I don’t normally write about stuff that’s not even released yet as a bona fide beta product, but in this case, I couldn’t resist. There is so much stuff being written already about Windows 7 that I thought I’d join the fray. I’ve read articles out there from people who are running actual performance tests on the Windows 7 pre-release code Microsoft made available. I’ve even read articles and comments from people complaining that Windows 7 looks too much like Vista. There was even a posting somewhere from someone “proving” that the Windows 7 code was, in fact, simply a minor update to Vista due to the fact that the running thread count was the almost the same.

Insanity abounds.

Windows 7 isn’t even in beta. I’m one of those kinds of guys that enjoys getting pre-beta bits to play with so I can get a look at what might be coming. I can’t imagine running pre-beta code and assuming that the final product will look even close to the test code. That would be like expecting the new Star Trek movie to be a bomb after watching a leaked snippet of unfinished footage. Heck, at least wait for the official trailer (which is now released, by the way) before condemning the new movie. As for performance tests, remember that people are testing against pre-beta code! I’m cautiously optimistic that Microsoft will introduce performance gains in Windows 7 by the time the product is complete.
Windows 7 will probably look a tad like Vista. Last time I checked, Microsoft hadn’t chucked Vista out the door and started over. Quite frankly, with the service pack and a few updates under its belt, Vista isn’t the horrid wreck that it was upon initial release. I’ll be the first to admit that some of Microsoft’s interface decisions in Vista have left me scratching my head, but I would be astounded if they simply started over. I switch back and forth between the XP and Vista interfaces constantly – I use multiple machines – and actually find myself preferring the Vista interface. Anyone who is surprised that the Windows 7 pre-beta and Windows Vista share almost identical interfaces should think again.
Windows 7 isn’t intended to be a paradigm shift. With regard to changes, I think Microsoft did the heavy lifting with Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007. The company has publicly stated that Windows 7 is intended to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Some people are calling Windows 7 names like Windows Vista R2 and Windows Vista SP2 and are lamenting the fact that this will be a paid upgrade, even from Vista. Two points: 1) It’s possible – not likely, but possible – that Microsoft will make Windows 7 a free upgrade from Vista. Remember folks, we’re still a year out from release and talking about pre-beta code so anything can happen; 2) Yep… it might be a paid upgrade, but if it is ultimately released as the product that Vista was intended to be from the beginning, we’ll all be better off.

If you’re considering skipping Vista altogether and just jumping to Windows 7 when it comes out, you’re not alone. Even though I see Vista as a relatively respectable system at this point, we’re going to stick with XP at Westminster for now although I’m not totally ruling out the possibility of some Vista rollouts.