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Dell Documents Reveal Microsoft's Pre-launch Vista Errors 220

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-change-horses-midstream dept.
twitter writes "The New York Times has a piercing analysis of documents from the Vista capable lawsuit. The documents show that Microsoft seems to have put a wrench in Vista's driver situation only at the last minute. 'Late OS code changes broke drivers and applications, forcing key commodities to miss launch or limp out with issues,' said one slide in a Dell presentation dated March 25, 2007, about two months after Vista's launch at retail and availability on new PCs.' We have all heard the lazy vendors don't believe Vista will launch excuses but few of us have heard Steven Sinofsky, chief of Windows development, second and third opinions. 'Massive changes in the underpinnings for video and audio really led to a poor experience at RTM,' he said. 'This change led to incompatibilities. For example, you don't get Aero with an XP driver, but your card might not (ever) have a Vista driver.' Finally, said Sinofsky, other changes in Vista blocked Windows XP drivers altogether. 'This is across the board for printers, scanners, WAN, accessories and so on. Many of the associated applets don't run within the constraints of the security model or the new video/audio driver models.'
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Dell Documents Reveal Microsoft's Pre-launch Vista Errors

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  • Par for the course for Microsoft I think. If my memory serves me well.
    • by misleb (129952)

      Par for the course for Microsoft I think. If my memory serves me well.


      All 640k of it!
  • But why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by microbee (682094) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:39PM (#22628244)
    I am wondering what went wrong to force Microsoft to change kernel and break drivers at the last minute. Because of a design flaw that compromised security? Or DRM?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jandrese (485)
      I wouldn't be surprised if holes were found in the DRM and had to be patched up at the last minute.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Firehed (942385)
        Could we please stop trolling about this? The copy protection on Vista is about the same as XP. The support for existing DRM-protected media is the same if not better; that does NOT force DRM on you, just allows you to use media that some video bigwig thought needs the protection - if it weren't supported at all because MS tried to take a stance against it, then we'd just be complaining about the lack of support. DRM is not magically added to your existing media, though I expect the stupid default behavi
        • Re:But why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ushering05401 (1086795) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:14PM (#22628654) Journal
          Purely second-hand, but...

          My father does a lot of video work, and any time he tries to access or move a video file he has crazy wait times while Vista chews on something.

          What the hell changed between XP, which he has since gone back to using, and Vista that so radically changed the handling of video files? From his reading on various websites (none of which I can vouch for) the OS is checking for some sort of signatures in the files to figure out if he has permission to perform the selected task.

          I have no idea if this is true or not, but either way, he had to ditch Vista and return to XP in order to do things like edit the video he shoots of conferences and events.

          So the DRM issue has at least some anecdotal evidence in its favor. Either that or Vista is completely incapable of handling files over a certain size with any sort of grace.
          • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

            by wampus (1932) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:15PM (#22628674)
            Turn off thumbnail generation. The DRM is only used for playback of protected files.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Firehed (942385)
            We've seen numerous problems with file handling in Vista, and nothing to suggest they were DRM-related. Very large files and large quantities have both proven problematic. I'll go out on a limb here and suggest it's related to the intended use and then removal of WinFS, but I don't have anything to back that.

            Anyways, signatures don't give you permission to deal with files, they just state their origins. No different than in real life - stuff with my signature on it passed by me. Embedded metadata, of so
          • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

            by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:41PM (#22629004)
            http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001058.html [codinghorror.com]

            While it goes into details about a lot of other stuff, there's the explanation of Vista's (apparent) slow disk performance.
          • by Machtyn (759119)
            I don't have Vista, otherwise I'd do this myself. Can someone tell us the result of the following test.

            1. Take a large media file and copy it from one drive to another.
            2. Rename said media file in the original location so that it does not appear like a video file.
            3. Copy the renamed video file to the same drive.
            4. Measure how long it takes to process both scenarios and report which took longer.
            • Can someone tell us the result of the following test.

              I don't have Vista any more, but I tried it for a few months on a video editing machine.

