Developer: Windows Vista Is Not Ready

    August 1, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

High-level Microsoft executives may be in for more of what they don’t want to hear. After one developer says what many were thinking, those inside Vista development fulfill their own prophecy. Vista’s not ready.

Five years worth of delays to Microsoft’s massive operating system overhaul have created furrowed brows on Wall Street, as investors grow impatient for the next incarnation of the desktop blockbuster. The down arrows on Microsoft stock mirror the top-down pressure on the Vista team to slap the wheels on the sucker and put it on the road.

But frustrated developer Robert McLaws has a piece of advice for Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Co-president of Platforms and Services:

“Let your thousands of beta testers cheer you for making the right decision, and tell Wall Street to go to hell.”

On (Vista was previously codenamed Longhorn), McLaws calls Vista Beta 2 “a disappointment on many levels.” Though the problems with stability and performance that plagued Beta 2 have been solved, McLaws feels the product is far from being a “release candidate.” Having been given a hard deadline in order to meet a January launch, software engineers will not have enough time to work out the final kinks.

A release candidate means “Hey, we think we’re finished, and this is the build we’d like to put out thereIt should always follow a stable beta, which Beta 2 was notWindows Vista is not ready yet, and I don’t think Microsoft will have it ready by the end of the month.

Currently, Vista teams are hard at it trying to meet a late August/early September deadline for the final product. McLaws believes that deadline should be pushed back 4-6 weeks. Subsequently, that pushes back Vista’s official launch to late February/early March, nearly a quarter behind an already very late product.

And that won’t make Wall Street happy in the slightest. But the argument that other stakeholders have put forth is that it’s better to release a bug-free product rather than risk consumers waiting until a Windows Vista Service Pack is available before installing.

Consumers unwilling to give Microsoft another chance after years of buggy OS releases could be worse than another short delay. Worse for Redmond, Apple gets a serious leg up in the market, building on momentum stemming from the company’s switch to Intel.

Microsoft has to get it right, or risk everything.

Technology journalist and editor of PC Computing and PC World, Ed Bott thinks a February launch is still premature.

“Make that ‘end of March’ and I’ll sign up too,” writes Bott, referring to the scores of developers who agree with McLaws.

Former Microsoft celebrity blogger Robert Scoble believes even March might be too early.

This sucker is just not ready. Too many things are too slow and/or don’t work. I’ve been on the betas of every Windows OS since Windows 3.1 and Vista is starting to feel good, but it doesn’t feel good enough to release to the factory in October. It feels like it needs a good six more months than that, which would mean a mid-year release next year.

So June now is it? That’s two quarters (and five years) late.

Allchin has shown public concern about Vista’s development for nearly a year now. In September of last year, Allchin had to break the news to Bill Gates that “[Vista] is not going to work.”

The problem then was the complexity of Vista, being pieced together by thousands of programmers all working on their own small part. “[It’s] so complex its writers will never be able to make it run properly,” Allchin is quoted as saying, as images of flying pigs infiltrate the Redmond campus.

Never isn’t looking too far away.

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