget that this is Microsoft's most important product.

If you doubt Microsoft's ability to move quickly, look at its response to the security crisis it faced in 2000-2002, when Windows was repeatedly targeted for viruses, worms, and malware. Bill Gates announced the Trusted Computing initiative in early 2002. In August 2004, Microsoft launched Windows XP Service Pack 2, which hardened Windows and inspired enough confidence for IT departments to standardize on Windows XP in large numbers.

Microsoft developers are ready

I was on the Microsoft campus in the fall of 2005, and I got a vibe from the Windows development team that really surprised me. They were not very happy with the direction of Longhorn or the team's leadership. They seemed to think that it was time to blow up Windows and start over with something stronger and simpler.

Obviously, they didn't get their wish. At the time, they probably didn't realize that Jim Allchin would have preferred to do the same thing. Now, it's very doubtful that they will get the opportunity to start from scratch with Windows 7, but at this point, I think it is very likely that they will get the opportunity to simplify and streamline Windows. While the leaders of Microsoft didn't see that as a necessity or an option when they got Jim Allchin's warning flares a couple years ago, I bet the market's rejection of Windows Vista is proving to be a much more powerful motivator.

Bottom line for IT leaders

It's unlikely that Microsoft is sitting on its hands and waiting for IT departments to start rolling out Windows Vista, or for users to start liking it and creating a demand for it. The jury has ruled on Vista, and it is largely a dud because it offers too few improvements from Windows XP and it actually runs slower on the same hardware in many cases.

Look for Microsoft to make some bold moves with the OS, including a new incremental development model and potentially a subscription business model for consumers. Also, look for the Microsoft marketing machine to launch a "new" version -- Windows 7 (which will actually be more like Windows Vista Service Pack 2) -- that will be faster, simpler, and perhaps  released in 2009.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

446 comments
dgwin
dgwin

Windows 3.0, 95, 98 and XP were all good OSs. But there was a lot of junk in between. XP is working good for me and I'm having no problems. But like all of the other versions before that worked fine for me, I'm forced to buy something new. Whether its standard on a new PC or I no longer have support, I know I'll have to upgrade. I'm just hoping the "junk" will be gone and Windows 7 will be the next good OS. I've got an idea... market the next version like buying an automobile. You have a few model levels to start from and then you can add your options. That makes sense to me... start from the version I'll most likely use and then I can go to MS and add what options I want. Sounds better than having to buy a lot of features I don't need. Sure, you can basically do the same thing with Vista... or can you?

melekali
melekali

There's no way Redmond will rush 7 out to "cut it's losses" with Vista. No. I predict they will delay 7 for an extra 1-2 years and force Vista on everyone simply by its availability. If the general populace can use it and its pretty, they will love it. There's no way MS is going to take those losses after all that work. One thing you have right is Microsoft always listens to their users (after the fact in many cases) which is why SP1 sped up Vista and why they ditched the stupid they had originally packaged with it. Windows 7 will probably come out in 2011 or later.

dbecker
dbecker

One of the advantages of Amazon.com is the reviews there. The review of MS Office 2007 is revealing. It turns out that not only does Word destroy .doc files with no hope of recovery, but Excel doesn't add up the numbers right -- under some circumstances -- circumstances, by the way, which would be quite disastrous for large business enterprises, particularly those handling stockholder money. Not to worry. There's a patch for it. Not that it is necessarily in a service pack. And the other problems don't seem to be fixed either. That's the problem with gaining a reputation: No one expects the product to go south in the worst way, and when it does, people keep right on getting the new versions, not willing to give up on denial and hoping that things will get better. How much worse does it have to get before people start looking for alternatives?

OneTwoMany
OneTwoMany

In a perfect world (that somehow still uses Microsoft Products) the predictions in this article would be realistic. Microsoft has never learned from their "see how many Beta products we can push on consumers for a premium price" mentality before. What makes this any different? I haven't had a problem with Vista except for the price. I didn't pay the Ultimate Price (literally speaking only) but it's all soaking up hard drive space HOPING that I will. Now I'm going to have to pay again to upgrade to 7 when XP was working just fine? And now they will try to get me to subscribe (if the prediction comes true)? Hell no! The ONLY way I'd pay for a subscription to MS is if they offer 24/7 telephone support along with it at no extra charge. Bloody unlikely. Granted, my computing needs are more transparent and less complicated than most peoples. But it's time I stopped complaining about MS yet still put money in their pockets and do something about it. Time to give up my glorified gaming rig for a real computer (Apple) and buy an XBOX if I insist on playing MS games in the future. Since games were the ONLY reason I bought a PC to begin with...

