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MS Upgrades To Be Smaller And More Frequent

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the taking-the-mmog-model dept.

Microsoft 267

duplicantk8 writes "Following the numerous delays to the Vista launch, MS is planning to have more frequent and smaller incremental upgrades, according to the Financial Times." From the article: "Those delays are set to end late next year with the simultaneous launch of new versions of Windows and the Office suite of PC applications in the company's most significant new product cycle since Windows 95. The new versions of the company's key PC software are likely to rekindle higher growth after a period that saw its growth rate slip below 10 per cent for the first time last year, according to Wall Street analysts. Mr Ballmer's comments are the most public sign yet of the dent to Microsoft's confidence in its core development process that resulted from the Vista delays."

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Reboots (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 9 years ago | (#13567815)

Wonder if they have finally figured out a way to update the OS without performing a reboot.

never give it automatic control (4, Interesting)

CiXeL (56313) | about 9 years ago | (#13567985)

it reboots your system for you. really pissed me off how many times i lost work to it.

Re:never give it automatic control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568143)

If only they'd implement some "Auto-save" functionality...

Re:never give it automatic control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568392)

Screw auto-save, how about "automatically install every update available at, reboot, and repeat until there are no more available updates"?

And while I'm at it, how about a comprehensive updater specifically for Windows Small Business Server? Right now it takes several large updaters to get the job done.

Every time I build a server for a client requires babysitting stupid fucking patch sessions, and it's a bullshit waste of time-- especially because of how goddamn long it takes to reboot a Windows server. When it comes to ease of maintenance and administration, Apple's recent stuff makes MS look like a bunch of amateurs.

Just last night . . . (4, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 9 years ago | (#13568237)

I updated several of my devices without a reboot. Those sort of patches seem rare, and likely for good reason.

The catch is that if you need to patch a critical system file, it's orders of magnitude more simple to just replace it upon reboot (since nothing's running). Otherwise you need to close down any applications and services that are using that file. Some system files are used by the GUI interface itself, at which point you're crossing your fingers and hoping it pops back to reality during the patch process.

It's probably technically possible to do certain patches without rebooting, but you'd have to have a savvy enough user to shut down and bring back dependent services. Linux admins are used to that sort of thing. For home users, it's far easier to simply reboot.

Re:never give it automatic control (2, Insightful)

XorNand (517466) | about 9 years ago | (#13568407)

I assume that you're using a corporate workstation? Talk to your sys admin. The Windows Update options are configured via a group policy object. IIRC, the default option is not force a reboot if someone's logged in, so they may have changed it for some reason.

NOT FUNNY!! Re:Reboots (4, Insightful)

putko (753330) | about 9 years ago | (#13568061)

That's not funny.

I think the folks who suffer with Windows are used to rebooting for all sorts of reasons. E.g. IE runs too slow, my app just crashed, I need to install a new program, something is not working, ...

Due to their inability to admin their own machine, some resort to throwing it out and trying again, with new hardware.

I think it is the Unix admins who have the fetish for the no-reboot. Or perhaps a single, precisely done reboot [] , to remotely bring up a machine with an entirely new OS.

Similary, folks who use windows think they need anti-spyware, anti-virus, extra-special firewall crap --- because they think there's no way a computer can withstand the tide of crap without extra-special help. It is just impossible to imagine that an OS [] could withstand it all.

Lately it seems that hardware companies are in the game -- e.g. Intel processors with features designed to make up for the deficiencies of Ballmer's bunch in Redmond.

Re:Reboots (1)

hcob$ (766699) | about 9 years ago | (#13568112)

Yes, it's called "Red Screem of Death." It's much more effective, faster, and absolute than clicking through all those menus.

Re:Reboots (1)

MikeWeller (892399) | about 9 years ago | (#13568175)

In Vista, they have... well, to a certain extent. They're working on something called "Freeze Drying", see this article []
Many apps can be patched while they're running, and are replaced at next restart. We have some of that now, but will have more of it in the Vista release.
This isn't just replacing the app on the next reboot though, they can do 'real' hotpatching.

Re:Reboots (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 9 years ago | (#13568339)

Wasn't that very capability one of the features promised for Windows NT 4.0?

scratching head (1)

part_of_you (859291) | about 9 years ago | (#13567817)

Following the numerous delays to the Vista launch, MS is planning to have more frequent and smaller incremental upgrades,

Isn't that what "Service Packs" are?

Re:scratching head (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 9 years ago | (#13567854)

No, this is an attempt to make you *pay* for Service Packs.

2008: Upgrade to Windows Vista version 2.0 for only $200!
2009: Upgrade to Windows Vista version 3.0 for only $225!
2010: Upgrade to Windows Vista version 4.0 for only $275!
2011: Upgrade to Windows Vista version 4.0 for only $350!
2012: Upgrade to Windows Vista version 5.0 for only $1000!

Re:scratching head (2, Insightful)

courtarro (786894) | about 9 years ago | (#13567950)

It's not as if that's a new idea though. Mac OS 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 ...

Incremental upgrades: another Apple idea Microsoft likes and plans to borrow?

Re:scratching head (1)

dancpsu (822623) | about 9 years ago | (#13567968)

Yeah, but they better give users a more compelling reason to update than a find utility and some desktop widgets.

Re:scratching head (1)

shotfeel (235240) | about 9 years ago | (#13568208)

For those of us who can't tell for sure...

Are you referring to Tiger or Vista?

Re:scratching head (1)

sqlrob (173498) | about 9 years ago | (#13568007)

Or that Microsoft hasn't done it already, just not as quickly

Win NT 5.0, Win NT 5.1

Re:scratching head (3, Insightful)

toddbu (748790) | about 9 years ago | (#13568187)

It's not as if that's a new idea though.

Maybe Microsoft has come to the realization that the rest of the world has - that every new version of Windows isn't as "revolutionary" as Windows 95 was. Ever since the end of the .com era when computers really just became commodity items, Microsoft has been trying to convince us that their next new OS will also be the next greatest thing in computing. Much of what I've read about Vista isn't all that interesting, and it's good to see the computer industry give Vista the coverage that it deserves. If Microsoft hopes to avoid going down in flames altogether, it has to adopt the incremental strategy that everyone else uses. What will be interesting to see is if Microsoft can manage this well. With 7 new flavors of Vista alone, throwing more versions of the OS into the mix at a rapid rate is just going to confuse the market even further. To be at all successful, the first thing that they'll have to do it switch back to a numbering system like Mac or their old year-based system (95/98/2000) so that people can keep tabs on their OS. This is good not only from a marketing standpoint where people feel like they've got an old copy of the OS that they want to upgrade, but it's also good from a patch standpoint. How are people to know whether ending the life cycle of a named OS is going to impact their version?

Personally, I think that Microsoft will continue to implode under the weight of Windows. The testing alone on all the various current and future versions of Windows will suck up a significant amount of their resources. I'd be willing to bet that just a few years after Vista is released that Microsoft starts talking about end-of-life for XP because they can't sustain all those different releases. Of course so few people will have paid to upgrade their machines from the last release that there will still be a huge number of people running old code. Then they'll need to have a discounted upgrade program, which further erodes earnings, leading to even less support, and the cycle goes on...

Re:scratching head (1, Redundant)

dancpsu (822623) | about 9 years ago | (#13567873)

No, you didn't have to *pay* for service packs.

Re:scratching head (4, Funny)

Golias (176380) | about 9 years ago | (#13567884)

Basically they are saying that "Black Tuesday" becomes "Black Nine Fifteen In The Morning."

I'm sure sysdmins in MS-centric shops all over the world are rejoicing.

Re:scratching head (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568145)

Or "Instead of delaying it even longer, we'll fix it as we go along and hope no one notices we are releasing patches for stuff we should have fixed before roll-out".

Seems to me they are still using the "update" line on the public where they should be using "oops, we f***ed up", it will just be more frequent.

Re:scratching head (1)

Golias (176380) | about 9 years ago | (#13568236)

Or "Instead of delaying it even longer, we'll fix it as we go along and hope no one notices we are releasing patches for stuff we should have fixed before roll-out".

Well, to be fair, nearly every software company plays that game these days. It wasn't always like this... The ability to release patches via the Internet has led to a mentality that missed dates are a bigger problem than critical post-release bugs.

Re:scratching head (1)

malelder (414533) | about 9 years ago | (#13568298)

Well, the sysadmins who know its easy to disable Automatic Updates using Group Policy, use some other type of update server, and know what they are doing in general are rejoicing...

As for the other 80% of the MS-centric shops all over the world, I can see them having some issues with such an ordeal.

Re:scratching head (1)

RUFFyamahaRYDER (887557) | about 9 years ago | (#13567913)

Yes, samething, but Microsoft is going to make it a big deal this time so they can pretend they are keeping up with Apple's updates on the MAC OS. I'm sure Microsoft's updates won't be called "service packs", but we all know that's what they'll be.

Smaller changes? (4, Funny)

JordanL (886154) | about 9 years ago | (#13567825)

I don't think they can get much smaller than the changes planned in Vista.

Re:Smaller changes? (2, Insightful)

Iriel (810009) | about 9 years ago | (#13568009)

On a serious note, I think this is the reason so many features were taken out of Vista. I've already read about things like the hallowed WinFS to be available as a downloadable patch to Windows 2000 and XP machines as well as Vista.

Something tells me that with the increasing popularity of broadband internet in the home, Microsoft can hold back features and release them as 'special' or 'premium' updates to make up for an otherwise sub-standard OS upon its launch. As long as enough people can reasonably download it, they'll feel like they're getting the royal treatment, but in reality, that patch is a company using faster downloads to make up for thier own inadequacies.

It may be backhanded to deliver a $200 product over the span of a year or so, but at least now, it can finally be delivered.

That's just my thoughts, though.

Re:Smaller changes? (1)

JordanL (886154) | about 9 years ago | (#13568105)

It's not really that Vista was delayed so much or that its improvements are cosmetic and minimal... but its more that I can't see them using the same business model with smaller releases. People intrinsically will not pay $200 for something they download. There is a percieved value issue that happens when people say "What did I pay for... the right to download something on the internet? I already pay Comcast/AOL/MSN/etc. for that..." People don't want to pay for downloads, and they don't want to go to the store every month to pick up an update. I'm not sure that MSs business model will survive a change like this.

Re:Smaller changes? (2, Insightful)

Iriel (810009) | about 9 years ago | (#13568242)

There's something you said that explain exactly why people will pay $200 for something they download: perceive

Vista's big marketing is about security (which most users wouldn't care about if they weren't told that they should) and how pretty it is. The fact that it looks so shiney and new is what makes people think it's a bold new product with all new...things that they can't explain, but they're in there! People are mostly going to pay for it because it looks like it's something new and then the 'updates' will give the illusion that they bought a whole OS with benefits. If you want people to pay for downloads, you don't tell them them that. This is where marketing comes in.

For Jill and Joe Sixpack, they won't know the major changes in the codebase and most of them and have never even heard of Longhorn. So they (in most probability) won't even know what they were supposed to get in the first place.

Re:Smaller changes? (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | about 9 years ago | (#13568013)

That's what I'm thinking. I'm hearing all over the place,including here, that this is MS's "most significant new product cycle since Windows 95. Seriously what is being changed so drastically? We can all see big changes from Win 3.1 to Win 95, but Win XP to Win Vista only adds some transparency AFAIK. What's the big deal?

Re:Smaller changes? (2, Informative)

amliebsch (724858) | about 9 years ago | (#13568280)

Windows has had translucency since Win2000. The big deal for me is the deprecation of the Win32 platform, the first-class status of managed code, the deprecation of GDI and the introduction of the new DirectX compositing system, and some very significant changes to the security model. The Windows UI that they create is more of an afterthought as far as I am concerned. I'm much more interested what I can do with it as a developer, and I was blown away by the Sparkle demo yesterday.

What..... (0, Troll)

ericdano (113424) | about 9 years ago | (#13567829)

What, doesn't, um, Apple do that already?

Oh, I forgot, since Microsuck is doing it, it is Innovation. Gotcha.

It makes more sense though, if they copy, I mean, innovate it like the Apple way...

Re:What..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568116)

A Troll? WTF? You guys suck around here!

Re:What..... (3, Funny)

coolGuyZak (844482) | about 9 years ago | (#13568267)

I think the mispelling of Microsoft is what did the post in. Acceptable mispellings include "M$" "Micro$oft" "MSFT" and "M$FT"... "Microsuck" is really hitting below the belt. (Well, it implies that something is happening below the belt, at any rate).

Mod this up! (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 9 years ago | (#13568224)

this isnt a troll this is the truth, Microsoft is just taking another play out of Apples book, and one that Apples been doing for well over 7 years now ever since OS 9. Everyone knows its smarter to update your software as you find problems but M$ is well known to let bugs sit around for 3-6 months before they update it in one huge chunk.

Re:Mod this up! (1)

coolGuyZak (844482) | about 9 years ago | (#13568316)

I believe this was an OSS mantra before either Apple or Microsoft picked up on it. And I am sure that it existed even before that. As far as development models go, it makes more sense to release often anyway.

nice (2, Interesting)

Quasar1999 (520073) | about 9 years ago | (#13567833)

We want to make life easier by giving only one update a month... then a few months later... we want to ensure timely security patches, so we will release them as soon as we make them...

I think they're trying to please too many people at the same time... this is called 'impossible'... ;)

Re:nice (3, Insightful)

JordanL (886154) | about 9 years ago | (#13567895)

You know, as long as they use things like DRM to manage updates, they're going to have trouble. It's the dubious copies of Windows that need the updates the most, and it would be a shame if MS excluded them to spite them, and in turn, spited every other computer on the same network.

Re:nice (2, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | about 9 years ago | (#13568132)

Your right, they should still install updates. In fact, they need to install an update that inadvertently opens up about 50 nasty eat-your-machine exploits on "dubious" copies of Windows. Then after the viruses kill 'em off, we no longer need to worry about those computers.

Re:nice (1)

ericdano (113424) | about 9 years ago | (#13568164)

Microsoft has had DRM since......XP? Wasn't XP the first version required to "phone home" and verify itself? And Pirates had a version out that bypassed this before the product shipped.

In fact, if I remember correctly, when Service Pack 2 came out, it effectively nullified a lot of "dubious" XP installs. It didn't worked, obviously.

We can wax-poetic about DRM, but the idea of incremental updates is a step forward.

Re:nice (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | about 9 years ago | (#13568504)

The pirates did little work in removing the calling-home functionality of the oh so popular FCKGW release of WinXP. What they did is release a Corporate Edition of WinXP, which was designed to use a volume licence key, and therefore not call home in the first place.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568511)

SP2 simply blacklisted a bunch of serial numbers that were floating around on the warez sites. I'm not sure that would qualify as DRM.

Re:nice (1)

JordanL (886154) | about 9 years ago | (#13568571)

I'm pretty sure that MS was originally going to check keys on SP2 then decided against it in favor of securing the most computers possible to reduce the amount of malicious network traffic as much as possible. All I'm saying is that it will be a lot less headache on the rest of us if our networks aren't being bombarded with 2 year old exploits because two computers are using OEM copies or something like that.

They should've done this from the beginning (1)

Eagle-Y (891220) | about 9 years ago | (#13567899)

Holding a security patch to a set date is not wise and only benifits those who want to exploit the OS

Re:nice (1)

dancpsu (822623) | about 9 years ago | (#13567906)

Not when "ensuring timely security patches" is the same thing as telling someone to purchase Windows Vista 3.1r6 from the local Best Buy ($199 after rebate).

Windows update.... (5, Funny)

Misanthrope (49269) | about 9 years ago | (#13567839)

For some reason windows update will be replaced by the commands.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Re:Windows update.... (4, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | about 9 years ago | (#13567996)

Okay, they are really in trouble if Debian releases more frequently than them!

Re:Windows update.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568127)

I'm sorry you have mispelled those commands. The proper format is:

emerge --sync
emerge -vu world


Re:Windows update.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568318)

they said smaller and faster. not longer and slower

Re:Windows update.... (2, Interesting)

Eberlin (570874) | about 9 years ago | (#13568346)

On a more serious note...

However much I love the way you can do that apt-get update/upgrade bit, synaptic, and even that alert thingy you get with Ubuntu about new updates, I do think we could learn a bit from the whole "smaller patches" thing.

Cases in point -- I understand that they're working on incremental patching for Firefox for the future release. Currently, if you want an update, you download the entire program again. Did they ever get that multiple uninstall icons in Windows thing fixed? I usually download the latest ver, uninstall the old one, then install the newer one where I formerly had to dig around in the registry to get rid of those extra "add/remove" entries.

Most of a distro's packages (if not all of 'em) work on the same principle of downloading the new one, uninstalling the old one, and installing the new. Fine and well if it's a small lib or something. Pretty bad when you've got to get security updates for the guts of KDE or OpenOffice.

I guess this may be one of the consequences of software choice/freedom. Many architectures, different options, different circumstances prevent one generalized small patching system. Have to take the whole thing out and plop a new one in.

Out of curiosity, how does something like a Gentoo deal with security patches and bugfixes? Would they need to recompile each time? That would be a bigger drag than an apt-get update.

Re:Windows update.... (1)

varmittang (849469) | about 9 years ago | (#13568415)

Easier this way:

sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

Re:Windows update.... (2, Funny)

tpgp (48001) | about 9 years ago | (#13568493)

And there will be a file in c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\sources.list

# See Windows Help file on sources.list for more information
# Remember that you can only use http, ftp or file URIs
cab [] vista unstable main

# Uncomment if you want the amt-get source function to work
#cab-src [] vista unstable main

# Uncomment if you want amt reallyunstable
#cab-src [] vista reallyunstable main

# Uncomment if you want amt reallyreallyunstable
#cab-src [] vista reallyreallyunstable main

Re:Windows update.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568570)

Actually, with the hire of Daniel Robins (Gentoo), the upgrades will probably be

sudo emerge update world

Great (3, Interesting)

dancpsu (822623) | about 9 years ago | (#13567843)

These "smaller and more frequent" releases were formerly free bugfixes. Now they will be crap you have to pay for. I think we'll see things like the service pack issues where small fix #9 worked okay, but #8 and #10 had horrible issues.

The learning process (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#13567846)

Even big giant corporations with obscene profits can learn from nimble little Linux and Open Source.

It only took about a zillion years for them to invent the idea...

Re:The learning process (1)

shotfeel (235240) | about 9 years ago | (#13568084)

Or even Apple. I know many a Mac user breathe a sigh of relief when Panther was released and Jobs said they would slow the turnover rate to every 18 months or so instead of every year.

The question is, since Vista is such a major rewrite, did they design the OS from the core to be modular and easily upgradable? Did they put in the necessary layers of abstraction to make both hardware and software changes easy? That's one thing that's really payed off for Apple. Even though it didn't always make for the most efficient use of resources, the OS was designed to be modified.

too ambitious? (4, Interesting)

sqlrob (173498) | about 9 years ago | (#13567851)

Wasn't WinFS originally supposed to be out with NT 4, and they *still* can't make it?

No thanks! (1)

Splork2 (152140) | about 9 years ago | (#13567870)

So they want us to pay $150.00 per month for a security patch? No thanks. The more I hear about Vista, the more I want to stay with XP. Heck, I'd revert back to 2000 if it wasn't for a support drop. Get a grip Microsoft.

Woody? (3, Funny)

beforewisdom (729725) | about 9 years ago | (#13567879)

Does this mean that microsoft will have more releases than Debian Woody?

It won't help (4, Interesting)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | about 9 years ago | (#13567882)

Smaller, more frequent upgrades will cost more to publish, will increase their support costs, and won't result in increased sales/upgrades. Most home users upgrade automatically when they buy a new PC, most corporate users upgrade en masse when there is good reason to do so. Trying to shorten the upgrade cycle in the corporate environment will backfire. Smart IT managers will still only upgrade when there is a compelling reason to do so, and now they might have the opportunity to cherry-pick smaller upgrades that would theoretically be less expensive.

Microsoft almost got it right with XP, but then they got greedy/stupid at the last minute and fragmented the product line (first Pro v Home, then Media). The 31 flavors of Vista is bad enough, but to compound that with multiple, more frequent upgrades will be even worse.

Re:It won't help (5, Insightful)

theantipop (803016) | about 9 years ago | (#13567946)

It has yet to hurt Apple. I don't see the difference between the proposed schedule and what OSX has doing for years.

Re:It won't help (1)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | about 9 years ago | (#13568370)

True, but (so far as I know -- I don't work with Macs much) there aren't multiple flavors of Mac OS X (aside from server). Plus, Apple doesn't have the wide-spread corporate presence that makes enterprise upgrades such a pain. And besides, we all know that anyone with a Mac is just a sucker with more money than they know what to with that will buy anything Steve tells them to :)

Fragment... (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | about 9 years ago | (#13568036)

Microsoft almost got it right with XP, but then they got greedy/stupid at the last minute and fragmented the product line (first Pro v Home, then Media).

What I'm really worried about is that features that I want will be mutually exclusive between versions. In other words, I'll be forced buy the "Ultra" or "Ultimate" or whatever version to get what I need. Then again, it may just to confuse the consumer. I know a few people who bought XP Pro even though they just use their computers to surf the web and write letters. No VPN or anything like that.

Re:It won't help (0)

Pecisk (688001) | about 9 years ago | (#13568119)

I would be like to mod you insightful, your comment is right on line. I never got XP split in home/pro versions, because it created more confusion than helped customers. Also I agree with that part that most users get their Windows with new computer, and corporate users won't upgrade for five years at minimum. is maybe they want to copy Apple, but why? I don't any nor finansial nor logical reason to do so in this case.

Marketing driving development (2, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 9 years ago | (#13567900)

This is what happens when the marketing people drive the development process. You end up with lots of crap.

Compare to non-proprietary development where there is no rush to create features, and security issues get resolved quickly.

Why doesn't Bill (2, Funny)

pHatidic (163975) | about 9 years ago | (#13567903)

Just change his name to Steve and call it a day.

as opposed to (1)

wardk (3037) | about 9 years ago | (#13567910)

security-enhacing and non-pain-in-the-assing?

Beleaguered (5, Insightful)

sg3000 (87992) | about 9 years ago | (#13567912)

Remember the 1997 buzzword "beleaguered"?

Does anyone else remember in the mid 1990s when Apple announced the same thing? It was around 1996 [] , and Apple was finding it impossible to get its next generation Copland/Mac OS 8 operating system out the door. I think it was then-CEO Gil Amelio who announced after several years of delays that Apple wasn't going to do monolithic releases any longer. They would do little ones to be more manageable. Eventually, they came out with Mac OS 7.6, Mac OS 8 (what many considered to be 7.7), and Mac OS 9. That's also when they started shopping around, looking at Be and NeXT.

As Apple discovered--and now, I guess Microsoft is discovering the same thing-- it's really hard to keep backwards compatibility, drive new features, and do it within a reasonable budget when you have a big installed base. Apple's installed base was never more than a small fraction of Microsoft's, but Microsoft's resources were also proportionately more extensive.

Microsoft is having as many (or more) delays with Longhorn/Vista as Apple had with Copland/Mac OS 8. In the mean time, Apple bit the bullet with NeXT/Mac OS X back in 1997, and now they're seeing some pretty good returns on their investment. Releases have been fairly rapid, and they've introduced lots of innovative features.

So as far as coming up with their next OS, Microsoft, you can use the word now. Apple doesn't need it any more.

Re:Beleaguered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13567974)

Great post. Just want to add to your point and throw in mention of the release of Mac OS 8.1 (free upgrade), and Mac OS 8.5 (which cost money).

Re:Beleaguered (5, Informative)

sg3000 (87992) | about 9 years ago | (#13568260)

I can't find the original article, so here's the only reference I could find:

During his keynote speech at MACWORLD Expo Boston ... Dr. Amelio announced a fundamental shift in the way that Apple delivers new operating-system functionality.

Dr. Amelio stated in his keynote speech that Apple is changing its strategy to deliver new functionality through incremental releases rather than large monolithic releases. Moving forward, Apple intends to follow the industry model of shipping software releases in incremental segments. ... The motivation for this change is that Apple believes that its current model of monolithic system-software releases isn't working, and that it doesn't allow Apple to get software advancements out to customers and developers soon enough.

I found a similar statement in a Boston Globe article from August 8, 1996:
As far as Apple's new operating system, known as Copland, Amelio wouldn't give a release date, saying instead the company would begin selling components of the new operating system as they become available. Such
piecemeal advances in the operating system are part of a broader shift by Apple away from big, monolithic upgrades. "Copland is going to appear, but it's going to appear over a series of releases," said Amelio.

Who would have thought that about a decade later, it would seem like Microsoft was having the same problems:
Microsoft has overhauled its core software development practices to avoid any repetition of the delays that have bedevilled the next planned version of Windows, according to Steve Ballmer, the company's chief executive.

The changes, along with plans to release more frequent, less ambitious versions of the widely used software, mark a significant shift in Microsoft's approach following one of the most troubled new product cycles in its 30-year history.

"We attempted something that was beyond the planning and conceptualisation of the system," Mr Ballmer said of Windows Vista, the much-delayed version of the software that is now planned for late next year.

"The product cycle has been longer than it should have been," he told the FT.

Of course, what fixed Apple was not doing incremental releases. They had to do a step-function switch to Mac OS X.

MOD UP (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 years ago | (#13568491)

A most interesting direct comparison sir and/or maam!

Re:Beleaguered (1)

varmittang (849469) | about 9 years ago | (#13568453)

To add, there are many changes still going on in OS X, that backwards compatablity is being broken in release to release (.3 to .4 had major changes). Changes that has Cisco and MS running to catch up since VPN Client go broken and so did some features of VPC. There will be even more breaks when 10.5 comes, since the kernel is always getting new features and major changes.

Mostly Tiger (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 years ago | (#13568531)

There are some breaks release to release but Tiger had a big shift in Kernel API's - the promise is that going forward that API should be pretty settled and OK to ride of top of. Tiger was a shift of a magnitude developers should not see again for a while.

Prices? (1)

jolar (905312) | about 9 years ago | (#13567930)

So if they're going to be releasing more often with less features, will the cost of their software like, say, Office, be cheaper? Or will people skip a few versions between upgrades?

Or is this talking about updates you get from Windows Update for free?

Bah (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13567949)

Isn't Vista incremental enough for them?

I bet VISTA is going to be buggy .... (0, Troll)

vmaxxxed (734128) | about 9 years ago | (#13567952)

Myabe its because they want to go back to the "Deliver crap so that they will want to keep upgrading..." They wont make the same mistake as with Windows XP and 2000: They were so stable that there was no demand for windows 2003. Some people dont even know 2003 exists!! So, I guess Ballmer has two options: Change the business model to profit from real inovation, or go back to profit from people wanting to get out of buggy products. ... seems they are going to go the buggy way.....

Re:I bet VISTA is going to be buggy .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13568102)

Windows 2003 == Windows XP Server

Re:I bet VISTA is going to be buggy .... (2)

ahaning (108463) | about 9 years ago | (#13568104)

Some people dont even know 2003 exists!

Durrr. "Windows 2003" is only available as Windows Server 2003. It is intended for a different market than 2000 (business) or XP (home/business).

Re:I bet VISTA is going to be buggy .... (2)

daern (526012) | about 9 years ago | (#13568137)

They wont make the same mistake as with Windows XP and 2000: They were so stable that there was no demand for windows 2003. Some people dont even know 2003 exists!!

...whereas some people can't tell the difference between consumer and enterprise (server) releases of software.

People who need to know about Windows 2003 know about it. My mum doesn't need to know, so she is blissfully ignorant.

Re:I bet VISTA is going to be buggy .... (1)

torako (532270) | about 9 years ago | (#13568170)

Some people dont even know 2003 exists!!
That's because 2003 is a server only release and only very few use (pirated?) copies on their home box. 2003 would have made an excellent update to XP though..

Re:I bet VISTA is going to be buggy .... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 9 years ago | (#13568225)

Can you uprade from XP to 2003?

I thought 2003 was server caching n on 2000's good name, and XP was 2000 Xtra Powerful (sucky).

Except I love how XP handles folders full of photos (with built in print and order online).

Bait and catch mom and pop (1)

wyoung76 (764124) | about 9 years ago | (#13567969)

Let's just play the Devil's advocate here, and suggest that Microsoft makes a lot more smaller incremental updates and upgrades, but uses a shareware-type model where they give away the minor upgrades to ensure their audience stays watching and waiting for more.

That way they can keep people interested, move quicker, and can spend plenty of other time improving their underlying architecture to support even more stuff later.

They could even use the incremental upgrades as trojans for installing the base libraries for other applications they're developing.

Possibilities are endless here...

WinFS will be in the final build (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13567970)

M$ recently release a beta version of WinFS, so i guess it will be there in the final version

Kind of reminds me of... (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | about 9 years ago | (#13567979)

My Linux boxes running yum?

MS becomes agile?..switches to XP for development? (5, Funny)

FerretFrottage (714136) | about 9 years ago | (#13567989)

Wouldn't you love the be the developer who gets Ballmer or Gates as your pair programmer.

[developer]:You forgot to comment that code

[Ballmer]: (pickup chair and tosses it smashing his triple head display of Dell 2405 monitors) The code comment's itself!!!

[developer]: What about best practices? I'm suppose to be learning from you.

[Ballmer]: Well then start by getting off you ass and picking up that chair. Now with both hands on the arm rests.....NO NO NO...use you're back to lift, not your legs.

Re:MS becomes agile?..switches to XP for developme (2, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 9 years ago | (#13568579)

I don't know why you got modded funny,
its a terrible idea to lift with your back instead of your legs.

"Bend at the knees" is what they say
Cause there's nothing funny about back pain.

If I get modded down, someone obviously didn't get the humor.

It feels strange... (3, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | about 9 years ago | (#13568018)

It is like Microsoft is really have woken up finally and started to do something. Last few years I have had that expression that all what Microsoft wants to do is bullying it's customers. Now they are trying to impress everyone with PR shock, flooding in massive with lots of info about new products.

Yeah, they feel competition, and I thank any single Linux/BSD/Solaris distro, Firefox, Apple for that. Because it is all what we need to get IT really work for common crowd - to be useful, productive, etc.

If I am honest, I have seen new screenshots and well - they don't impress me. So far I have seen a habbit to even KDE guys admit that less is more, don't even talk about GNOME and OS X guys. And here comes Windows Vista with what can I call - detail overblown. Yeah, nothing in the stone yet and I hope they will get rid of that "so-much-details-that-my-destkop-looks-like-page-o f-the-comics-book".

p.s. I'm not Windows user, I'm Linux/OS X advocate, but still I can't ignore what happens to
Windows world as lot of my colegues and friends uses it.
p.s.s. and yes, I think GNOME/KDE guys can create
much better and more functional eye candy than that.

Innovations (2, Interesting)

Tachikoma (878191) | about 9 years ago | (#13568039)

If I hear innovations out of MS's mouth one more time I swear...
All of the innovative features I've heard about in the up coming ms poo (read: vista) is that it will have a cleaner gui (read: like aqua) allow for icons to be representative of what they contain (like osx) and genie like effects for minimizing things (like osx)
It's such a buzz word these days.
the only innovation I see is copying other peoples stuff, and suing the pants off of anyone who even glances at theirs.
I bet all 7 versions of vista blow.

And what's worse, I'll probably still end up using it at work.

Today at work I was talking shit about vista. . . imagine that. A co-worker said "I can't wait for the new internet explorer!" and was serious.
I asked why, and he said "because it's going to be awesome!". again he was serious. I almost vomited.

I had to hear the rest, so I asked why it would be awesome. "its going to have tabbed browsing and other cool stuff!"
What other cool stuff I asked. "Stuff" was his reply.

Being excited about tabbed browsing is like getting excited because the new '06 Lexus will have a bose tape deck

Wait, Old Dirty Bastard is dead?! (-1, Offtopic)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 9 years ago | (#13568045)


Wasn't Win XP just that. (2, Interesting)

freidog (706941) | about 9 years ago | (#13568101)

A very minor update to 2000 to convince people to shell out another $100 for a better looking interface, a couple of moderately usefull features little else?

Isn't that why most of the corperate and even many home users (like myself) of 2000 opted NOT to upgrade at all?

The article was sketchy, maybe smaller expense, smaller expectations make some sense. Less cost (to MS and the consumer I would think) per upgrade, less benifit, decide to upgrade every few years, but MS has part of the user base upgrading all the time, not just in the year or so after a big software release.

Re:Wasn't Win XP just that. (1)

Lispy (136512) | about 9 years ago | (#13568176)

No no, just as Vista now XP was the "most significant new product cycle since Windows 95". *moan*

Even their PR is getting boring. Get a grip Microsoft.

Deja Vu All Over Again (1)

ergo98 (9391) | about 9 years ago | (#13568111)

"Those delays are set to end late next year with the simultaneous launch of new versions of Windows and the Office suite of PC applications in the company's most significant new product cycle since Windows 95."

This quote comes from the article, not Microsoft (though it might have indirectly), however this same claim is made for every single generational release. Every media outlet picks it up and repeats it like a mantra "Most important, most significant release since Windows 95". Blah.

Everything MS is an incremental upgrade (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 9 years ago | (#13568125)

Since each MS app you install worms its way into the operating system, every time you install something from MS, you're "upgrading" and "patching" Windows.

Here we go again (2, Informative)

FatRatBastard (7583) | about 9 years ago | (#13568146)

Those delays are set to end late next year with the simultaneous launch of new versions of Windows and the Office suite of PC applications in the company's most significant new product cycle since Windows 95.

This phrase gets dusted off for every OS release MS makes. Heard it for 98, ME, 2000, XP, 2003... and will continue to hear it for every other bloody version MS flogs.

One hit wonder (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 years ago | (#13568577)

Note that the statement does not say "a release MORE significant than Windows 95".

Windows 95 was like the major hit from an artist, where people keep buying thier music for a while because that one osng was so good. Eventually though you realize it's the same old tune and move on.

MSFT: Where you're not just a customer (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about 9 years ago | (#13568174)

You're a revenue stream. Smaller and more frequent updates means bigger and more frequent payments to Redmond. And more confusion for the poor end users. Can you imagine some poor schmoe at the computer store saying he wants Windows? Which Windows would that be, sir? Windows Basic, Windows Enhanced Basic, Windows Pro...

And the version tracking for patching and application compatibility testing. Holy crap! It's like the sound of a million sysads saying "Screw you!" all at once.

This Just In.. (1)

TheBrutalTruth (890948) | about 9 years ago | (#13568273)

Where's that BS - O - Meter when you need it??

"with the simultaneous launch of new versions of Windows and the Office suite of PC applications in the company's most significant new product cycle since Windows 95"

Hasn't every product cycle that M$ has pushed supposedly been the "most significant since Winwods 95"?

And WINDOWS 95 is our measuring stick for a ground-breaking, life changing OS?

Version numbers (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 9 years ago | (#13568288)

Blah, blah, blah. How is this different from how most software vendors operate?

Now that we're publishing a new version, version 5.0, we're not going to jump right to 6.0. Instead, please be informed that you will have the pleasure of purchasing versions 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.31, 5.32, and 5.4. Or, if you buy our nifty support package, you can upgrade for free*!

*Free as in not out-of-pocket since you already paid for it.

And I'm not even going to get into the fact that a lot of these incremental upgrades will just be adding functionality that was to be incorporated into Vista in the first place. Assuring a future revenue stream?

Big plans = big investment (1)

Swamii (594522) | about 9 years ago | (#13568305)

Vista was a huge vision: a new metadata-based file system, a new UI shell based on secure, managed code, a new command shell, a new UI based on DirectX that supplants the aged old GDI, a new primary developer API to supplant Win32 including APIs to the new UI and the new cross-platform messaging service, an updated browser, virtual folders, a new development model (look @ MSDN for avalon express applications), just to name a few.

Some of those features just had to be cut back or removed; with all those changes, it's no wonder the OS was delayed so many times. People complained after the delays, and now MS is forced to have smaller, shorter iterations of software releases. As long as they also cut down on the price tag, this will be good for both Windows users and Microsoft itself.

OpenDoc? (0, Flamebait)

zarmanto (884704) | about 9 years ago | (#13568342)

From the end of the article: "Executives have talked of taking a more 'modular' approach to Microsoft's biggest products, breaking them down into smaller elements that can be worked on independently."

That sounds an awful lot like the late OpenDoc [] platform to me. So perhaps they're doing a double-Apple-copy this time... Blatently copy Apple's product release strategy -- since Steve has been consistently beating them about the head and shoulders with it during his recent keynote speeches -- and then go dig up a dead Apple product that's been long forgotten to replicate, so that everyone thinks that Microsoft came up with it themselves! By jove, it's brilliant!

Deja Vu? (4, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | about 9 years ago | (#13568350)

2005: with the simultaneous launch of new versions of Windows and the Office suite of PC applications in the company's most significant new product cycle since Windows 95

IIRC, wasn't almost the very same sentence used in 2001 prior to the launch of Windows XP?

I can see this as only a good thing... (4, Interesting)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 9 years ago | (#13568539)

For Linux that is.

Tell me which corporation will install a new point release of ANY Microsoft OS? Hell, remember service pack 2? That's technically speaking, a whole point release. And where I work, and countless other places, IT managers opted NOT to install it for a *very* long time until the bugs were worked out in that point release.

This idea of 'smaller' and 'more frequent' upgrades plays merely into the Linux world's hands. The problem with Windows is that there's a tie-in to everything. So if a change must be made, it affects the OS at the kernel level. With Linux, kernel updates aren't as frequent nor as impacting. However, KDE can release a new version and since it's part of x windows and not attached to the OS in a surgical manner, it really doesn't matter. People don't know that now because Linux isn't mainstream, but they will when they find themselves extensively testing for compatibility with legacy apps they have in-house, or whatever with regards to Windows.

This is the opportunity for the Linux community to come together and offer a *true* desktop competitor to Windows. As it stands right now, and I know the /. users will voice complaint -- Linux on the desktop sucks. The key to break into that market is ease of use and while as /.ers we can generally 'figure it out' even if we are unfamiliar, the average Joe will not. Apple is going in the right direction there but with limited hardware and inflated prices, it's not a viable alternative for the desktop, as pretty as it is.

If Linux as a desktop becomes EASY to use (and I mean damned near idiotproof), the server can pretty much remain as it is. Nobody cares about the server when they are using their desktop, especially as an end-user in say, Accounting. They just want to get their figures out the door without having applications crash and close on them.

Now's the time to do it though.. Microsoft is going to set themselves up badly with Vista... and sometimes you only get one good chance to whack the bad guy in the back of the head. And then kick him while he's down :)
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