Geeks With Blogs
Mark Ritchie
Windows 7 Desktop

Windows 7

These past couple of weeks have been a mixture of fortunes for me; I was fortunate enough to be sent by my employer to the PDC in LA where I won a couple of iPod Touches This also enable me to sign up to the Mesh developers program which I'll blog about later. Unfortunately my fortunes took a turn for the worse at the end of the week when an investor pulled out of our company forcing the board to shut down the development department leaving me out of a job. So I'm going to try and make the most of my new found spare time and start blogging.
One of the geeky highlights of the PDC is to get hold of pre beta versions of some of Microsoft's flagship products. This PDC's included Windows 7, the highly anticipated successor to Windows Vista. Vista has a received a LOT of bad press, some of which is deserved, but most of which is either blown out of proportion or plain false. To my mind the two biggest valid criticisms about the OS are UAC and its gluttonous nature regarding memory. The later problem has forced Microsoft to turn to XP for Netbooks and other minimal spec machines.
Enter Windows 2007! I've been using it on my "Designed for XP" Sony Vaio (1GB Ram, 1.8GHz Pentium M, VGN-A297XP) for a week now with Windows 7 and the performance difference is remarkable. Vista ran like a complete dog on this box, even with Aero turned off. Windows 7 pre beta appears to use about 512Mb Ram without any other apps running and its performant enough for me to turn Aero on and get the whole Aero glass effect. I get the impression that it may even get more slipstreamed between now and going gold, enabling Microsoft to put XP to bed and use Win7 on resource light machines.
While UAC is widely hated by many users, and I've cursed it many a time myself, it has forced a lot of software manufacturers to look at their development practices and make changes so that the software they develop does not need require unnecessary elevated privileges. In the long run this is cruicial to a safe online experiance where hacking is a buisness and no longer just a hobby. In Windows 7 UAC is still around, but they've now made it so the user gets to choose how intrusive the messages are.
For me the biggest change in Windows 7 is how Microsoft is now developing its software. They've broken up development into "Feature Crews" which means that each team works on specific features, each feature goes through the full software development lifecycle, including rigorous testing, before it is pushed into the main product branch. This means that at any specific date they can release a very stable build of their products. It also means that it’s a lot easier to make predictable software releases. All they need to do is pick a release date and the features that are complete at that time make it into the final release.
It’s obvious that Microsoft is very happy with its Ribbon technology as its revisiting standard windows apps such as Paint and WordPad and giving them the Ribbon make over. It’s going to be interesting to see what additional features are added to Windows 7 between now and its final release, but I guess we might see some of our other favourite windows apps such as Notepad getting Ribbonised. Windows 7 is going to be the evolutionary version of Vista that everyone wants (even if they don't know it yet) in the same way that XP SP2 was to XP.
Posted on Sunday, November 9, 2008 4:28 PM Windows 7 | Back to top

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