arnaldo
arnaldo

The way things are going by the time MS releases Windows 10 you??ll need a mainframe like computer to run it. Most people like to look ahead, myself included, but sometimes we need to look back and think about what we left behind. Windows 95 and NT 4 decently patched and hotfixed provided the same features as Windows XP and Vista: networking, sharing of files and printers, e-mail, video-conference, playing and recording media, web browsing, rich text e-mail, USB devices and was far more ease to install and use. Imagine a Vista designed PC running Windows 95, 98 or NT. Microsoft could release its next OS version in a way that users could choose wich features to install. The distribution of these features could be online, reducing costs. The versions could be Home, Enterprise and Server. I think simpler is better

enquiries
enquiries

excellent article Jason, i would only disagree with the point about ending backwards compatibility and the desire of programmers to start again. Microsoft would know the lesson that dominance is to be built upon not reinvented. Having now finally taken the lead in all areas of the computing landscape, from the school computer rooms, to the enterprise databases, they are not going to blow away that leverage by demanding that customers throw out their old stuff and start again. When a company has the leading share of any market it must advance by increments not quantum leaps. In fact, if anything, I believe "Windows 7" will have many options for MORE backwards compatibility and XP/2k similarities.

partner55244388
partner55244388

People need to be forced into it in order to realize that VISTA is AN EXCELLENT PIECE OF SOFTWARE. The reason most people want XP on a new computer is that they hear a bunch of BS about Vista from somebody they know who read that BS on the internet from some idiot blogger who thinks he knows everything about computers. It's getting ridiculous.

squirrelpie0
squirrelpie0

Right on. Most Consumers could care less about what OS. They just want it to work. Most simply don't use even a small fraction of the 'slick' features in Vista or XP. Why even bother with apps like Office or PhotoShop when a free suite like Google Docs, Open Office, and Picasa will more than adequately fill their needs. Consumers are looking for a unit they can plug in, turn on, and have work RIGHT NOW, without a bunch of configuration, not mumbo jumbo. It will hook up to the internet automatically. It will defrag its HD and Registry out of the box. Same for protection. MOST users of cars don't know or care, how to check the oil in their engine, let alone the tranny or change a tire. They just want to drive. When this industry figures out that's the way the vast majority of users want their computers, rather than pandering to we geeks, watch out. There is a whole new massive market just waiting to worship you with their dollars.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

You start off with the Basic Version that everyone can use and then Option up to what you want. Be that Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate. It's just a Product Key away as all the versions features are on the Install DVD you just get different options depending on the Product Key entered. Col

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Many people will keep buying MS for their corporate situation until MS stops giving them personal kickbacks.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Get Linux and run that instead, many Linux systems will run the Windows games through either WINE or a virtual machine, many games now have Linux versions too.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]Windows 95 and NT 4 decently patched and hotfixed provided the same features as Windows XP and Vista: networking, sharing of files and printers, e-mail, video-conference, playing and recording media, web browsing, rich text e-mail, USB devices and was far more ease to install and use.[/i] While you are mostly accurate, there are also some glaring errors in your claims here. * USB - Windows 95 only supported USB in OSR 2.5 and then only if you installed the USB support patch [u]and[/u] had the proper drivers for your USB device [u]and[/u] rebooted the PC often. Windows NT 4 does not support USB at all (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/196661). * Media - WinNT 4.0 never provided more than rudimentary support for sound cards or media devices except through third-party applications that required you run them in admin space. Most media applications ran (but not reliably) in Windows 95. [i]Microsoft could release its next OS version in a way that users could choose wich features to install. [/i] Email, video-conferencing, playing and recording media, and web browsing are user applications and not OS functions. They should therefore be separate from the OS. That these features are included in an OS is not a recommendation for that OS. I agree that simpler is better; that's why I use Ubuntu at home. Edit: formatting and splel

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Only if it runs it inside a VM / Emulator, and that has it's own serious issues. Every year backwards compatibility was costing MS more and more, restricting them more and more, and gaining them less and less. Not happening...