              I don't think it would be possible to run the sort of test you've suggested because Vista performance is so variable. At any time, it'll stutter, slow down or appear to hang for no reason that's apparent from the usage pattern. You'd need to shut down a heap of stuff to get consistency, and if you do that you won't be getting typical results.

          • by Z34107 (925136)

            As other replies have mentioned, Vista had problems with copying files - large or small quantities. Microsoft seemed to blame that on how the little scrolling bar dialog was updated, but whatever.

            I've been using a beta of SP1 (heard about it from hear, nonetheless!) and that issue has been fixed. Purely anecdotal, I haven't done benchmarks or anything, but moving a GB of files around no longer takes a lunch break.

            As others have mentioned, turn off thumbnail generation. Don't know how to do that off-h

        • So, why then is Vista so much slower then XP even with all the extra eye-candy and features turned off? Either MS can't program a decent OS which could be true, or there is some hidden thing going on such as DRM or WGA. So there are two logical choices, MS can't program so don't use Vista or MS is using DRM so don't use Vista either way, Vista is a failure of an OS and you must agree with that.

          As for lack of support, where else are the media companies going to go if MS says no to DRM? People aren't goin
          • Re:But why? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mickwd (196449) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:30PM (#22628858)
            "So, why then is Vista so much slower then XP even with all the extra eye-candy and features turned off?"

            Not sure, but I found the following, from Microsoft themselves, astounding:

            From the Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Release Notes [microsoft.com]:

            Installation Issues - Windows Vista

            Setup dialog box fails to appear:
            The verification that occurs under User Account Control (UAC) with all installations delays the appearance of the initial setup dialog box. Delays of more than one hour have been reported.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by man_of_mr_e (217855)
              There's actually a pretty good reason for that. The sevice pack is not a typical service pack. It's a patch. It patches existing files, rather than replacing them. It can take upwards of an hour because it has to verify that all files are patchable before it begins the process, then it backs up your files, does transactioning so that if something goes wrong it can rollback and not leave a semi-functioning installation.. all that is very intensive, particularly because VS2005 is several Gigabytes in size
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by void* (20133)
                It may have to verify all the files are patchable, but it most certainly does not have to do that before it displays the dialog box. Normally something like that would be done with a progress bar inside a dialog box.

                There is no good reason to not give the user an indication of what is going on. If the system design requires that, then the system design is faulty. Faulty system design is not a 'good reason'.

            • This one is quite simple - it's digital signature checking. Before UAC shows that dialog box, it does a digital signature check of the installer .exe file. Well, that file is 400 megabytes. This digital signature lets it warn you if you're trying to invoke an unsigned program with high privilege.

              The reason it takes so long is that it maps the entire file linearly into memory to hash it. Such a large mapping gets demand-loaded, which for a linear scan is very slow.

              The workaround is actually quite simple.
            • Re:But why? (Score:5, Funny)

              by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @03:13AM (#22632842)
              Delays of over an hour are no problem for me. I come in to work in the morning, 9:00 AM to be specific. According to my company's rules, I must be on time every day or else risk having my pay cut by a significant amount. So I'm at my desk on time every day, at 9:00 AM, and I push the power button on the computer. It begins to load, and the disk crunches, crunches, crunches, and crunches some more. By about 4:59 PM, it finishes loading and the various spinning wheels and hourglasses stop. Finally, the computer is ready to perform the next operation. At this point, I click "Start," followed by "Shut down" and leave the office. I think it finishes shutting down sometime around 8:55 AM. Vista. Where do you want to avoid going today?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Firehed (942385)

            As for lack of support, where else are the media companies going to go if MS says no to DRM? People aren't going to take "No support for PCs" as an answer with Blu-Ray boasting a 50 gig capacity for storage.

            That's my whole point. If MS blocked all DRM from existing in Vista, they would only be harming themselves. Media companies would take the "fuck you, we still have standalone players" (and lots of them) approach, and would-be customers would whine continually that they can't play back tons of media. A

        • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:19PM (#22628738)

          Could we please stop trolling about this? The copy protection on Vista is about the same as XP.
          Yes, can we please stop trolling and claiming that the Vista DRM is "just like XP"? Because it is not and anyone who has used the OS knows that.

