Vista: yeah it has issues, don't they all?

Network World senior editor John Fontana has provided this guest blog to Microsoft Subnet. He is reporting on the IDG

editors meeting with Microsoft on April 23. He writes: Here is the round-up of the IDG editors day in Redmond. In the afternoon, Shanen Boettcher, the GM of Windows product management, provided a look at Microsoft's plans to develop a desktop OS stack that reduces and/or eliminates the dependencies between the hardware, the OS, the applications and the data/settings.

Boettcher said the goal was to "decouple the specific layers of the desktop" and he talked about virtualization, roaming profiles and management as ways to get that done. It was a lot of concept and I think the bottom line of it all is a more modular OS. But there were few details given beyond the vision.

The word "seven" (as in Windows 7 ) was never mentioned. He also neglected to talk about Vista, explaining instead that his presentation was geared toward future directions. As editors poked and prodded him, he cited the familiar Microsoft refrain about Vista uptake (percentage wise) being faster than XP, etc. etc.

Here's my take. No one is letting Microsoft off the hook for the problems that exist in Vista, including application compatibility. I would say one of the biggest Vista failures is that Microsoft (again) neglected to dispel the notion that IT has to wait for Service Pack 1 before deploying. Will Microsoft ever crack that nut? Name a single OS Microsoft has released over the past 20 or so years that didn't have some range of problems? Are we shocked, fed up with this familiar refrain? I'd say we are not shocked. But many are fed up. But we are also well trained to it and it doesn't necessarily influence what enterprise users will eventually do. I can't deny that I've talked to some end users (these were users not in the Microsoft early adopter programs) who have deployed Vista and are happy with the results. Was it pain free? No. Wonder if someone could describe their experience of rolling out say 1,000 SUSE Linux desktops? The story might be similar to the Vista experience. Happy to be finished, battle scars, enjoying the spoils of reaching their intended goals.

But there are others betting their mortgage (or at least their jobs) that Vista won't happen anytime soon in their organizations. Microsoft would have us believe everything is on course. Some in the media/blogosphere would have us believe that everything is so off course that Vista has caused the sky to fall. Truth and pragmatism lie somewhere in between. Clearly many in IT are on the Microsoft merry-go-round and find their reactions/successes/failures to Microsoft technologies all over the board. But this isn't news. In fact, it's old, old territory. The question is - should it be? Microsoft is the biggest software company in the world and it supports a significant economic ecosystem. But its software development model is old and creaky and those running the company know it needs to be fixed. What I'd like to know is how they plan to do that. And when it happens will they simply abandon Vista (and other products) to labor under these familiar drawbacks until these products expire and land in the dumpster? Software will never be a perfect world, but from an IT perspective it would be nice if it became a better place to live.

Also from John Fontana and the IDG Editor's meeting

Beta of Microsoft's Hyper-V-compatible virtualization manager expected next week

Exchange and SharePoint to be revamped for multitenant versions

Microsoft attempts to appease its channel while moving forward with services

You can trust Microsoft's Scott Charney's credentials for end-to-end security

Views on Vista from other Microsoft Subnet bloggersWindows Vista Debacle (Patrick Regan)Execs worry that Windows is collapsing (Microsoft Subnet)More Vista woes (Kerrie Meyler)Live Mesh and Windows 7 Revealed (Mitchell Ashley)Windows 7 in a hurry (Microsoft Subnet)

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