Tearat
Tearat

Fix the incompatibility problem One way it may be possible is to load the older OS?s in some sort of emulator WinXP is way to big but some of the older versions may be possible It would make Win7 smaller until you need to load the older OS

mikeholli
mikeholli

partner55244388 YOUR WRONG! And that's the bottom line because Bill Gates sez so! Fact is, that Vista was never deemed a bad O/S, it has been poor selling, that's why all the good news about Windows 7 Windows Vista SE. I don't get a rat's nasty bottom what anyone is going to say, it will be a Second Edition of Vista, just like 98 had it's Second Edition. It would be totally insane for Microsoft to go off their road map of new (as in no version, no extension to a current O/S.) Operating System releases.

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

Thanks to Conan O'Brien's stuffed dog for the line. [i]The reason most people want XP on a new computer is that they hear a bunch of BS about Vista from somebody they know who read that BS on the internet from some idiot blogger who thinks he knows everything about computers. It's getting ridiculous.[/i] Survey says it's [b]your[/b] claims that are BS. When asked, real people say, "I guess I'd use Vista, if you put a gun to my head." [i]People need to be [b]forced into it[/b] in order to realize that VISTA is AN EXCELLENT PIECE OF SOFTWARE.[/i] It looks like you bought a bunch of stocks, counting on Micro$loth making a comeback. Tough break.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It isn't in most cases enough of ann improvement to justify the cost of switching to it. It's really a simple equation Benefit - Cost > 0 HtHs

Tearat
Tearat

Are the criminal companies who sell defective products Then we have the ridiculous idiots who defend them It s been going so long that some of those idiots have their heads permanently jammed up their ass Vista is an incompatible defective piece of crap that should never have been inflicted on the world

Tearat
Tearat

But mostly true The market you are talking about buys a computer They don?t buy an OS Most don?t care or know what OS is on the damn things they just want it to work That market only spends money when they have to And mostly on something more interesting than a computer Vista is an OS it should be boring and unnoticed It should do its job effortlessly and without incident Someone should tell Microsoft Good luck getting them to believe it

Tearat
Tearat

With everything and anything that can be imagined loading up and running in the background Or installed just on the off chance someone wants it I would add to your list the GUI or UI That little virus magnet should be kept totally separate With a basic back up UI in reserve Not the same UI with everything disabled (well not everything)

howard55
howard55

Ubuntu on a home machine is more than most home users would ever need. I loaded Ubuntu on an old macine that ran Win98 and it has breathed new life into an old dead horse. I enjoy using it and it has more than most need. I still use XP on my lappy for work because I need it, and have tried Vista, and it really has no benefit for me to justify the glitches and incompatability issues. The idea of being able to pick the features you want to install sounds interesting if Win 7 is designed this way. I enjoy MS systems, (never had ME), but I believe they have dropped the ball with Vista and this could cost MS dearly with the increased popularity of alternate OS's is anything to go buy.I work in retail (home & commercial computers) and over the last 12 months since Win Vista, the complaints from the majority of my clients is overwhelming. I have pointed many to Ubuntu, with great results. The power of the machines with Vista, when loaded with Ubuntu are slick and easy, just what the doctor ordered

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Linux who provide a lot of backwards compatibility in their OS and applications with less code.

hmcm
hmcm

I must respectfully disagree. As I have posted elsewhere, new OS releases in my old mainframe days just meant recompile and proceed. Even 30 year old assembler code worked with a simple recompile using the latest COBOL compiler. Many programs didn't even need to be recompiled unless we wanted to use one of the new features of the OS or the compiler. Since MS chooses to ignore this strategy, a virtual machine should work fine. I replaced an old Fujitsu laprop running Win 98SE and Win XP with a MacBook Pro with 2gb of memory. Using Parallels, I recreated my Fujitsu XP partition. It runs faster than on the old laptop. I also loaded Win XP Pro in a separate VM to run some complex online financial software. Sometimes I have both VMs running as well as Mac OS/X applications.

