I’ve just gotten email from a super-geeky friend of mine talking all excitedly about Microsoft Vista and Microsoft Windows Vista, but I’ve never heard of such a thing! What the heck is he talking about?
In a nutshell, Microsoft Windows Vista is the next generation of Microsoft Windows after Windows XP. For the last year or longer everyone’s been talking about this next generation operating system using its code name of Longhorn, and while the features that are promised to be included in Longhorn have changed over the last 18 months or longer, Vista is just another name for the same future product.
I’m resisting talking about “vaporware” here, actually, because Microsoft Vista hasn’t even shipped its first official beta release yet to developers, though that’s scheduled to happen within the next few weeks.
According to Reuters, Windows Vista is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2006, five years after Windows XP, the longest time lag between releases of its Windows operating system, and that this new OS is promised to include numerous enhancements, including better security, graphics and computing over the Web.
Joe Fay at the Register has a predictably more sarcastic and amusing comment on this new name in his article: “Perhaps calling the product Windows Vista means it will give users a commanding overview of their information world. Or perhaps the strategy boutique at Microsoft thought dropping the 95, 98, 2000, 2003 act means less chance of dumping an entire cache of time-linked marketing material when development schedules slip a year or two.”
You can also read the official Microsoft announcement: Media Alert: Microsoft Unveils Official Name for “Longhorn” and Sets Date for First Beta Targeted at Developers and IT Professionals: Company announces official name of its next-generation Windows client operating system.
My take on all this? Microsoft Windows XP is a good operating system, appreciated and used by countless people worldwide. However, Windows unquestionably has some serious security and privacy problems that cause no end of frustration for users too, and if a new release of their flagship operating system can help prevent some of these problems, it’s going to be a winner. If it’s all cosmetic, however, then it’s going to be another big reason why Linux and Mac OS X are going to continue to rise as viable alternatives.
Oh, and just for completeness, here are two thought-provoking definitions of Vista, compliments of Google: ‘view: the visual percept of a region’ and ‘An enclosed view, usually long and narrow’. We’ll have to see about that, won’t we?