          First off, it's well known that the redone video and audio drivers were required for the new DRM. That right there is a change: pre-Vista, the OS wasn't designed explicitly for DRM. Now it is.

          Secondly, the new designs shave a good 10%-50% off performance. Audio acceleration is gone. EAX effects are no longer possible. Recording the audio output of programs is no longer possible. All in the name of DRM.

          ALL layers are now encrypted. This, not surprisingly, slows down the OS. By a lot. It also greatly reduces battery life. Where before, playing a music file might involve a single decryption step to send the data to the audio player, it now must be re-encrypted before being sent to the card, then re-decrypted before being converted to analog. All because an enterprising user might otherwise snoop on the bus to "steal" the audio data.

          In short, Vista is 10%-50% slower solely to allow for DRM. The kernel was redesigned with DRM in mind, not user experience. Battery life was halved in extreme cases - again, solely for DRM.

          It's not trolling, there are simple facts that have been exposed time and time again. Look it up on Google. Vista is much, much, much worse than XP when it comes to DRM.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            The new video and audio drivers have nothing to do with DRM. The new driver stacks are both moved to user-space from kernel-space so that a failure will not bring down the OS. Audio acceleration is gone because audio drivers are not permitted to access kernel resources directly, which prevents EAX, but also prevents them from causing a BSOD.

            No layers are encrypted. The only encryption/decryption applies to protected media, which is already encrypted and requires decryption. If the media is not protected
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by rtb61 (674572)
            For a fact I saw the Vista DRM in operation. There was a service that monitored the Hard disk drive contents (assumed copyrighted contents) and if the service was shut down, Vista immediately went into reduced functionality mode, re-enable the service and Vista went out of reduced functionality mode (minutes after that the hard disk was reformatted and a different OS installed).

            As for the major patch the occurred very soon after the release of Vista, I was likely a DRM patch, to fix a typical M$ failure.

          • by Myria (562655) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:29AM (#22632606)
            Microsoft actually remade a critical system call, NtCreateProcess(), explicitly because of DRM. Translated to the UNIX world, this would be like redesigning fork() from scratch just to protect VLC from being debugged.

            Prior to Vista, NT had a "create process" mechanism differing in design from most other operating systems. NtCreateProcess() creates an empty process with nothing in it other than the new .exe file and ntdll.dll. No initial stack, no main thread. The parent process actually uses the debugging API to inject them into the new process. Even the the environment and current directory are injected this way.

            This worked well until Vista. In Vista, their DRM system had a problem: they didn't want anyone to be able to debug audiodg.exe, but the parent process had to be able to debug it in order to start it. The solution? Redesign the entire process creation system such that the kernel does all the initial process creation procedures so that the parent does not have control over the child if it is a "protected process". Hence, NtCreateUserProcess() was born.

            For those that don't believe that this change was for DRM, I offer proof [msdn.com] in the form of a Microsoft kernel developer on video explaining it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ivan256 (17499)

          The support for existing DRM-protected media is the same if not better; that does NOT force DRM on you, just allows you to use media that some video bigwig thought needs the protection - if it weren't supported at all because MS tried to take a stance against it, then we'd just be complaining about the lack of support. DRM is not magically added to your existing media, though I expect the stupid default behavior dating back to WMP9 if not earlier to add copy protection to ripped CDs remains (as I use neith

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by tomthegeek (1145233)

          if it weren't supported at all because MS tried to take a stance against it, then we'd just be complaining about the lack of support.

          I'm sure that if MS dropped DRM support there would be an uprising the likes of which have not been seen since /. deleted the Scientology post.