Tearat
Tearat

Windows 98se in the NT family would be Windows 98-service pack 1 Since Vista already has a service pack 1 you are wrong Microsoft have stated Windows 7 is to be written from scratch So that makes you wrong twice Windows 95 98 98se ME are Windows 4 Vista is 6 not 7 So that makes you wrong three times 3 strikes Your out

JCitizen
JCitizen

at least the ones that won't listen to me! And so far they have been sorry! Oh well, now I guess I'll just have to make money off of them for doing that; AAarrggH! I'm not in it for the money though! Oh, BTW, it is Triumph the insult comic dog. He ain't dead yet; (at least none of the stuffing is leaking yet)! :^0

Tearat
Tearat

Thanks DE Glad to help JC I don't have as much time as I would like to spend with Linux Do get sick of the demands windows support puts on my time Its not even the main part of the business But it sure takes up a lot of time Anyway soon be the problem of the lower levels JC you have to remember that there is a lot of misinformation out there It is a bad business practice used mostly by incompetent managers and salesmen The fan boys are just regurgitating idiots They need to grow up and join the real world Fan boys Really like that spelling makes them look like inexperienced blow hard's Think I saw that here on TR Please don?t call me TR I want to take fully credit for my writing Not Techrepublic T Rat will do or Steve Pleased to meet ya all

Tearat
Tearat

Getting old I guess I may have been thinking of archives? Or it may have been some PR exercise I once read Yes Monolithic systems take a lot of work to maintain They should have gone west at the same time as absolute addressing Too much IT history to remember it all now Thanks for the info It helped to prod my memory I think you have to remember with a flame war There will always be someone who does not know what is going on They can easily be hurt or offended A lot of people don't care but its not hard to spot them Besides it is the most fun if everyone joins in I don't like bullys and there is no need for that type of behavior Its just stuipid They know who they are Hopefully not you and I PS Poking the spelling nazi's can be the most fun I did not know you were a part time manager

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I'll have a poke at anyone, and anyone can have a poke at me. Highly intellectaul arguments are interesting, flame wars are fun. Monolithic is the quick and nasty option. Any decently designed modular system will out perform a monolithic one. The key though is decently designed, that takes time, skill, money and the real killer requires a substantial upfront investment before you get anything you can usefully call a deliverable out of it. Monolithic deisgn goes against every software design principal ever expounded. It's not a bad move busines wise if you keep in mind it has very poor longevity. When you put our business exec hat on, do you go for one more version and get promoted out of the zone leaving your successor with the mess. Or do you want to be the guy who who usually with no real knowledge of how takes tke risk of unf***ing the last decade of agressive neglect.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I really appreciate it! =)

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

that's different, mostly how you navigate the GUI. I find KDE a bit cleaner than Gnome, but that's a personal preference and not a performance matter. So there is no security difference between Ubuntu and Kubuntu.

Tearat
Tearat

They are suppose to be the same Doubt it?s the kernel But I have not had the time to really test K or U buntu Red hat was what I use to use Just like Ubuntu's installer/set-up software Spend most of the time on Windows Don?t get me wrong XP is not too bad But it depends on the type of hardware and how many different things you want to use it for The biggest problem is the mixing of good and bad devices on some main/motherboards I think about how well designed some of the hardware we have was suppose to be And look at what we got Makes me want to shoot some of the bean counters Well actually most Nope don't need an excuse Would like to shoot most of them most of the time Just look at USB and how that turned out Stupid name that Bus? Nope serial port maybe or serial network but not a bus Love SATA and IDE SIDE would be right but funny AT? Not for a long time Love the arguments about bus width and speed The look on their faces when I say serial transmission makes it redundant

JCitizen
JCitizen

that KDE was more secure than Ubuntu's kernel. Could you testify to any validity in that? Or am I totally mixed up? Just wondering - I'm learning on PCLinuxOS lately and am enjoying the thought of doing K/Ubuntu next.

Tearat
Tearat

On one of my own personal desktop PCs An older machine PCI with a 2600 CPU I have 3 primary partitions One with Dos6.22 and Win3.11 One with 98se One with XP sp2 I have Ubuntu installed in the extended partition I found this handy little boot manager which uses the active and hidden flags in the partition tables so there is only one active visible primary partition at a time http://gag.sourceforge.net/ The kids sometimes like to play the old old games Some have never seen those old games and love them I think its because they are so simple that they are fun without thinking to hard The only thing that has ever really been a pain on the new machines with the old games is sound So nothing new sound was always a pain This machine has an awe64, which works well for most Picked up a lot of spare parts for it for nothing So should last as long as they want to use it Wow something I just remembered Todays CPUs have a larger Cache than the total memory of those old Dos PCs The awe64 has one meg of onboard ram I think Been a while since those days Thanks I have looked at the KDE desktop But most of my friends and family use Windows XP One or two have a second PC with Win98se Those 98 PCs are not connected to the net I have tried vista but its not really that good to use yet I was going to use it as Media Centre PC But the usual crimes against humanity won that round Compatibility Hardware support Lack of good software I hear people talking about wireless networking and Iinux And think of vista and the fun I have had with wireless on that little wonder No wrong Huge? Gigantic? Quantum? yes that?s the one That Quantum sized wonder is right

Tearat
Tearat

Monolith systems are used on slower single processor systems to try and minimise the loading and execution times I dont think todays versions fit that description any more They have not been like that for many years now MS needs to stop screwing around with that obsolete design They needed to stop it after 98se 2000 should have been the first OS with a changed design ME was a huge mistake Sorry if I upset you with the silly discussion about unions work hard etc But I have to say there was a lot of bad behaviour going on in that discussion Truly we should have ignored the whole stupid thing Even Techrepublic got in on it I am certain they were trying to stop me submitting posts

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Ubuntu and has a very Windows 98 feel to it, I've found it easier to switch some people over to the KDE interface than the Gnome interface.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The level of the knowledge required was different. You can pick up Eclipse or VS2005 and achieve something that looks good far quicker, and with far less in depth knowledge, than you needed 'way back when'. That improvement wasn't free though, it was achieved by all the under the hood stuff being written by someone else. Seeing as they can't know which bit might be needed, they put it all on there, hence the need for all the resources. When you add in MS' monolith mania, backwards compatibility and support just about everything with no effort, you get to hideous levels of extras that are there just in case. The annoying thing to me is there's no way the people who went down this route didn't know where it was going to end up.

Tearat
Tearat

How did they do it? A 386 with a couple of Megs of ram windows 3 Add IE 3 and you could use the Internet As well as the blinding fast modems Huge disk sizes Install DVD? No just 4 floppy's for dos and 7 for Windows They must have been fantastic programmers Or is it that we now have lower life forms writing the software we use today Has anyone out there got a dog with better than average behaviour? Call Microsoft they may have a position open For a well behaved obedient employee

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

meta data is in short supply in winders, lots' of other palces as well. One of those ideas that comes across over real well in theory....

Tearat
Tearat

Translating between the tech and user worlds I guess its because I was a geek who had an interest in sports and other of the more physical activities at school I found myself fascinated by technology but have never lost interest in outdoors activities I have noticed that people in IT are a lot like that What I find most interesting is how the simple things tend to be overlooked by some of the smartest people That can be one of the benefits of having an assistant or training someone They tend to ask simple questions which is good for tech minded people I do have a lot of ideas that could be useful to software developers but don?t feel like sharing them with company?s like MS Maybe in the future when they clean up the mess they have made of the IT world I would like to contribute to one of the Linux projects but haven?t the time and energy at the moment Besides don?t want MS stealing them Anyway its 4pm on Sat afternoon here in NZ and I have stuff to do around the workshop The thing I am most interested in at the moment is XP sp3 I am trying it out on one of my own PCs It appears to be faster and working ok for now You may find the information about XP sp3 on this page useful They also have an ISO CD image that you can download similar to the CD that MS will offer to their customers http://news.softpedia.com/news/Checked-Build-of-XP-SP3-Available-for-Download-85242.shtml It is an interesting site to look around

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

Linux already does some of your 3 versions of the GUI/UI but just does not carry it as far as your ideas go. Makes sense to me. I really do think that a lot of what is done to make things "better" really only make things better for part of the congregation and make things a lot worse for those who are not privy to knowing all the ins and outs of how to do things nor do they need to be to do their jobs. The hardware part is already in place with the thin computers and the dumb terminals of old. The software part is not there because the techs and the non-tech users don't seem to talk the same language. I remember sitting in on sessions where techs were explaining and demonstrating how to do things to non-tech users. Between the acronyms and the geeky talk and the lack of knowing the business side the techs were talking past the users and losing the audience big time. What I would love to see happen is what some of the stock brokerages did a few years ago. You were hired in a sort of pool. You then did some of the business and also some of the tech stuff and then your career path was plotted based on that. Result was that your tech people and your business people could talk to each other to a degree to the benefit of both. Now I don't see that happening. What I see is the business people who are gamers are selected to talk to the tech people and they still don't talk the same language. This will, over time, cause big problems and that needs to be addressed.

Tearat
Tearat

Ernest I agree with what you wrote Some MS employee's may remember or understand how it all worked But would you admit to that And take risk the chance of having the problem dumped on your shoulders Not me its management's problem They ARE the idiots who created the problem so screw them What a lot of people do not realise is MS make investments in other companies This additionally taints the decisions they make about their products The MS relationship with Intel shows this In that case, the adding of code to slow down older processors, which will encourage people to go out and buy new PCs containing faster CPUs and chipsets That will happen anyway but what they do helps to speed up the process And of course enlarge the contents of the shareholders bank accounts Another example is the dropping of drivers with each new version Yes open office is a very good choice for most people There is no reason that it cannot be installed on the same computer as MS office There is also no reason they cannot both be used at the same time I have installed it on most of the machines I have been asked to look at Have told the users to try it and if they don?t like it they don?t have to use it Rhomp2002 The solution is simple For Windows Two versions of the install/setup software One fully automated much like it is now The second for the tech who gets to make choices about every stage of the process Three versions of the GUI/UI One for the people who like things as they are with a minimum of change Another for those who want all the bells and whistles The third for the tech, which gives complete information and control of the system Most important give the tech the choice of NOT loading the GUI virus magnet Some of that can be done with other software

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

Computers are made to be tools for the end user, whether that end user is a tech or not. What all too many techs do not seem to realize is that the end user does not think or behave just like the tech thinks he should. When the companies like M$ change things to make them more useful in the eyes of the techs, they may inadvertently screw up the way the end user thinks and works. The end user should not have to think like a tech to do his job or what he wants. The result is that while the tech may be satisfied with the way something is set up, the end user will be bewildered and find that his job is made a lot more difficult for no good reason at all. Case in point is a contract I had a long time ago where someone else designed the system and then farmed out the implementation to my boss. I went in, took the contract and implemented what the contract said to do and then went to show it to the users to get their feedback. Found out that the guy who designed the system never bothered checking with the users as to what they thought. I ended up having to redo the whole design and them redo the whole coding to make it work for the user. The designer did it the way he saw it functioning and never bothered to think it through about how the user needed it to function. I think of that whenever I see that someone like M$ has changed the location of something without thinking of what the cost to the user might be. It might be better for the techs but the end user might find it a stupid way of doing things and think it is only change for the sake of change, which in many cases is just what it is. A whole lot of what if I put it here getting into production without seeing the ramifications. End result is dissatisfaction on all sides and all you have to do is look at the brouhaha with Vista to see it in action.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

standard command sets after 1998 then it wouldn't have mattered if no earlier MS coders had done the right thing about documenting their code, because the industry command sets would always work in any OS - but MS chose not to do that, and thus killed off true plug and play in Windows. The biggest problem is the lack of compatibility in file handling within the later versions of applications that use the same file extension name. MS Word 2a and Word 6, and Word 2000, and Word 2003, and Word XP, and Word 2007 ALL create a document called a .doc - up to Word 6 they used the same internal file format, since then they've changed with each version. So a Word 6 .doc file is NOT able to be properly opened by Word 2003, Word XP or Word 2007 - and it darn well should be able to be opened by them. This is the biggest failure in non-backwards compatibility with MS. yet Open Office can manage this feat while MS say it's not possible at all. Both these problems are due to deliberate decisions by MS management to screw people over and avoid industry standards commends and methods. It's as simple as that.

Tearat
Tearat

MS have deliberately changed the structure of windows to prevent older software running If we are talking about win95 to Vista Say 94 to 06 which is 12 years There may be no one left at MS that understands how the old stuff works or is meant to work To do what you suggest they would have had to do it all the way through the many different versions As it is now there have been too many changes My suggestion was to load the older Windows versions into a hardware emulator, which they could include as part of a future version of windows That is the only way to obtain 100 % compatibility Use the older versions of windows But I dont believe MS are capable of that The required change in company thinking is almost impossible for them to achieve

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...because, in theory anyway, that's what they are paying for. But if they chose to disregard your advice and go ahead with something stupid, then what else can you do other than help clean up the mess? I too try to set things up so that management is as inexpensive as possible. That is what reflects well on your reputation. Plus, it also frees up resources that can be directed at other aspects of the operation. I find that part of the job far more rewarding than the seemingly endless job of maintenance and damage control.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Although it still makes me feel guilty. I sometimes feel like I have the responsibility to guide them around the minefield; and any failure refects somewhat on me and my reputation. I actually try to set up an environment that reduces my support for my clients; I'm just lazy I guess!

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that we get to charge for cleaning up the mess.

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