Wednesday, March 07, 2007

On the subject of goodwill

This is not good news for Microsoft. Their latest OS hasn't even begun to make its way into the corporate desktop and already the claims on unbreakable security are a thing of the past.

Or were they ever anything but marketing?

The question I most often hear regarding the transition for the new OS is "Why bother?" To answer this, I made a funny little mental exercise.

What would I do if I was in charge at Microsoft (or at least if they listened to me).

Well, to start with, I would take the number of available versions of Vista down from 7(5?) to only 3.

Vista Corporate Edition (VCE) - Drop the show off (Aero will be turned off by policies on most cases anyway);
Better security and networking. This would eliminate the need for mandatory hardware upgrades in the enterprise and would thus lead to wider embracing by CTOs and CFOs alike.

Vista Media Hub (VMH) - A version with some great visual apparatus, geared towards the home user with basic needs beyond media and internet access.

Aero would be a must, so maybe this could lead to a more reliable hardware certification \ standardization process (much needed IMHO) were Vista Ready meant "Ready to run full specs with full performance".

Vista Gamer (VG) - Recognizing that a vast majority of PC users mostly use their OSs (at home that is) to load and play games, Microsoft should make a version of their newest SO much to the liking of the one that powers their own Xbox 360.(Not necessarily compatible, though that would be a blast).

Networking and Security services striped to a minimum, very compact and hu.. lightweight. Take advantage of the relationships with Hardware Vendors and maximize performance.

Next if my list would be taking better advantage of what comes out of their own labs and projects (label it as beta, if you will) and deliver a companion DVD full of goodies like Photostory (does it still exist?) Expression (even a lite \ demo version) and Photosynth (for VMH).

Also a good option, would be throwing VirtualPC, SQL2005 and Visual Studio Express into a Companion DVD for VCE and finally XNA Game Studio for the Gamer version.

As for the Office suit, i wouldn't touch it (with a long stick).

Eliminate the fabricated need for upgrades (personally I’ll stick with Office XP for as long as I can, or must) and make it compatible with open-document standards for publicity if nothing else.

Finally on the server front. Well this is going to be a biggie... So I'll put it more as a wish list than anything else.

1- Native Support for "foreign" file systems.
2- Show us what WinFS can do. If it turns out not to be all that much adopt ZFS (ouch).
3- U-N-I-X C-O-M-P-A-T-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y L-A-Y-E-R (or SFU done right, or cygwin in a companion CD).
4- Gui-less version. With option for graphic administration from remote desktop or even trough a web browser. This would be a great selling point for Application, Web, DB and File servers. And for low-end servers too.

Ok, so most MSCEs would be left to dry without point and click. But the good ones would adapt, and the best ones won't tell the difference (if it can't be scripted, it can't be done, right?)

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