          Are you serious?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jandrese (485)
            Yes, I mean Jesus Christ, can you imagine how mad I would be if playing back an simple audio file didn't eat up 15% of my CPU (up from 0.5% in XP)? I know I might lose the ability to play back HD movies that I can't play back anyway because media companies still don't trust me.
        • Re:But why? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rhdaly (1072244) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:49PM (#22629098)
          The support for existing DRM-protected media is the same if not better; that does NOT force DRM on you, just allows you to use media that some video bigwig thought needs the protection - if it weren't supported at all because MS tried to take a stance against it, then we'd just be complaining about the lack of support.

          You've got it backwards. If Microsoft never supported the DRM, the RIAA and MPAA wouldn't have put it on the disks, because of the lack of support. It's not the customers that would be complaining, it's the "media partners." And those bastards? They can have some cheese with their whine.
        • by chgros (690878)
          if it weren't supported at all because MS tried to take a stance against it, then we'd just be complaining about the lack of support
          If it wasn't supported by Windows, they wouldn't do it. As you may be aware, Windows is a very large proportion of the market.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by log0n (18224)
          Vista applies DRM to .mov/Quicktime files. I don't know exactly what happens, but saving or writing (copying) Quicktime files wraps them in a 'secure' layer (filename changes to green - it's now 'secure'). Once this happens, a lot of restrictions are placed on how the file can then be moved, copied, deleted, etc.

          I don't use Vista for anything media production related so I haven't delved into this.. but it caught my eye a few weeks ago.
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:51PM (#22628362)
      You can always provide some sort of compatability environment for drivers. There is no reason why they did not provide an XP driver support mechanism.

      If ndiswrapper can run XP drivers in Linux, then surely MS could have run XP drivers with no problems at all.

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:00PM (#22628488) Journal
        I don't understand it either. Why not build a wrapper and sandbox it? If there are security concerns, that ought to solve it. Sure, it might rob some performance, but on a bloated monster like Vista with its processor and RAM hunger, I can't imagine that this would have wrecked the experience that much.

        You know, everyone goes around saying "open source only copies, never innovates" and yet you have an (admittedly kludgy) solution to the problem of driver availability that have been forced by uncooperative hardware vendors that does work and does allow older hardware to function. Microsoft has all the kernel sources at their disposal and doesn't have to reverse engineer to get something like ndiswrapper running, and yet instead they shut out a lot of older hardware in one fell swoop.

        There just doesn't seem to be much logic to what Redmond does. I can understand the vampiric murderous monopoly that wants to destroy any and all competition, but the design choices they make are bizarre. It's not as if Windows is some elegant masterpiece that they don't want to clutter kludges to keep older things running. Christ, the operating system has been like that since Windows 95.

        The really sad thing is that it is closed source, so no one will ever be able to create that sort of an environment to get this hardware working.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wizardforce (1005805)

          There just doesn't seem to be much logic to what Redmond does.
          that's the beauty of a monopoly- there doesn't need to be any logic- the users will be forced to use it anyway.
        • I don't understand it either. Why not build a wrapper and sandbox it? If there are security concerns, that ought to solve it.

          No idea about the specifics of the situation, but in the general case this will not work for drivers. If your driver can issue a DMA request to the device, it can access anywhere in your physical memory. If you want a safe, secure, sandbox, then you have to send all device register write writes via something that validates them. Since every device has different DMA commands, your sandbox needs special code for every single driver it runs. At this point, it's cheaper and easier just to rewrite the drive

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          I'll tell you the logic behind what Redmond does. Used to be this dude named Bill Gates ran things. Yeah, say what you will about every OS from DOS up to Windows XP, but at least the technical decisions made sense (not to mention the business decisions made a LOT of cents, and dollars too). They maintained backwards compatibility, which means that most DOS programs from 1980 can still run in a DOS box in every Win9x-based system, and heck, I think even in the NT-based OSes up to XP, for many DOS programs. T
  • Security (Score:5, Interesting)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:41PM (#22628264) Homepage Journal
    Many of the associated applets don't run within the constraints of the security model or the new video/audio driver models.

