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Heads Roll As Microsoft Misses Vista Target 386

A reader writes: "Business version is on time, but the company won't make the key holiday consumer sales season. After another delay in the release of its Windows Vista operating system, Microsoft last week put a new executive in charge of future Windows projects and replaced several other managers. The changes are designed to better align Microsoft's desktop and Internet software teams and get products to market faster." There's also a NY Times piece that discusses why Windows has been so slow (to come out). Worth the reading.
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Heads Roll As Microsoft Misses Vista Target

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  • by spyrochaete ( 707033 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:02AM (#15002306) Homepage Journal
    The changes are designed to better align Microsoft's desktop and Internet software teams and get products to market faster

    I thought it was delayed because of DirectX 10 and game\media\PVR issues. Now that 60% is being rewritten will hardware manufacturers like ATI have to ditch their millions of dollars of R&D and start their Vista drivers from scratch?
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:17AM (#15002395) Homepage
    I hope I never have to use Vista either. I don't think you will ever have to. Most of the stuff released still runs on 98, with good reason too. It's high hardware specs make me cringe. It doesn't look much flashier than OSX, but requires like 5X the computing resources. I have a mac Mini at work, and it flies. Based on what i've seen for Vista, it wouldn't even come close to running aeroglass. I can't even see how the retailers would want Vista. all the sub $1000 CDN Dells have integrated video, and hence won't even be able to run Vista with Aeroglass. That's got to be a big slice of Dell's marketshare. How do you convince people to buy a new computer that can't even run the OS with all the features. How do you convince people who want to spend ~$500 on a PC to spend $1500?
  • Re:Mty suggestions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:20AM (#15002412)
    Or, get someone with a trackercord of delivering a modern OS. Like Maybe Linus.

    Is *anyone* qualified for this? Linus, for example, just works on the low-level Liunx kernel. Vista is a kernel + the .net runtime + graphics layers + GUI + DirectX + user-level applications that ship with the OS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:27AM (#15002469)
    The main premise of the nytimes article is that because of API compatibility the Windows has become too large to handle. The solution would be a complete rewrite and therefore a clean break from the beast that is Windows legacy code.
    I think the best solution would be to adopt Linux as the kernel and come up with a new GUI system to replace X.

    1. Linux is already mature and is maintained by hundreds of developers. This would give MS a head start on the basic fundamentals of the new Windows OS. Perhaps even hire Linus Torvalds, I'm sure he wouldn't mind for the right amount of money. Also pay a significant amount of current developers and new ones to work on Linux kernel development.

    2. Drop X all together and write a GUI system that would use the kernel subsystem for hardware, things like fbdev and udev make Linux a better candidate then say BSD.

    3. The new GUI would be based on DirectX for all drawing similar in to way OpenGL would be used for a X-on-OpenGL solution.

    4. Adopt mono outright, maybe even buy Novell. Use it as primary toolkit with a new drawing backend based on your DirectX GUI,

    5. Make the GUI system OSS under a specific license that makes code available for personal use but binary and source distributions must be licensed by Microsoft.

    6. Develop a new desktop system based off mono, maybe with some C core libraries for speed, which is similar to the Vista desktop in look and feel. Also for backwards capability, develop a Wine like app to run legacy apps that are slowly being ported.

    This is a pretty crazy proposition but this essentially in the long term would drastically speed up development cycles. Also would cut out all major Linux competitors. What is business going to invest in? Microsoft Linux or Redhat Linux?

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:30AM (#15002498) Homepage certainly going to quickly lead to their downfall. Breaking compatibility with old applications leads to people looking for new applications. If they were do to that, they should have done so years ago when they had the market power. Nevermind that they pretty much did going from Win95/98/ME line to WinNT/2k/XP.

