Happy 5th birthday, Windows XP!

by admin October 27, 2006 at 3:56 am

For a child, one’s fifth birthday is an exciting time, full of precious moments and limitless promise. For an operating system, coming up to one’s fifth birthday is a different matter entirely. By the time they reach this milestone, most operating systems have long since been retired or replaced by the Next Big Thing, often an updated version of themselves. For Windows XP, which is celebrating its fifth birthday this week, the big question is this: why has it taken so long for Microsoft to come up with a successor?

Whole books could be written about Microsoft’s trials and tribulations in getting Windows Vista to market, and likely will be. The computer industry is full of stories of companies who fell victim to “second-system syndrome,” the tendency to try and include every feature that was left out of the first (successful) product. The result can be an overambitious mess that encounters numerous delays and sometimes never ships at all.

While Vista does appear to be on track for a January 2007 release, it has not been an easy journey to RTM. Key features such as WinFS, the advanced database-like file system that was to sit on top of NTFS, were first dropped from the initial release of the operating system and then quietly shuffled off to become part of SQL Server and other standalone Microsoft products. Development on the Vista kernel got so bogged down that project leader Jim Allchin was forced to perform the infamous “Vista reset” in 2004, where the team abandoned their existing work to start over from the baseline Windows Server 2003 kernel.

Full article: Ars Technica