    When rebuilding a system from the ground up for security, these issues need to be hashed out first. The fact that the security and driver models were changing significantly shortly before launch is a sign of bad design. Or at the very least horrible project management. If Vista was in the works for over 5 years, and it was designed properly from the start, 3rd parties should have had plenty of time (years) to conform to new models.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849)
      Sorry, I disagree. The design had a flaw, but that doesn't mean the design overall is bad, nor does it indicate "horrible project management." People make mistakes, people miss things. Sorry, it happens, but to act like YOU would never have it happen to you is pretty silly. No one is perfect.
      • Re:Security (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:04PM (#22628542) Journal
        We're not talking about the odd video card or printer. We're talking about shutting out a lot of older hardware, and then, rather than admitting a fuck up, basically blaming the manufacturers (though I'm sure there's plenty of blame to heap there).

        The fact of the matter, and this is only getting driven home ever more with these revelations, is that Vista was released prematurely, before adequate time to test and correct various issues could be taken. Microsoft and the manufacturers needed to get this beta operating system to market to try to force new computer purchases. The unholy OEM alliance between the big manufacturers and Microsoft is coming home to roost.

        Not only that, but it's a gas to watch the chaos that surrounded the final months before Vista's premature birth.
      • by Nikker (749551)
        I don't know where you work but if you were developing on a project that was going to be deployed to over 100+ Million workstations for a multi-billion dollar company and I was getting paid in the ball park they are getting paid in well you can put the rest together.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by truthsearch (249536)
        If you don't notice a significant flaw in the security or driver model during 5+ years of development and testing then yes, you are incompetent. At the very least your testing is incompetent.

        We're not talking about a broken link on a web site. We're talking about an OS that goes on hundreds of millions of computers. Make a few mistakes in the some of the details, but don't fsck up the model.
      • The design had a flaw, but that doesn't mean the design overall is bad, nor does it indicate "horrible project management."

        It does indicate "horrible project management" when errors like this jeopardise a multi-billion dollar, 5 year project.

        Besides, there's plenty of other evidence [blogspot.com] of horrible project management of Vista.

        So that nets us an estimate of 24 people involved in this feature. Also each team was separated by 6 layers of management from the leads, so let's add them in too, giving us 24 + (6 * 3) + 1 (the shared manager) 43 total people with a voice in this feature.

        The feature? Vista's shutdown menu...

    • Re:Security (Score:5, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:12PM (#22628632) Journal
      Oh for fuck sake, how many of the XP targeting virii that you've heard of lately have been due to holes in the video and audio driver model? This isn't about improving security for the customer, this is about locking down content through poorly implemented DRM. We could have kept our existing driver model instead of changing it YET AGAIN. How many changes in the last 20 odd years have we had? DOS drivers, Win 3.11 drivers, 95 drivers, 98 drivers, 2000/XP drivers, and now Vista drivers. What a waste of goddamn effort. Bad design is an understatement. Get it right and move on for fuck sake. We don't need a dozen incompatible driver models by the time I'm old.
      • by wampus (1932)
        So you've never had an XP machine bluescreen from a flaky video driver? My work PC does it fairly regularly. Since they moved the video drivers to userspace this isn't even possible on Vista. Stability, not just security.
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          Clearly you've not used vista. Bad video drivers can and do bluescreen it just like XP.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by wampus (1932)
            I've tried pretty hard to bluescreen my own box, all I ever get out of it is a little text bubble by the clock telling me my video driver crashed and reloaded. My own experience indicates that Vista works at least as well as XP in this regard.
        • by Vegeta99 (219501)
          Ya wanna explain the burned in STOP screen on my old-ass CRT TV that got there when Vista crashed due to the nVidia driver goin kaputz then?
        • by syousef (465911)
          Well perhaps if manufacturers only had to build one driver instead of 6 for their hardware to work we'd have stability too. Or do you think newer drivers are going to be less buggy???

          In any case, I was talking about security, not stability. Shift the goal posts somewhere else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:44PM (#22628304)
    The driver models for audio and video in Vista are drastically different than they were in XP. Microsoft is trying to push towards a more microkernel-ish model where these drivers are intended to exist in user-mode. The entire Vista audio stack is user-mode and the video stack is divided into two portions where a good 90% exists in user mode and the rest remains in kernel mode for performance reasons. Microsoft is also trying to force hardware scheduling to prevent a single accelerated application from hosing an accelerated desktop, which is currently a problem in all accelerated desktops, Compiz and OSX included.