    Seriously, if you were looking at a new application today, if you're not considering cross-platform compatible apps (Java or .NET/Mono) or webservices (traditional or AJAX), you're not doing your job. Same goes for open standards, integration possibilities (e.g. XML/SOAP) and so on. When you're in the position Microsoft is in it's about making it as easy as possible to keep running Windows. Particularly the old cruft that work (hence, don't break it) but won't run anywhere but Windows.
  • by ndogg ( 158021 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nrohr.eht]> on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:32AM (#15002524) Homepage Journal
    Seems like poor design decision s have caught up with them.
    It was one design decision: backwards compatibility.

    I'll readily admit that I don't much like Microsoft or their software, but they must be commended upon their due diligence on this one aspect. A lot of software from Windows 3.0 can still run on XP.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#15002542) Journal
    As a result, each new version of Windows carries the baggage of its past. As Windows has grown, the technical challenge has become increasingly daunting. Several thousand engineers have labored to build and test Windows Vista, a sprawling, complex software construction project with 50 million lines of code, or more than 40 percent larger than Windows XP.

    "Windows is now so big and onerous because of the size of its code base, the size of its ecosystem and its insistence on compatibility with the legacy hardware and software, that it just slows everything down," observed David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School. "That's why a company like Apple has such an easier time of innovation."

    I'm not so sure this is really why this time, or that it's the only reason...

    People paying some attention to the Vista development may notice that during build 5000, Microsoft did basically a 180 turn and decided to throw out the new foundation of managed (.NET) code on an XP SP2 based kernel, and rather go with the Windows Server 2003 kernel. This required such massive rewrites that to the end user experience, the project was essentially restarted. This happened in September 2004, just less than 2 years ago. And people wonder about the feature cuts and delays. ;-)

    MS did a major goof up in planning with this OS, and they're paying the price now. Just imagine if they could get the two years or so spent on developing on the wrong kernel and with an invalid design philophy back (it was later found out that .NET code sucked too much in performance to be usable). This time could be spent on making... well, how about WinFS? ;-)
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:37AM (#15002558) Homepage Journal
    From the sound of that, this may be the last major Windows release. The Windows name may carry on but it will be the end of Windows as we know it.

    Well, what is Windows as we know it?

    The windows natural market position is this: it's the world's dominant desktop operating system, the one that almost every worktation, no matter what it is used for, is almost certain to use. But it's not anymore, because Windows has an identity crisis. It's been seen by Microsoft as a lever they could use to enter and dominate new markets, such as home entertainment. It leads to a lack of focus.

    Consider Apple: You have a choice of two operating systems from them Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger) and Mac OSX Server 10.4.

    From Microsoft: XP Home, XP Pro, XP Media Center, XP Tablet Edition, XP Pro 64 bit Edition, Windows Server 2003 and of course the embedded/mobile versions (Windows Mobile and Windows 2000 Core OS) which arguably don't count.

    The thing is, Apple is doing everything with vertical integration that Microsoft is trying to do. They've just drawn the lines around projects differently. I wonder, though, whether this makes the difference.

  • by Vorondil28 ( 864578 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:40AM (#15002575) Journal
    This is not unique to Microsoft. Any huge corporation that enjoys oversized success and has a small contingent of superwealthy employees by way of stock options faces this future.

    Prove it. I'm not saying you're wrong, it's just that making such a broad statement with nothing to back it up is likely to draw "I call B.S." comments. (As I'm doing now.)
  • by edmicman ( 830206 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:11AM (#15002829) Homepage Journal
    Why don't they rip out the legacy support, offer a slim, fast, "next-gen" Windows OS, and then offer an optional (free?) legacy pack that would install all the unnecessary crap if someone needs to run that DOS checking app from 1990? Or maybe if people can't run their 20 year old software that doesn't have support anymore, they might be inclined to move to something better.
  • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:42AM (#15003113)
    Say Vista would break old code;

    They could release Vista Professional Edition that includes a VM which is certainly more than enough to handle any corporate app on today's hardware. Any hardware intensive app would obviously keep with the older software/hardware version until it became feasible enough to port over.

