10.16.08

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At Microsoft, Cutting is Shipping

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 10:56 pm by Shane Coyle

And Shipping is a Feature.

Folks here in America have likely been hearing all too much about "Joe the plumber" for the last few days – by some counts nearly two dozen times in last night’s presidential debate alone, which occurred about a half hour drive from here, featuring a few Long Island style left turns, at Hofstra University.

Well, Microsoft is never shy about mimicking something that seems to work, and has decided to feature their own "ordinary Joe" developer, Larry Osterman, to provide some ground-level perspective into the Windows 6 – I mean 7 – development process that is ongoing, or perhaps complete since he refers to the process in the past tense a time or two, as noted by the Register.

Microsoft has of course not said when Windows 7 will ship, but there’s a widespread belief Windows 7 will arrive next year.

According to Osterman, it’s the Windows 7 feature teams are calling the shots on cutting features with management “standing behind them.” “In Vista it would have been much harder to convince senior management to abandon features,” Osterman reckoned.

“One of the messages that management has consistently driven home to the teams is ‘cutting is shipping’, and they’re right. If a feature isn’t coming together, it’s usually far better to decide NOT to deliver a particular feature then to have that feature jeopardize the ability to ship the whole system,” he said.

Astute readers will have noticed Osterman is using the past tense when talking about Windows 7. This suggests engineering has been completed. The reality, though, is Windows 7 is far from finished and Microsoft has been working on internal builds.

*blink*, *blink* So, the process for dropping planned features is now easier than it was during Vista development? I mean, did I read that right? Arguably, the perception that Windows Vista suffered a "death by a thousand cuts" is one of the most persistently negative impressions that is held by many techies regarding Vista (although, some folks would disagree).

Other than Multitouch and baked-in virtualization, what planned features of Windows 7 are even compelling enough to notice if they were dropped? Of course, should one of those two features not make the cut, it would likely be equivalent to the loss of WinFS for Vista – embarrassing, if not catastrophic.

As Moore’s law keeps on trucking and hardware continually gets faster and more affordable simultaneously, Vista will lose the stigma of sluggishness and bloat that has plagued it amongst consumers since its first introduction, and forced Microsoft to embark on the Mojave and Seinfeld expeditions.

However, the lack of excitement amongst the technical user base is something that continues to plague Vista, and from the sound of things it doesn’t appear to me that Microsoft has learned anything in that regard from their Vista development process, save integrating the testing team into the development process from the get-go, a staggeringly ’90s realization.

To borrow another overused term in this year’s presidential race here in the ‘States, it seems like Windows 7 is an instance of Microsoft trying to put "lipstick on a pig", if perhaps a slightly more svelte one that may help steer consumers to their Windows Live services, they must surely hope.

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3 Comments

  1. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 17, 2008 at 5:04 am

    Gravatar

    Glyn Moody has just commented on some more hot vapourware…

    Microsoft “Innovates” Again – By Copying GNU/Linux
    http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2008/10/microsoft-innovates-again-by-copying.html

  2. pcole said,

    October 17, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Gravatar

    Too little, way too late. No way we’ll migrate our Deb servers to win(?).

  3. twitter said,

    October 18, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Gravatar

    It’s doubtful M$ will cut their digital restrictions and authorization requirements. DRM snake oil will continue to make Windows sluggish, unstable and hostile even if they strip it down to Emacs as the default interface.

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