    The driver situation wasn't any better when XP was launched. If anything it was much worse because all of a sudden consumer-grade hardware vendors had to jump to supporting the NT kernel rather than the 9x kernel, which finally locked down the memory isolation so that a user-mode app could not access kernel resources. It took years for the big companies like Creative Labs, nVidia or ATI to get half-decent drivers out for XP. The situation for Vista is already much better than it was for XP.
    • by makomk (752139)
      So you reckon Vista has better hardware support than Windows XP did at launch? I reckon that falls under "damning with faint praise".

      (Windows XP hardware support sucked at launch, and not just because of the switch from 98's driver model. I seem to recall reading warnings about various Windows 2000 drivers that should in theory work not actually being compatible with XP. Sound familiar?)
  • by oahazmatt (868057) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:45PM (#22628306) Journal
    All the more reason to avoid release dates. Whether it's completely arbitrary, or it's an estimate given by a developer, release dates only result in two things: Making people rush, and making products late or not as advertised.

    I can understand a statement such as "We hope for our product to be ready by [date]" or "We're aiming for a possible launch window of [date]", but to say "Our product will be available on this date" only puts pressure on those lower down the totem pole, and can result in a lot of lost features or quality assurance.

    Conversely, this should not be used to infer the Duke Nukem Forever will be an awesome game if it is ever released.
    • by imaginaryelf (862886) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:57PM (#22628438)
      You find me customers who's willing to shell out dollars or plan their dependencies for some nebulous release date.

      Or you can try that when you have to pay your bills, "Yeah, we'll make our best effort to pay that mortgage on the 10th."

      The world doesn't work that way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oahazmatt (868057)

        Or you can try that when you have to pay your bills, "Yeah, we'll make our best effort to pay that mortgage on the 10th."

        The world doesn't work that way.
        Except that paying bills, an obligation to having and continuing to have a service or receiving goods, is not the same as marketing software.

        Yes, having a firm release date may snag more customers, but you have to look at the end product and decide if the backlash will outweigh the praise.
        • Ok, here's a more concrete example.

          Let's say you decide to start a company building a great product.

          Do you know what the absolute drop-dead release date is? It's the day your funding runs out (whether it be personal or VC).

          You think you can ask your mortgage company, your phone company, your VC to essentially extend you an indefinite loan because your software is not ready to be sold yet?
          • by oahazmatt (868057) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:35PM (#22628924) Journal
            Maybe I implied something I didn't mean to, so I'll clarify my position a bit.

            Internal schedules, release dates, etc., those should always be present. If you don't have any internal dates, there's no motivation for your workers, as they'll just "get it done when it's done".

            Published release dates are what can cause the problems. If you tell your employees "We need this by March", that's one thing. That's also something you can pass along to your business partners. But when you come out and tell the public "Our product will be out in March", and the product falls excessively short of expectations, or does not even make it out of the gate, that's when you create a problem, all for the sake of marketing.
            • I like your thinking, and it works up until the point where you have shareholders.

              Shareholders means 'people who own the company', and they get to demand answers to trifling questions about when the company is actually going to start selling new products.

              By law, this information can't be kept secret.
    • by Firehed (942385)

      Conversely, this should not be used to infer the Duke Nukem Forever will be an awesome game if it is ever released.

      Especially since we've recently been given an estimated release date.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by tzot (834456)

        Conversely, this should not be used to infer the Duke Nukem Forever will be an awesome game if it is ever released.
        Especially since we've recently been given an estimated release date.
        I wouldn't call it a release date. The whole issue reminds me of falling towards an event horizon.
    • by mikeabbott420 (744514) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:01PM (#22628510) Journal
      There are only two kinds of software: released too early and never released at all.
      • Uh, there is a third kind, which VISTA is in. It is the "Released, but never should have been".

