Windows 7 - What is it?
Windows 7 is the next generation Windows operating system what Microsoft is working on and is expected to hit the market somewhere in 2010. This is probably something that all of us know. But what are the key features that Windows 7 will offer? That is a question to which there aren't many answers today.
With the advent of .net, Microsoft had also brought in a new era of beta bits, CTP bits and RC bits. In a way this helped the community keep a close watch on what's coming and plan ahead. Many would have already started implementing production ready applications even before the particular product would RTM. I had written about my thoughts on this trend here.
However there have been many instances when some of the important features, that the community gets used to by playing around with these early bits, aren't present in the RTM bits and that is a big damper on spirits. Sometimes it may also mean calling off or redoing some of your own application work that was relying on these "no longer present" features.
The stance that Microsoft seems to be taking with Windows 7 and its feature disclosure is reverse of the current trend. In the recent interview Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering discussed about this change in readiness to disclose upfront about upcoming Windows 7. It is interesting to read the interview and see how Steven kept deflecting questions on specific features of Windows 7 and repeatedly said that the right information will be shared with the right set of partners. Similar information is also available on the Vista blog site. There is one feature however that was showcased during the D: All Things Digital Conference by Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President, Windows Experience Program Management and that is the Multi-touch feature. This brings the Microsoft Surface capabilities to Windows 7.
Is this approach of not disclosing the details, good? Well I think, it is both good and bad. Knowing too much upfront spoils the surprise and wow element. Take for an example that you want to watch a movie and you hear a lot about it from friends and also watched a few trailors. When you go to watch the movie, it won't appear all that great since the expectations were set to so high already that it fails to meet it.
Another factor will be better safe than sorry. In past there have been instances of missing features in final RTM bits and community obviously doesn't likes it. This is like minimizing the attack surface and have lower security risk. Disclose less so there are less chances of not meeting the expectations.
On the flip side, in todays' fast changing world, organizations do want to keep a watch ahead and plan their upgrades/migrations etc accordingly. There are organizations that tend to skip one version of OS. So if they had adopted Win XP, they will mostly not adopt Vista and wait for Windows 7. But if they don't know what's coming in that, it becomes difficult to plan for that version.
There is still time though it seems that Microsoft is playing safe right now, things may change in future. Who knows that by end of 2008 or early 2009, we may start to get more publicaly available information on Windows 7. I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for that to happen !