Why I’m looking forward to Windows 7

Veteran Windows developer Larry Osterman compares and contrasts the Windows 7 and Windows Vista development processes.

Here’s how Windows 7 is being built:

A feature is not permitted to be checked into the winmain branch until it is complete. And I do mean complete: the feature has to be capable of being shipped before it hits winmain – the UI has to be finished, the feature has to be fully functional, etc.

By contrast:

Back in the Vista day, it was not uncommon for feature development to be spread over multiple milestones – stuff was checked into the tree that really didn’t work completely.

You could see this process work itself out in real time back in mid-2006, when Vista release candidates were appearing. My Windows Vista Inside Out co-authors and I met with and talked to feature teams who were checking in unfinished code and changing core parts of the user interface up until what were supposed to be release candidates. Here, for example, is what I wrote on July 31, 2006:

There’s some truly great stuff in Windows Vista, but current builds are not at the quality level they need to be at for a release candidate to appear in the next few weeks. If management insists on hitting an arbitrary January ship date, the results will be disappointing at best, and potentially nightmarish.

Everything I’m hearing about Windows 7 from people who’ve seen it and from those who are currently using it suggests that the new sheriff has done everything possible to make sure that the Vista experience isn’t repeated.

If you’re a Windows geek, Larry’s post is a must-read.

4 thoughts on “Why I’m looking forward to Windows 7

  1. The headline says, “Ballmer to CIOs: It’s OK to wait until Windows 7”

    How interesting. After trying to push Vista, now Steve is backing off a little. Is this reverse “FUD”? Maybe that could be called “DUF”?

    Obviously, from the link you provided, the pressure is on Redmond to regain their damaged cred.

  2. When will we be reading about Windows 7 features? Is this information under embargo?

    Should I skip Vista and wait for Windows 7?

    I just built a new system with an Athlon 64 X2 dual-core CPU. I’m running Windows XP Pro.

  3. Dan, Microsoft has been extremely quiet about Windows 7. They’ll be discussing it publicly for the first time in detail at the Professional Developers Conference at the end of thsi month. I’ll be there and will be writing about it extensively here and at ZDNet.

  4. I like the idea’s behind the driver model in this time having IHV’s having to test against Windows 7 if they want Vista WHQL’s.

    This is what has hurt Vista, So many drivers, So many vendors.

    I do wonder how MSFT will go with the Fingerprint Reader they have no x64 drivers for at the moment. 😛

    Obscure and luckily a rather recent and relevant thread to drop this to you with at the same time Ed after your mention at ZDNet about the ongoing x64 driver issue.

    Anyway I posted the link to Page 12 of the TechNet forum where I pretty much have the top and bottom posts on that page which you may find of interest.


    Stephen Edgar
    ps. Feel free to email me offline if you so choose.

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