        Microsoft really screwed the pooch on this one. If they were going to break Windows, they should have broken it completely, and wrote a new OS that resembled Windows, but didn't have a single thing in common. IBM had a similar situation in OS/2 (and PS/2) and screwed it up completely, by marketing OS/2 completely wrong (Windows on Roids).

        If I had 100 Million Dollars startup, I'd have a complete OS and New HW platf
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:09PM (#22628610)
      When coordinating with the CD presses and the OEM's, distributors, and other companies (like NVidia or ATI) that rely on the release date, that's just not possible. For smaller projects, you can pull stuff like that. For one of the most widely used pieces of software in the world, you need to plan ahead.
    • by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:10PM (#22628620)

      Remember, though, MS had sold all those software upgrade contracts with the stated timeline of having the new version out before they expired, this is why Vista was released to business before the user version was available.

      Delivering an item on time and not "when it's ready" can be worth gobs more money to people who like to be able to contain risk. Look at how poorly Apple fares in the business market, for many reasons, but a big one is that they're pretty secretive about their development roadmap and you can't make million-dollar decisions based on Apple's stated trajectory (notice the recent deafening silence over the Xserve RAID EOL and iPhone SDK delay).

      Not to say secrecy doesn't pay dividends in consumer segment, but consumers have always been the barnacle on the MS ship.

  • Microsoft... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:53PM (#22628386) Journal
    Perhaps, one day, when competition re-emerges in the OS marketplace, microsoft will have to clean up their act. Until that day, and as long as people keep giving microsoft their money, nothing will change.

    It is too bad that so many people who would benefit from reading /. are the people who laugh at those who do ...
  • From TFA:

    According to the e-mails made public this week, Microsoft will apply the lessons it learned with Vista the next time around. "There is really nothing we can do in the short term," noted Joan Kalkman, the general manager of OEM and embedded worldwide marketing, in a message written a week after Sinofsky's. "In the long term we have worked hard to establish and have committed to an OEM Theme for Win[dows] 7 planning.

    "This was rejected for Vista. Having this theme puts accountability and early thinkin
  • by Keeper (56691) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:53PM (#22628394)
    The quotes in the summary explain why Windows XP drivers would not work; they do not state that driver model changes were made right before RTM.
  • Or... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Squarewav (241189) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:59PM (#22628468)
    Dell and the like could just keep shipping systems that they know can't run aero with windows XP and don't use the Vista capable stickers on them?

    This is the part that bugs me about this. It might be true that MS considers vista without aero to be fine when they shouldn't. However no one is forcing dell to use the stickers, Dell and the like used them on computers they knew couldn't run vista fully. They do it because they knew people would buy the computer thinking it would run vista.

    When it turned out vista was crippled on the machine insted of Dell going "Ooops sorry, heres some store credit" (or whatever) they went "Don't look at us, MS made us do it! blame them!" As if MS was the one who built the computer.
    • Re:Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:14PM (#22628646)

      However no one is forcing dell to use the stickers
      Do you know that for a fact, or are you just assuming?

      The reason I ask is because it's possible that Dell's contracts with Microsoft did, in fact, obligate them to promote Vista by the stickers on computers. For instance their bulk discounts are tied to various deals, such as having "Dell recommends Windows Vista" on their website.

      Also worth noting is that many OEMs were shipping systems with "Vista Ready" stickers long before Vista was finalized. They had no way of knowing how well Vista would ultimately run on the machines, other than what Microsoft was telling them. Still, the OEMs share the blame to the extent that it was irresponsible of them to trust Microsoft and put stickers on systems without being sure that their claims were correct.
      • Hindsight is 20/20. Requiring Vista Stickers on Computers before VISTA was finished is non-sense, and I'd blame both Dell (HP, Acer .....) and MS on this one. It is a marketing deal that was false. Dell (or whatever) didn't have to sign the deal that put stickers on computers, and they knew that Vista wasn't stable in development so they knew that it was possible (and should have known it was likely not to be able to run VISTA).