    For the home market, they could release a basic Home Edition cheap with no legacy support unless purchased and release a Premium Home Edition with a VM so that whoever that runs that funky resume writer or that genealogy software will still work.
    Anyone with a serious 3D app would purchase a newer version anyway that would be ported as those higer end apps are the first to get ported.

  • Operating systems like OS/2 were able to retain almost 100% compatibility with DOS and 16-bit Windows applications without making the kinds of architectural sacrifices that Microsoft has made over the past 10+ years.

    Why? They simply created a Virtual DOS Machine that was sophisticated enough to handle things properly, including running multiple isolated copies of a rewritten Windows 3.1 concurrently to protect 16-bit processes from each other.

    Win32 compatibility doesn't require any of that.

    The bloat we're seeing is simply poor technical design on Microsoft's part, and the "backwards compatibility" card is just something they played to explain some of the stupid stop-gap decisions made with their Windows 9x line.
  • Who? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarthChris ( 960471 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:58AM (#15003261)
    ...missing the holiday sales season, to the chagrin of...and those computer users eager to move up from Windows XP, a five-year-old product.
    Who, exactly, is eager to move on to Vista?

    (Genuine question, as I honestly haven't heard of anyone who really wants it.)
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:58PM (#15003746)
    Funny, I didn't remember hearing that Apple software runs on Tablet PCs
    Actually, it can -- the list of hardware known to (more or less) work with Mac OS [] does include a few Tablet PCs. The only issue is that the Wacom digitizer is lacking a driver, but once that hurdle is surmounted (and I'll be looking into it, because I'm replacing my iBook soon and I want a tablet whether Apple is willing to make one or not) it should be fully functional as a Tablet Mac because all copies of OS X come with Inkwell [].
  • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:25PM (#15007051)
    'm not sure if this is FUD or just plain stupidness, but it is certainly not true. Windows' design was monolithic, and IE certainly didn't help, but IE is no more in the windows kernel than say nautilus or konqeror, it's just a program with a library that is far too widely used.

    I did NOT say IE was in the kernel...I was stating two separate examples of stupid design choices that have led to Windows being an opaque, unmanageable monolith of ugly code:

    1. Unlike Firefox or Epiphany or Konqueror (etc.) IE was engineered right into the OS product--sprinkled thoroughout the system directory right alongside .dlls for low-level system operations, and now we have important system components and applications that have critical dependencies on IE (even 3rd parties have done this at the encouragement of Microsoft I might add). You are correct in that IE plays in userland--but considering that it is so embedded into Windows that it can no longer be removed completely without breaking things makes it nearly as stupid as if it were running in kernel space. MS has actually made it hard NOT to run at least some IE components, some of the time, with full administrator privleges.

    2. All manner of drivers and the GUI ARE INDEED resident in kernel space--right up to Windows XP, and as such run without limitations on privliges. Some have boasted that Windows NT/2K/XP has a "microkernel architecture" however there seems to be little to justify it being called "micro" when so much garbage in other .dlls hitches along for the ride.

    Perhaps I should've spelled it out VERY CLEARLY for the people who speed-read over all the articles and other small words in each post. In any case Windows is so messed up architecturally that it has proven to be unmaintainable. I look forward to see what MS has to offer in its first major post-Vista release. Until then, I have migrated my personal computer to OpenSuSE and will remain a Linux user without giving Microsoft serious consideration as an option. At least I won't have to put up with product activation, massively critical bugs and a too-rapid hardware upgrade cycle.
  • There is no TECHNICAL reason MS can't do this, just ideological and business reasons.

    Absolutely. Otherwise they'd simply use their newly acquired VirtualPC technology to juggle multiple NT kernels, DOS machines, etc., on top of a clean-room next-generation kernel and be done with it. We have the horsepower now, so there are no technical excuses.

    Imagine that -- a new OS with legacy DOS, Win16, and Win32 support and everything. But it's too much to ask for something like that from a multi-billion-dollar corporation...

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun