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Heads Roll As Microsoft Misses Vista Target

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the the-pressure-is-on dept.

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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Oh, but it's OK (2, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002228)

...cause I hear Linux is out already.

You may joke about it, but (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002252)

with millions of customers still running on that old version of Paint this is no laughing matter.

Re:You may joke about it, but (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002472)

Ha ha. Wimpy girly artist man. Paint it powerful. You just have to do everything by hand. It doesn't do it for you.

Whoa, I got my first flamebait (-1, Offtopic)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002359)

...and I didn't even mean to be one. Bad moderator, bad moderator.

NYTimes Article Access (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002231)

Either go to CNet's Hosting [com.com] of the article or use this login.

Username: slashdot25
Password: Slashdot

The article in its entirety if you want to read it here:

Windows Is So Slow, but Why?

By STEVE LOHR and JOHN MARKOFF
Published: March 27, 2006
Back in 1998, the federal government declared that its landmark antitrust suit against the Microsoft Corporation was not merely a matter of law enforcement, but a defense of innovation. The concern was that the company was wielding its market power and its strategy of bundling more and more features into its dominant Windows desktop operating system to thwart competition and stifle innovation.

Windows 95 had 15 million lines of code. That grew to 18 million lines by the time Windows 98 launched, above. Windows XP, released in 2001, has 35 million lines of code.

Eight years later, long after Microsoft lost and then settled the antitrust case, it turns out that Windows is indeed stifling innovation -- at Microsoft.

The company's marathon effort to come up with the a new version of its desktop operating system, called Windows Vista, has repeatedly stalled. Last week, in the latest setback, Microsoft conceded that Vista would not be ready for consumers until January, missing the holiday sales season, to the chagrin of personal computer makers and electronics retailers -- and those computer users eager to move up from Windows XP, a five-year-old product.

In those five years, Apple Computer has turned out four new versions of its Macintosh operating system, beating Microsoft to market with features that will be in Vista, like desktop search, advanced 3-D graphics and "widgets," an array of small, single-purpose programs like news tickers, traffic reports and weather maps.

So what's wrong with Microsoft? There is, after all, no shortage of smart software engineers working at the corporate campus in Redmond, Wash. The problem, it seems, is largely that Microsoft's past success and its bundling strategy have become a weakness. Windows runs on 330 million personal computers worldwide. Three hundred PC manufacturers around the world install Windows on their machines; thousands of devices like printers, scanners and music players plug into Windows computers; and tens of thousands of third-party software applications run on Windows. And a crucial reason Microsoft holds more than 90 percent of the PC operating system market is that the company strains to make sure software and hardware that ran on previous versions of Windows will also work on the new one -- compatibility, in computing terms.

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."

Microsoft certainly understands the problem, the need to change and the potential long-term threat to its business from rivals like Apple, the free Linux operating system, and from companies like Google that distribute software as a service over the Internet. In an internal memo last October, Ray Ozzie, chief technical officer, who joined Microsoft last year, wrote, "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges and it causes end-user and administrator frustration."

Last Monday afternoon, James Allchin, the longtime engineering executive who leads the Vista team, held a meeting with 75 Windows managers and senior engineers to discuss the status of Vista. On Tuesday morning, Mr. Allchin met with a handful of his lieutenants and told them of the decision to push back the consumer introduction, a move that was announced publicly later that day, after the close of the stock market. Brad Goldberg, a general manager of Windows program management, who attended the Tuesday morning meeting, said he was not surprised, because he had been involved in the decision. "But it's a different place than Microsoft a few years ago would have wound up," he said.

Like other Microsoft executives, Mr. Goldberg bristles at the notion that little innovative work has come out of the Windows group since XP. In the last five years, he said, Microsoft has released two versions of the Windows Tablet PC software intended for pen-based notebook computers, and four versions of Windows Media Center. To combat viruses plaguing Windows, much of the engineering team focused for 18 months on fixing security flaws for a downloadable "service pack" in 2004.

"The perception that nothing new has come out of the Windows group since XP is just so far from the truth," Mr. Goldberg said.

But last Thursday, Microsoft reorganized the management of its Windows division. Steven Sinofsky, 40, a senior vice president, was placed in charge of product planning and engineering for Windows and Windows Live, a new Web service that lets consumers manage their e-mail accounts, instant messaging, blogs, photos and podcasts in one site.

James Allchin said the Vista delay was the "right thing" to do.

Mr. Sinofsky, a former technical assistant to Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman, was one of the early people in the company to recognize the importance of the Internet in the 1990's. He comes to the Windows job from heading Microsoft's big Office division, where he was known for bringing out new versions of the Office suite -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other offerings -- on schedule every two or three years.

The move is seen as an effort to bring greater discipline to the Windows group. "But this doesn't seem to do anything to address the core Windows problem; Windows is too big and too complex," said Michael A. Cusumano, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Vista delay, Microsoft executives said, was only a matter of a few more weeks to improve quality further, not attributable to any single flaw and done to make sure all its industry partners were ready when the product was introduced. Vista will be ready for large corporate customers in November, while the consumer rollout is being pushed back to January 2007.

Mr. Allchin conceded in an interview that the decision was "a bit painful," but he insisted it was the "right thing." Mr. Allchin, 54, will continue to work on Vista until it ships and then retire, as he said he would last year.

Microsoft will not say so, but antitrust considerations may have played a role in the decision that Mr. Allchin called the right thing to do. As part of its antitrust settlement, Microsoft vowed to treat PC makers even-handedly, after evidence in the trial that Microsoft had rewarded some PC makers with better pricing or more marketing help in exchange for giving Microsoft products an edge over competing software.

In the last few weeks, Microsoft met with major PC makers and retailers to discuss Vista. Hewlett-Packard, the second-largest PC maker after Dell, is a leader in the consumer market. Yet unlike Dell, Hewlett-Packard sells extensively through retailers, whose orders must be taken and shelves stocked. That takes time.

Hewlett-Packard, according to a person close to the company who asked not to be identified because he was told the information confidentially, informed Microsoft that unless Vista was locked down and ready by August, Hewlett-Packard would be at a disadvantage in the year-end sales season.

Vista was also held up because the project was restarted in the summer of 2004. By then, it became clear to Mr. Allchin and others inside Microsoft that the way they were trying to build the new version of Windows, then called Longhorn, would not work. Two years' worth of work was scrapped, and some planned features were dropped, like an intelligent data storage system called WinFS.

The new work, Microsoft decided, would take a new approach. Vista was built more in small modules that then fit together like Lego blocks, making development and testing easier to manage.

"They did the right thing in deciding that the Longhorn code was a tangled, hopeless mess, and starting over," said Mr. Cusumano of M.I.T. "But Vista is still an enormous, complex structure."

Skeptics like Mr. Cusumano say that fixing the Windows problem will take a more radical approach, a willingness to walk away from its legacy. One instructive example, they say, is what happened at Apple.

Remember that Steven P. Jobs came back to Apple because the company's effort to develop an ambitious new operating system, codenamed Copland, had failed. Mr. Jobs convinced Apple to buy his company Next Inc. for $400 million in December 1996 for its operating system.

It took Mr. Jobs and his team years to retool and tailor the Next operating system into what became Macintosh OS X. When it arrived in 2001, the new system essentially walked away from Apple's previous operating system, OS 9. Software applications written for OS 9 would run on an OS X machine, but only by firing up the old operating system separately.

The approach was somewhat ungainly, but it allowed Apple to move to a new technology, a more stable, elegantly designed operating system. The one sacrifice was that OS X would not be compatible with old Macintosh programs, a step Microsoft has always refused to take with Windows.

"Microsoft feels it can't get away with breaking compatibility," said Mendel Rosenblum, a Stanford University computer scientist. "All of their applications must continue to run, and from an architectural point of view that's a very painful thing."

It is also costly in terms of time, money and manpower. Where Microsoft has thousands of engineers on its Windows team, Apple has a lean development group of roughly 350 programmers and fewer than 100 software testers, according to two Apple employees who spoke on the condition that they not be identified.

And Apple had the advantage of building on software from university laboratories, an experimental version of the Unix operating system developed at Carnegie Mellon University and a free variant of Unix from the University of California, Berkeley. That helps explain why a small team at Apple has been able to build an operating system rich in features with nearly as many lines of code as Microsoft's Windows.

And Apple, which makes operating systems that run only on its own computers, does not have to work with the massive business ecosystem of Microsoft, with its hundreds of PC makers and thousands of third-party software companies.

That ballast is also Microsoft's great strength, and a reason industry partners and computer users stick with Windows, even if its size and strategy slow innovation. Unless Microsoft can pick up the pace, "consumers may simply end up with a more and more inferior operating system over time, which is sad," said Mr. Yoffie of the Harvard Business School.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002258)

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.

Seems like poor design decisions have caught up with them.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (4, Interesting)

ndogg (158021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002524)

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.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (5, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002635)

They don't have to backward compatible anymore. They are a frickin software company for one, #2, they own a fricking VM company (VirtualPC) that is responsible for Windows on the Mac.

They're claiming this 'backward compatible' mantra so that they don't lose the current corral of developers, from Tier 1, 3rd party, and fan boys.
If they change their OS so that backward compatibility no longer works, they feel they risk losing everyone to the competition, whatever it is.
Mac did it in 2000 and kept backward compatibility through whatever method it is that kept Mac Classic on all OSX's through the Intel changeover.

I was actually looking forward for the originally planned Longhorn with WinFS and such but not this Vista crap.
I stopped being a MS fanboy with the announcement of XP activation but I realize them for the juggernaut they are and I respect that.

I don't see why they can't come up with a new OS and include legacy support in VM mode. Today's hardware can handle it. Vista is just smelly trash.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (3, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002726)

It was one design decision: backwards compatibility.

"Integrating" applications into a monolithic operating system does not help at all. It may have helped Microsoft to win the browser battles, but it is causing Microsoft to lose the ability to keep Windows as an ongoing OS.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002558)

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.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002658)

"I wonder, though, whether this makes the difference."

They control the hardware, they have less then 20 or so different configuration that can run their OS. It is one thing that makes life allot easier for Apple.

Well, what is Windows as we know it? (0, Flamebait)

b00le (714402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002695)

Well, what is Windows as we know it?
DOS

Re:NYTimes Article Access (3, Funny)

David Off (101038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002274)

> Microsoft executive Goldberg bristles at the notion that little innovative work has come out of the Windows group since XP.

Yes outrageous, litte innovative work has come out of Microsoft since Clippy!

Re:NYTimes Article Access (1)

tdemark (512406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002344)

> Microsoft executive Goldberg bristles at the notion that little innovative work has come out of the Windows group since XP.

This executive's first name wouldn't happen to be Rube [rube-goldberg.com] , would it?

- Tony

Re:NYTimes Article Access (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002457)

I bristle at that statement, too.

XP wasn't innovation. It was more of the same cruft with an interface that HAD to be licensed from Playskool.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002468)

This executive's first name wouldn't happen to be Rube, would it?

No, it's Whoopi. The whole Vista thing is a joke anyway.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (2, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002364)

Microsoft conceded that Vista would not be ready for consumers until January, missing the holiday sales season, to the chagrin of personal computer makers and electronics retailers

Damn!

I had planned to pick up at least a dozen copies of Vista as Christmas presents. Now I have to find something else for President Bush, Don Rumsfeld, Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove ... Crap. I need a new gift for everybody on the top half of my naughty list.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002413)

Woav, I'm suprised where karma whoring reached these days.

Re:NYTimes Article Access (4, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002542)

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? ;-)

How many will use Vista? (1, Troll)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002241)

With Microsoft's fame for vaporware, especially when it's come to new releases of Windows, I'd think they'd promote whomever was responsible for Vista missing its ship dates. I mean, the only people shocked by the announcement that Vista would miss its ship date were the vendors who had to plan around the dates as if Microsoft actually meant them.

An interesting part of the article is that HP said that if Microsoft doesn't have Vista locked down by August, it will hurt their holiday sales (because they sell so much through retail channels). IIRC, HP has been a big supporter of Linux on the server side of their business. Maybe, after being f'ed over by Microsoft for the umpteenth time, they'll get more serious about consumer-focused Linux.

I'm running XP now, but if I can help it, I will never use Vista. The next time I upgrade hardware, I'm either going 100% Linux with a virtualized XP for the applications I just can't leave behind, or I'm switching to Mac on Intel with an XP dual boot for the applications I just can't leave behind.

Re:How many will use Vista? (2)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002327)

In terms of Operating Systems, or for that matter, general commercial software applications/suites, how many do you think make it to market on time? 50%... if you are lucky.

Re:How many will use Vista? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002362)

Im helping a friend out with migrating to Linux from Windows. I thought i should try out running windows games on Linux and Cedega has been a pleasant surprise. Many games run just perfectly in Linux. Codeweavers Wine is more aimed at office apps and handles most of them jsut fine. That said its not that many apps you will miss in Linux once you find "your" linux equivalent of your favourite app.

Re:How many will use Vista? (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002395)

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:How many will use Vista? (1)

tolendante (865207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002624)

>"How do you convince people who want to spend ~$500 on a PC to spend $1500?" Well, apparently, Microsoft feels that you do it by making Halo 2 a Vista exclusive. Of course, anyone that hyped for Halo 2 PC probably has a "gaming" pc already capable of running Vista. Everyone else could just buy an Xbox for 100 bucks from a local VG store. The only way I'm getting Vista myself is if the college I teach for buys it for us. That has happened before with upgrades (WinNT), so it might happen again, but I wonder how much it will cost to get just our labs up to running Vista, much less have money left over to upgrade everyone's personal systems.

Deja Vu? (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002246)

Didn't this _exact_ same sort of thing happen like six months ago? I remember a delay being announced, a management shakedown, and a commitment that a new development process would acclerate Vista's arrival. I remember it even being discussed on slashdot. Oh my if I could only find the link...

Re:Deja Vu? (4, Informative)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002307)

here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] . It's comical really. The first story goes on and on and on how lean Microsoft has become with their new development process. Obviously little has changed. It's also comical that their solution to these sorts of things always seems to be a management shakedown. A shakedown doesn't really help anything if there is a deeper problem. In reality, it will probably just result in further delays.

Modular architecture (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002643)

A shakedown doesn't really help anything if there is a deeper problem.

It seems to me the biggest problem is the lack of modular architecture, like OSX and the *nix's. What does Chief Architect Gates say about the issue?

Re:Deja Vu? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002314)

Have you ever seen the movie "The Game", starring Micheal Douglas? He plays a big tycoon in some mergers and aquisitions firm... in one scene, you see him visiting the head of some corperation... someone he obviously put there. You get the fact from their conversation that said head of corperation was put there just months before, and since he missed his target stock value by 1/4 of a point, he was terminated.

People go to work for money. If that isn't your goal, you have some catching up to do.

Not Deja Vu, shuffling of deckchairs (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002444)

Didn't this _exact_ same sort of thing happen like six months ago? I remember a delay being announced, a management shakedown, and a commitment that a new development process would acclerate Vista's arrival. I remember it even being discussed on slashdot. Oh my if I could only find the link...

Yes, and before that with Trusted Computing intiative before that.

This is actually a shuffling of deckchairs as inertia finally catches up with Microsoft. It's been a horrid operating system/environment on many levels for years, like people can't actually look at it and see its just one giant hack -- this is why there are so many holes. Microsoft have fovused energy in all manner of directions, like some greedy octopod that tries to capture a different piece of food with each tentacle and somehow manages to miss out on each one, rather that exert maximum effort on one target -- make Windows what it should have been.

Maybe Vista finally is, it's a bit late, though. I've looked at VS2005 and thought, "well, looks like after all these years it's finally maturing" A damn shame they had to make all those billions on the way, peddling stuff that had promise, but one way or another just fell short.

When they keep reshuffling upper management, you know things are really in trouble. It will probably come out, but I sure won't be in the queue to pick it up. Woe to those who are.

Unfixable (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002267)

I don't think Microsoft can salvage this. they've locked themselves into selling a monolith in an environment when a modular, easily and frequently updatable system is needed.

I'd love to see the major corps get behind a push to reimplement the Windows APIs (IE, Wine or similar) so all OSs could run Win32 executables. Then the big MS lockin would be over and we users could have some choices.

Re:Unfixable (1)

tompatman (936656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002393)

I disagree: 1.) The average user doesn't care about choices when it comes to an OS. They just want their whatever to work easily and have the setup be something familiar so that when they need to work on computer y instead of computer x its no big deal. 2.) I don't understand the monolith comment. You shouldn't expect an OS that's supposed to be loaded with features and functionality to be just a few lines of code. Granted that MS screwed up big here, but their problems have nothing to do with modularity.

This is What Google Has to Look Forward To (2, Insightful)

tealover (187148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002268)

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. The prospect of unscene wealth no longer draws employees to Microsoft -- those days are over. So there is an inherent resentment amongst the new people towards the older crew who they perceive as probably not working as hard.

Google will face this. As will any other company who comes along and decides to reward its early people with stock options. Just give it time.

Re:This is What Google Has to Look Forward To (2, Interesting)

Vorondil28 (864578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002575)

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.)

So...wait... (3, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002271)

Let me get this straight

1) MS is rewriting key components from the ground up ( tcp/ip for one ).
2) They are pushing for a faster and faster release cycle
3) They are replacing managers working on vista.
4) DRM will be built into vista

Yeah huh. If it's all the same to you guys, I think I'll stick with xp on my home system ( just recently upgraded, btw ). Vista sounds like it's going to be a painful upgrade for the world at large, and I'd rather not experience that if at all possible.

Re:So...wait... (1)

CockMonster (886033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002423)

DRM's going to be built into everything, even Mobile Linux!

Re:So...wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002555)

not all versions, I'll wager. And it should be as simple as recompiling your kernel without DRM support. At least with Linux you have the option.

dupe (-1, Redundant)

Cally (10873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002296)

Dupe [slashdot.org] , even if it is linking to different articles - they're saying the same thing as yesterday, as far as I can tell.

Re:dupe (0, Redundant)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002390)

they're saying the same thing as yesterday, as far as I can tell.

But now the New York Times is saying it. Time for Slashdot to get the NYTs their monthly online registration quota.

Re:dupe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002429)

Odd. It appears the first article says "We want these people to be fired." and today's article says "These people are being fired."

God, you dupe nazis are three kinds of worthless. Its the new "First Post!"

Get ready, tripe nazis (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002549)

Judging from that pattern, in a few days Slashdot will post an article that says "These people were fired".

Writing on the wall (2, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002297)

FTFA:
Microsoft also said Mike Nash will leave his job as head of its security technology unit for an unspecified role.

Now, as soon as I read this, I caught myself thinking, "Maybe he was doing his job TOO well, hence all the delays".

can we say disorganized? (1)

matt328 (916281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002299)

Seems to me Microsoft should have just taken their time from the start. Didn't they cut out alot of the features they promised to get this out the door quicker? And it seems they are just moving people around. 'Ok, this guy here f'ed up the Vista release schedule. We're putting him on future windows products to make sure their release schedules are f'ed up also.'

Is it me, or does this company seem to become more and more disorganized by the day?

Re:can we say disorganized? (1)

FourStarGeneral (851478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002743)

I guess Microsoft's finally beginning to give in to entropic decay.

NY Times is never worth reading (0, Redundant)

55555 Manbabies! (861806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002301)

and never will be until they eliminate the registration requirement. I don't know why slashdot persists in linking to them. They don't deserve the traffic.

Why the delay? (4, Funny)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002302)

Why's it taking so long? Because, unlike previous "new versions" of Windows, this is not just a cosmetic overhaul but a complete redesign of the OS from the kernel up! Also, as somebody else mentioned, updating the mspaint.exe codebase is proving quite problematic :)

Does if feel like 1993 in here? (0)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002387)

unlike previous "new versions" of Windows, this is not just a cosmetic overhaul but a complete redesign of the OS from the kernel up!

You realize, of course, Microsoft has said that about every "OS" they have released. With 2000 and XP, they had the "NT Technology" for you and promissed performance that was "like solid" and really 32 bit this time, half 64 bit if you were lucky. It was supposed to end the crashes if 98. 98 promissed you USB devices that worked and an end to the crashes of 95. 95 was touted as the most amazing thing in computing history, a 32 bit OS, the end of DOS and something that would end the crashes of Win31. The crashes never ended, but the list of promisses has grown. Nothing is new here. All hail the best windoze ever

Microsoft does not have the resources to rebuild Windows. No one does, and that's why free software works better than non free. Software without owners is rebuilt as often as someone wants it done.

Re:Does if feel like 1993 in here? (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002422)

For me and most other people that I've talked to, the crashes ended with XP...

Re:Does if feel like 1993 in here? (2, Informative)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002559)

Not so for me. I have seen countless reboots from XP taking a hike in mid air. The difference is you dont notice most crashes since nothing tells you the darn crap has crashed. It just throws its hands in the air cycle itself. What a way to get rid of BSOD, perform harakiri instead of showing the bluscrean.

XP is better than crash_every_single_keyboardklick but its not that stable. Im not impressed until Windows is better than Linux or *BSD. Why shouldnt something i pay good money for be much better than something free?

Re:Does if feel like 1993 in here? (1)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002563)

The majority ended with Windows-2000, although that was not of course aimed at domestic users. It was however IMO the first really competent operating system from MS.

Re:Does if feel like 1993 in here? (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002614)

Yeah, I guess I would go back to 2000 as well. I have bad memories of 2000 because I had so many devices that did not have driver support in 2000. For that matter, I might go back to NT for crash free operation, but that was definitely not aimed as domestic users and I never used it for my personal operating system.

Re:Does if feel like 1993 in here? (1)

CockMonster (886033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002529)

"95 was touted as the most amazing thing in computing history" It probably was, in terms of bringing PCs into the living rooms of people who knew nothing about computers.

Re:Why the delay? (5, Insightful)

clbell (921567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002509)

Yes, it's a complete redesign from the ground up. That's why the same crummy registry concept is there, why the control panel looks exactly the same with many of the same icons, why dll hell still exists to some degree, why programs are still installed in the same way, why the explorer process requires 100MB vs 20MB in XP. The way apps are installed and managed in OS X is so obviously superior that MS would be stupid not to copy it during a complete redesign. Should I go on? A complete redesign, I HOPE, would involve streamlining code/operation and killing some of it's demons. Vista does neither. What MS have done is rewritten some of the modules and added a lot of new modules, which is why Vista has 15 million lines of code (or so) more than XP. It's a much more complex OS...and not in a good way.

Re:Why the delay? (1)

clbell (921567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002567)

I know realize that I posted a very serious reply to a joke. I'm going back to sleep now...

Re:Why the delay? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002564)

Why's it taking so long? Because, unlike previous "new versions" of Windows, this is not just a cosmetic overhaul but a complete redesign of the OS from the kernel up!

Actually, it's based on the Windows Server 2003 SP1 kernel.
Yes, I know you're joking; just using the opportunity. :-)

It's based on that kernel since just 2 years ago. Microsoft messed up big time with that part and had to reintroduce + cuts tons of features due to this paradigm shift in both kernel and OS vision.

Cutting off your toe to spite your face (2, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002306)

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?

Re:Cutting off your toe to spite your face (4, Informative)

VikingThunder (924574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002381)

Actually, if you remember, there is no 60% code rewrite. That was some BS Smarthouse made up, and everybody else sourced it.

Re:Cutting off your toe to spite your face (2, Insightful)

S3D (745318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002668)

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?

I don't think so. Remember DirectX 10 is only an API, there is no sgnificant code base behind it. So I don't think it casued delay, and don't think hardware manufacturers would be wasting significant efforts if there are changes in it. The only important thing is specification, that is a list of abilites which GPU should have, and that is not changed.

Microsoft Innovates (3, Funny)

David Off (101038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002312)

> Vista was also held up because the project was restarted in the summer of 2004. The new work, Microsoft decided, would take a new approach. Vista was built more in small modules that then fit together like Lego blocks, making development and testing easier to manage.

Wow, Microsoft discovers modular design and good interfaces 30 years after the rest of the world went that way.

Re:Microsoft Innovates (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002445)

Hey, they start to get faster at adopting, and still people complain...

Re:Microsoft Innovates (1)

doodlebumm (915920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002612)

A friend of mine went for a job interview at MS in the '87. One of the people that interviewed him said "We can even do multi-tasking!" and showed him that he had two computers on his desk so that he could run two programs at once. They don't innovate, they redefine. :)

Wife wont get Vista For Christmas (3, Funny)

aka_big_wurm (757512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002322)

I am so sad now that I cant get her Vista for Christmas, I am sure may other of you are and in same boat. Because Vista was the Must have gift this year.

The truth is that MS is trying to get this on right, and waiting to ship Vista untill its done, at the same time they are being honest with us about ship date and features. Funny we bash them for shiping buggy programs and then bash them for holding back a buggy program.

Re:Wife wont get Vista For Christmas (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002407)

The main people bashing them for delaying are manufacturers of computers.
The reason for that is they expect that sales of computers as gifts during the Christmas season will be slow since people will see that the new version of ms-windows is 1-3 months away so will delay purchasing.
To combat that manufacturers will provide a free upgrade to vista for any computer purcahsed during the Christmas season. So now the manufacturers need to the extra cost for distributing that and all the phone calls as people have problems doing an upgrade.

Re:Wife wont get Vista For Christmas (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002511)

"The reason for that is they expect that sales of computers as gifts during the Christmas season will be slow since people will see that the new version of ms-windows is 1-3 months away so will delay purchasing."

Unless the company is running on such a thin budget that they'll be broke in 1-3 months after Christmas, that should be seen as a good thing. They will get their sale anyway, albeit delayed. And they just might sell something else at Christmas time to fill the gap.

Re:Wife wont get Vista For Christmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002707)

The truth is that MS is trying to get this on right, and waiting to ship Vista untill its done, at the same time they are being honest with us about ship date and features. Funny we bash them for shiping buggy programs and then bash them for holding back a buggy program.

Dummy,
Business versions will ship in November/December. All this means is that the DRM crap isn't working. Go ahead and wait to get your wife that restricted rights computer.

Heads roll (2, Funny)

LoonyMike (917095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002328)

It must be awfully painful, getting your head decapitated by a thrown chair!

Re:Heads roll (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002528)

I'm curious, how exactly can one's head be decapitated?

Those who got the ax may have been doing good (1)

digThisXL (252109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002332)

Did anyone ever think Vista might be late because the head of the program was trying (unsuccessfully) to some good: trim down the code/make it more secure/do good things vs. Microsoft's history of continually adding bloat?

I strongly believe there has to have been turmoil and much heated discussion over this; 40% larger code from one release to another would make anyone ill.

Mty suggestions (5, Insightful)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002334)

Find Dave Cutler, who MS hired along with a team to built NT:
From Dave regarding NT:
  • "If any of you break this build, your ass is grass, and I'm the lawnmower." -- David Cutler to his programmers during the development of NT
  • "I won't pollute it [NT] with crap!" -- Cutler to Bill Gates, upon being told that NT was to have an OS/2 "personality" as an alternative front-end.

Or, get someone with a trackercord of delivering a modern OS. Like Maybe Linus.

Or, hire Christopher Walken as a Project manager

Re:Mty suggestions (4, Interesting)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Mty suggestions (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002628)

Obviously, they should hire the Debian guys.

Re:Mty suggestions (1)

weg (196564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002418)

Or, get someone with a trackercord of delivering a modern OS. Like Maybe Linus


Yeah, good idea... Linus will help them to move all 35 million lines of code into the kernel. Once Vista is a totally monolithic OS, I'm sure they can release it immediately ;-)

Re:Mty suggestions (3, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002424)

Or, get someone with a trackercord of delivering a modern OS. Like Maybe Linus.

What the hell does Linus know about delivering a modern OS? He's a Unix kernel guru. I doubt the kernel is what's giving Microsoft problems.

Now, maybe they could get in touch with RMS instead? After all, the OS based around Linus's kernel is mostly of his creation... Or maybe not. Though it would be amusing to read the reports in the news of Windows users' heads exploding the day after they find that their new Windows shell was in fact xemacs.

Misleading Headline (5, Insightful)

Aqua04 (859925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002365)

I think the headline of the article is a bit misleading. From what I have read, I don't think "heads are rolling" at Microsoft yet. They have restructured, which they do about once or twice a year anyway, but the problem of multiple layers of general managers and layer upon layer of Vice Presidents remains.

If you read some of the postings on the minimsft blog, you see that Sinofsky has been brought in to streamline things, but the question abut what to do with all the legacy management overhead still remains.

They have so many people which they promoted up over the years that they'll need to figure out how to flatten the organization whilst thinking about what to do with all these people in middle management. That'll be the interesting question in the coming years, I think.

Re:Misleading Headline (2, Informative)

QuantGuy (654249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002496)

Mod parent UP! Heads have most pointedly NOT rolled. Jim Allchin is still employed by the company, and will be there until his scheduled retirement. None of the management team in charge of the development of Windows have been fired. Ballmer is still running the joint. Gates is still "chief software architect", in spite of the fact that the glorious innovations he dreamed up, like the relational-database file system (WinFS) and the next-gen API (WinFX) have been gutted from Vista. Microsoft has just shuffled around the senior executives a bit. How this could possibly be interpreted as "heads rolling" is beyond me.

Dare I Say It... (5, Insightful)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002368)

Netcraft confirms it! Windows OS is dying! ;P

Seriously, I spent some time last night reading through a Microsoft employee's blog discussing this very issue. While it might sound like big trouble in little China, it's likely to be well glossed over by their PR campaigns. Heads will roll at MS, but not the right ones. The big guys there will say that this was the work of either an "astroturfer" who doesn't even work for MS, or a disgruntled employee who really didn't have a grasp on the business end of things. In other words Ballme and company will be saying, "nothing to see here, move along".

As a side note, I found one of the comments on that blog particularly insulting. Someone had the audacity to say that Microsoft is becoming more and more like DEC. This couldn't be furthest from the truth. DEC was run by the engineers, meaning that the entire company was nothing but engineers. No suits. No business men. Just pure brain. That's why DEC's systems pretty much defined the phrase "just works". MS isn't even close. They tried and they got Cutler to design NT. But then they threw out everything that he had laid out in NT when they hit 2k for business reasons. If you want a great OS, you forget about business reasons. If you want to run a great business, then you need to accept that there will always be compromises and you'll always have a subpar product when compared to the output of pure engineering. Them's the breaks folks. That's why the FOSS world outshines Microsoft at every turn in terms of design and doesn't really make much of a dent business-wise. And it's why MS is so successful as a business but can't create an OS that you'd trust your life with.

Ray of Light (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002375)

In an internal memo last October, Ray Ozzie, chief technical officer, who joined Microsoft last year, wrote, "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges and it causes end-user and administrator frustration."

Well Ray should know, he does work there.
I think in Microsoft's desire to be the everything of operating systems, they have bitten off more than they can chew. They need to re-think their strategy and aim to a secure, less-complicated and smaller operating system. Then later, they can release a huge Vista at a time of their choosing.

Who wants DRM? (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002377)

I know who wants it.

The strange thing is that its not any users of Windows. DRM gives the manufacturers a new unpreceedent tool for administrating users computers without they having a say about it. Once you install an application that uses DRM your computer isnt yours anymore.

Who would want that? Good thing is it will make Linux look so much better.

Re:Who wants DRM? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002494)

Sure, no user wants DRM. It offers NO benefit for me and a LOT of drawbacks.

But content providers will require it. You want to run our games? You need Vista or it won't run. You want to play our CDs? Vista. You want to view our movie? Vista.

Still wonder if it's gonna sell?

Copy Pasting NYT Article ? Copyright Violation ? (0)

tealover (187148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002384)

If it is, those posts should be removed. Also, why do people feel compelled to copy something that is so easibly accessible with a simple registration ? NYT doesn't ask for personal information.

Holiday season? (0, Troll)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002402)

Why would the holiday season be a factor for Vista? I don't think I hate anyone enough to give them a first-gen OS - any first-gen OS - as a gift.

Re:Holiday season? (1)

SithLordOfLanc (683305) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002435)

IIRC, new OSes often have a huge impact on new PC sales. With the cost of new PCs constantly dropping, they are pretty much in hte realm of a gift now.

Re:Holiday season? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002466)

Maybe as a parting gift. You'll be remembered (if only in curses) for a long, long time.

Re:Holiday season? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002554)

Ahh, but just picture the TV's advertisments... Steve Balmer dressed up as Santa Claus, trying to stuff his bulk down a chimney :-)

G.

Is "dot net" to blame? (0, Flamebait)

urdak (457938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002427)

I have heard rumors that one of the reasons that Vista was not ready, was Microsoft's attempt to use "dot net", basically an virtual-machine based (interpreted) language similar in many aspects to Java, but the resulting code was huge, slow, and simply put - useless. Do these rumors have any basis?

The reason I'm asking this is that I am getting the feeling that while companies (like the one I work for) love to code in Java, the users actually hate the resulting software, saying something like "Wow, this is nice software, but it's so easy to see it's written in Java - it takes half a gig of memory for doing almost nothing. If it were rewritten to something else, I would use it...". If Microsoft ran into the same problem with its dot-net, I would conclude once and for all that Java and its offsprings are hopeless (at least for this decade, until memory and CPU speed continues to grow until nobody cares about them any more).

Re:Is "dot net" to blame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002533)

Come on, .Net is not an inetpreted language. .Net is compiled to MSIL (Microsoft Intermediate Language) which is similar to Java byte code, but then MSIL is compiled at runtime by the JIT compiler and ran as native code. (Allegedly) Making full use of the extensions provided by different processor types. For my money though, at present .Net does take up too much memory per application isntance (approx 20MB) and the garbage collector is a little slow.

Re:Is "dot net" to blame? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002621)

I have heard rumors that one of the reasons that Vista was not ready, was Microsoft's attempt to use "dot net", basically an virtual-machine based (interpreted) language similar in many aspects to Java, but the resulting code was huge, slow, and simply put - useless. Do these rumors have any basis?

Probably not. .NET code is compiled to native code, and any slowdown to addtional language features could just as easily be applied to something like java or perl.

Of course this assumes that the microsoft engineers working on the .NET runtime are competant.

Re:Is "dot net" to blame? (1)

wbren (682133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002676)

Although I cannot confirm the .NET delay rumors, I think I understand what you mean. I have even fallen victim to this coding paradigm in the past. I had written a small utility program that did its job quite well. Eventually, I got bored with the program and its functionality. I wanted something expandable, modular, adaptable to any platform or situation.

Filled with ideas of "design patterns" and "modular coding practices" from university classes, I decided to recode my program from scratch. I decided to do it "the right way" this time. All I can say is, it was a big mistake. I switched from C++ to Java. I "corrected" my algorithms, doing everything by the books. Sure, simple operations took more time and more memory, but I was took comfort knowing that everything was being done "the right way".

Recoding for the sake of recoding is _never_ a good idea, but that's exactly what Microsoft is doing with Vista. Sure, they are claiming they want to build Vista into a revolutionary, ultra-flexible platform. But I don't buy it, and I won't buy Vista. Microsoft's intentions may have been good in the beginning of Vista's development, but they may have set their goals too high. They attempted to change core pieces of the OS in a relatively short period of time, resulting in a sloppy, delayed release that has no hope of living up to previous expectations.

I have sometimes supported Microsoft in past arguments, but I think the decisions they have made regarding Vista have been counter-productive for the mostpart. I will stick with XP for now, eventually switching to Linux or Mac once enough of my core applications are ported over.

I may only be one person, but when corporations begin to do the same as me, Microsoft will be in deep trouble. Bubble v2.0

Re:Is "dot net" to blame? (2, Informative)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002680)

I have heard rumors that one of the reasons that Vista was not ready, was Microsoft's attempt to use "dot net", basically an virtual-machine based (interpreted) language similar in many aspects to Java, but the resulting code was huge, slow, and simply put - useless. Do these rumors have any basis?

What the hell are you talking about? .NET has been out for years, as have applications written for the .NET platform. What does this have to do with Vista? Some bozos thought Vista was going to be written in C# or some nonsense like that, which may be the crap you're hearing.

The reason I'm asking this is that I am getting the feeling that while companies (like the one I work for) love to code in Java, the users actually hate the resulting software, saying something like "Wow, this is nice software, but it's so easy to see it's written in Java - it takes half a gig of memory for doing almost nothing.

Then your developers suck ass. The performance issues associated with Java are 99% usually because of Swing. The devs should be refactor the code to deal with the performance issues, or look at an alternative like SWT. I'd also recommend wxWidgets, but a majority of younger Java developers will burn from lack of experience if tossed into the C++ fire. As for .NET, a C# desktop application performs pretty well. Much closer to a C++/MFC app as opposed to a Swing app.

Question for Apple Experts (0, Redundant)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002452)

Wouldn't it be the move to UNIX that has made it easier for Apple? I believe they are on BSD. The underlying foundation must be built on some sort of POSIX, etc. (whatever standards are the standards, I haven't read up on this in a long time).

I have no idea what kind of internal standards Windows uses.

Microsoft should adopt Linux (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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?

Ballmer should go now (1)

Kunt (755109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002476)

Steve Ballmer has got to be the most inept of them all. He is the epitome of the screaming, loud-mouthes bully of the type that has become more end more common in business in recent years, and who is actualy quite ineffective because he is marketing driven and not product and engineering driven. Maybe it's time for Ballmer to take a permanent vacation?

It's Their Development Model (5, Informative)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002483)

Plain and simple. I remember when Windows 2000 came out, and that was hyped to the hills as the most secure and high quality Windows that was really going to replace Unix everywhere. Funnily enough, the hype sounded like Vista now. There was an article in 1999 that described their development process, how they were redesigning Windows for security, (just like with Vista!) and God, is it a mess. It is just a massive production line where code is committed by programmers with little regard as to whether it will conflict with changes other people are making. It gets shipped off to the testers, they test some build, OK it and then another team commits code that breaks it in the next testing cycle and build. They then rinse and repeat this process until it seems to work. Small wonder they need so many programmers and people involved as well as the huge amount of time that takes.

I hate to bring up Apple, but look at their OS. They've put an awful lot of features into their software, with less programmers and with much more of an idea of what they want to achieve - and I think that last point is the key. It just sounds as though some marketing people at Microsoft have been moving the goalposts shouting "Right, we need seven versions to extract more money!", "Oh right, now we're doing media!", "We're doing 3D eye candy!", "We're doing TV!", "We want support for new DRM hardware to please film studios!", "We want integration with some pointless app for social networking!" etc. etc. It seems to me that no one has drawn up a set of proper requirements for Vista. I get the Vista betas through MSDN, and honestly, I just cannot see how they couldn't have achieved where they got to now by evolving from Windows XP SP 2 and 2003 in a far shorter timescale and then building other products and components on top of it when it got finalised.

Two-fold, on top of that, I'm also convinced that because of all those teams putting code into Windows, and having Windows interoperate tightly with other components and products and vice-versa, Microsoft are having very serious integration and communication problems. What's that saying? Nine women can't have a baby in one month? It seems as though Microsoft's "let's just throw programmers at it" strategy is doomed now and post-Vista, and they're going to have to work out what they're going to do. The big problem is, Microsoft don't know how to develop any other way, and changing a few managers around will change nothing.

Computers that do speech? Intelligent systems? A digital home? Media systems running Windows? Flat touch-screen panels running Windows in every area of your house? On top of developing a base version of Windows, Office, development tools.....all inter-connected?! Fat chance. There's no way they'll be able to co-ordinate that kind of development complexity with the kind of absolute reliability that's demanded there. Windows still has a future, obviously, but I'm sorry to tell Microsoft that they're not going to be leading us into this new brave world they think we're going to buy into.

Re:It's Their Development Model (2, Funny)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002664)

Plain and simple. I remember when Windows 2000 came out, and that was hyped to the hills as the most secure and high quality Windows that was really going to replace Unix everywhere. Funnily enough, the hype sounded like Vista now

So instead of recycling code, they are recycling marketing material.

At least they are recycling something!!!

Well the way they're suggesting... (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002498)

...is 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.

Slashdot fortune has the answer (1)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002503)

If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.

This just in... (3, Funny)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002537)

Microsoft Windows Vista will be shipping with a free trial of "Duke Nukem Forever".

Exit Interview - Mr. Balmer (0)

Dareth (47614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002659)

Senior Manager: You missed the deadline.
Project Manager: My aplogies, my team will work much harder.
  Senior Manager: No excuses. Report to Mr. Balmer immediately.
Project Manager: No, not that, not Mr. Balmer.
  Senior Manager: Oh, and bring your chair. Mu ha ha ha!

Accurate Management Representation (1)

PhatboySlim (862704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002682)

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Placing financial gain over product value? Perhaps the development staff at Microsoft is sick of being the bain of every Windows/Linux users mind and wants to ensure this is a quality product.

Perhaps the previous (now fired) managers felt that understanding. Of course though, once the board of directors, none of whom probably do anything remotely challenging on a computer, have their say, heads will roll if they don't see a bottom line increase on their balance sheets.

When the first security holes are spotted in Vista, and corporate takes the heat, I hope they remember this move on their behalf to speed up the development so they could make an extra buck instead of releasing a quality product.

Same claims made for 95, 98, NT, Win2K, XP... (1, Offtopic)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15002698)

...every time Microsoft says "this is a completely new operating system." (I forget exactly how they worded the claims, but they managed to give a strong impression that they were claiming that MS-DOS was not part of Windows 95... just like Clinton gave the impression he was saying he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky, or like Bush gave the impression he was saying Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11).

Every time they say that the new OS is secure.

Every time they say that the new OS is easy to use and doesn't crash.

It's like Lucy telling Charlie Brown that she's going to let him kick the football this time. She never does, and he never seems to learn.

Hmm... Lucy... Charlie Brown... what we need is a Linus.

MS has more.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15002740)

..."manager" weenies working on "getting it out than door" than Linux has major kernel hackers.

Sounds like typical large corporate business to me. when in doubt, throw more managers and marketing people at it!

I don't see how MS will be able to compete in the future. This is just proof that the closed source way of doing things is reaching a logical end game, it is no longer a valid efficient way to code. Even with their quad billions to throw at it, they are still falling behind. It was OK in the past, but now..... not seeing Vista being any sort of rousing success.
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