        However I knew that none of the machines that said they could run Vista was read
        • by stony3k (709718)
          No no no.. It's "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."
  • by jellie (949898) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:12PM (#22628634)

    Dell's postmortem...

    Company managers and executives also did their own postmortems on Vista...
    Maybe I watch too many crime dramas, but I originally thought the article was writing off Vista as being as good as dead, since they're already talking about Windows 7. Though I can't say I disagree.

    FYI: Postmortem also has an informal definition meaning "an analysis or review of a finished event".
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:16PM (#22628688) Journal
      It's pretty fucking sad that barely a year into Vista, and Microsoft is already demurring to Windows 7. It's a tacit admission so far as I can tell that Vista has been an absolute disaster.

      Sure it'll sell just like Windows ME did, purely because of OEM licenses. They'll use that to inflate sales figures, even where people are downgrading back to XP, but we now know just how fucked up things were in 2006.
      • by Shados (741919)
        If Windows 7 comes out next year (thats a big if), it will be 3 years apart (a bit less depending on the date Windows 7 comes out...if it comes out at the very end, it will be about exactly 3 years).

        Thats consistant with the pre-Vista fuck up day (and Vista's original intent), even if we don't count NT. 95, 98, ME/2000, XP, Vista's original schedule... all 2-3 years apart, give or take. And back then, a few months after a windows launch, the next one was hyped. Heck, its that way in the Linux world too, you
      • by realmolo (574068) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:59PM (#22629226)
        I wouldn't say Vista is a *disaster*, but it's obviously a work in progress. There are so many obvious improvements to be made, and so many little bugs to be fixed.

        Much like Windows 2000 was what NT4 should've been, I expect "Windows 7" to be what Vista should've been. Of course, an argument could be made that even what Vista "should've been" isn't what we actually WANT. Personally, I think MS should bite-the-bullet and just abandon backwards compatibility as part of the "base" operating system. Just run everything in a VM, much like Apple did with the Classic MacOS.
        • I don't ever recall NT4 being that big a problem. I only started working with it in the SP3 days, and I do understand there were some problems.

          Windows 2000 was a lot more polished, but coming from a *nix background, I really didn't give a damn about polish.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        I'm not sure about that. I seem to remember a lot of "Longhorn will do everything better than Apple can" comments when XP was still new.
  • by ed1park (100777) <ed1park@hot m a il.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:15PM (#22628670)
    This user had a particularly clever way handling the driver compatibility issues of his "Vista ready" system.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=FVbf9tOGwno [youtube.com]
  • yeah wow thats why it's not launched yet, shocking.
  • They fiddled with several key underpinnings of the OS. For example, rebuilt the network stack? Why? Why do that and add more features when the features you want to implement are reliant on running on a stable feature complete OS in the first place?

    Dogfood or not, this really seems like a case of the left hand not knowing what the ride hand was doing. Or they overshot. Or they tried too hard and failed to copy OS X. Or they just need to start over. IMHO Sandbox XP->98 apps and start fresh with a whole new
  • by NSIM (953498) on Monday March 03, 2008 @07:39PM (#22629628)
    I've been running Vista since the early beta days and it's my main desktop system and also powers my mediacenter. The only XP drivers that definitely wont work are video drivers, drivers for things like NIC, disk controllers etc all work fine. On my main system, Only HP and Microtek (prinet and scanner respectively) have yet to provide fulle Vista drivers for my system, and the XP drivers work just fine.
  • Deja Vu (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:36PM (#22630236)

    Late OS code changes broke drivers...

    This reminds me of the painful driver development from NT4 to Windows 2000. A few years before release MS was pushing us to port NT4 drivers to Win2K. We jumped on it quickly and had working drivers, but as the years rolled by changes would be made that broke the earlier work. This rinse and repeat continued to the *very* end. Years of wasted time and resources for no reason.

    What I learned from that is to start looking at new Windows driver documentation a few months before release and then wait until the actual release before changing or writing any code. You just don't know what fundamental changes will occur until the discs are on retail shelves.

    You sure as hell can't trust what MS tells you as a developer about interface changes and release dates.

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