In the last issue, Microsoft alters
Windows Vista Beta release schedule, I mentioned that there’s some doubt
over whether there will be any sort of Windows Vista Beta release during the
month of December after Microsoft scuttled the November Community Technical
Preview (CTP). However, the day after the last issue was posted, I learned that
there will indeed be a December CTP of Windows Vista and it should be arriving
in the hands of beta testers early next week. And from what I’ve heard, even
though the December CTP won’t be the feature-complete version of the Windows
Vista Beta that Microsoft had hoped to have ready by the end of the year, it
will contain a host of new and enhanced features. So I’ll definitely have more
to write about in upcoming issues.
Until then, I’ve decided that it would be worth discussing the
rumors that Microsoft is proposing as many as nine versions of Windows Vista. While
that may sound like an astounding number of versions, it’s really not–especially
when you take a look at the number of versions currently in the Windows XP
family of products.
The XP family lineage
When Microsoft introduced Windows XP back in October of
2001, there were two editions: Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP
Professional Edition. This seemed like a logical approach. The Home edition
contained most everything needed for a home PC and cost less than the
Professional edition which contained more advanced tools and high-end
networking features. However, it wasn’t long before we started seeing additions
to the Windows XP family of products as the following list indicates.
XP Embedded – November 2001
(Check out this
image on Wikipedia of a payphone running
Windows XP Embedded)
XP Media Center Edition – October 2002
XP Tablet PC Edition – November 2002
XP Starter Edition – October 2004
XP Professional x64 Edition – April 2005
XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional Edition N – June 2005
The possible Vista lineup
As you can see, there are currently nine versions in the
Windows XP family of products. While the nine versions in the proposed Windows
Vista family all organized into different groupings, you can easily draw
parallels with the existing offerings. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look.
The Windows Vista Starter Edition will be geared to developing
technology markets in an effort to offer an operating system with minimal
system requirements, thus providing an affordable option to piracy.
Home Basic Edition
The Windows Vista Home Basic Edition will be aimed at home
users who only need to perform basic computing tasks and don’t have a need for
advanced media features.
Home Premium Edition
The Windows Vista Home Premium Edition will provide all the
features in the Home Basic Edition along with many of the advanced media features
found in the current Windows XP Media Center Edition.
Home Basic Edition N
The Windows Vista Home Basic Edition will be designed to
comply with the European Union ruling and will be identical to Windows Vista
Home Basic Edition, but without Windows Media Player.
The Windows Vista Professional Edition will be aimed at the
business market with networking features that support Windows Server domains.
The Windows Vista Ultimate Edition will essentially be a
superset of the Home and Professional editions with powerful/advanced
multimedia features and will be aimed squarely at high-end users, gamers, and
Professional Edition N
This The Windows Vista Professional Edition N will be
designed to comply with the European Union ruling and will be identical to
Windows Vista Professional Edition, but without Windows Media Player.
Small Business Edition
The Windows Vista Small Business Edition will be aimed at
the small business market that needs networking features but can’t afford a
full time IT staff to maintain the network.
The Windows Vista Enterprise Edition will be aimed at the
enterprise segment of the business market with more advanced networking needs.
Chances are that this edition will only be available though high-end licensing
agreements and not be available through retail outlets.
Now, as I close, it’s important to note that Windows Vista’s
official release date is over a year a way and the line of the actual Windows
Vista family could very well change. As always, if you have comments or
information to share about Windows Vista December CTP or the Windows Vista
family of products, please take a moment to drop by the Discussion area and let