Friday, October 17, 2008

Vista SP2 Due Out Before Windows 7

Microsoft has created a place holder Knowledge Base Article related to the forthcoming SP2 releases. The article has sparked rumors and peaked interested that Microsoft may have already shipped beta versions of SP2 to select hardware and software partners along with early builds of Windows 7.

History suggests that the service pack will arrive before the next release of Windows, meaning that we could see Vista SP2 sometime soon, given that Microsoft wants Windows 7 out the door as soon as possible.

In a blog post Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet blogs claims sources have provided the following information:

  • Microsoft’s goal is to deliver both SP2 releases before it delivers Windows 7 in order to lessen confusion among users as to whether to deploy Vista and Windows Server 2008 — or to wait for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (a k a Windows 7 Server). Currently, Microsoft is believed to be attempting to RTM Windows 7 in the second half of 2009. The Softies have said Windows Server 2008 R2 is on track for 2010.

  • Because Microsoft is trying to keep Windows client and server code in lock-step, Windows Server 2008 was built around the Vista SP1 codebase. That’s why the first standalone service pack for Server 2008 is being called SP2. As many customers still are reticent to deploy a new OS until the first standalone SP goes out, Microsoft also is pushing to get SP2 for server out there to convince these users to consider upgrading.

  • The biggest deliverable in SP2 for Windows Server 2008 will be the integration of the Hyper-V bits with the server OS.

According to a spokesperson for the Vista team: “Microsoft is working on a second Windows Vista server pack (Windows Vista SP2) and will share more details in the coming months.” A spokesperson for the Server team says “The comment (above) serves for Windows Server as well; Microsoft is not commenting further on the timing/release plans for WS08 SP2 at this time, but will share more details in the coming months.”

Vista user might be looking forward to the release of SP2, but it sounds like most of people have a "wait to see" attitude and are going to hold off until Windows “7” makes its debut. According to Gartner survey data 61 percent of consumers are skipping Windows Vista all together – a lot of these people are comparing the release of Vista to the release of Windows ME. Technology aside, it’s the timing, and no need for it right now – seems to be a general consensus among those wanting to skip.

The timing of the release of Vista's second service pack and the upcoming release of Windows 7 has left some speculation that Windows 7 might just be a supercharged version of Vista SP2. Microsoft has already confirmed that Windows 7 will be based on the current Vista OS shell and Steve Ballmer'ss recent comments, "Windows Vista is good; Windows 7 is Windows Vista with cleanup in user interface [and] improvements in performance," can leave you wondering.

When asked if Windows 7 will be a major release or just a minor polishing of Vista Ballmer took exception to the idea, stating "It's a real release, because it's a lot more work than a minor release. It turns out you can [do] more than just a minor release in what is essentially a two-and-a-half-year period of time. There's no reason to do just 'a minor release' in two and a half years."

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how big these supposed changes are, or if Windows 7 is indeed just a refined version of Windows Vista. I for one will be holding onto my XP as long as I can.

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