We sit and await the inevitable with the PDC and WinHEC conferences coming up soon. All eyes are on the news about Windows 7. We sit in expectation of everything from new screenshots to release dates. Windows 7 has been splashed across the trade magazines, Internet and blog sites like crazy the past few weeks.
In fact, it seems like everywhere I turn there is a story either about the markets plummeting or Windows 7 (not necessarily in that order).
Throughout the industry these days, Windows users wait to see if Windows 7 truly takes a step in the opposite direction of Windows Vista. How different it will really be is still open to debate. But two very notable changes are in the works for Microsofts newest offering.
First, it has been announced that Microsofts Windows 7 will not include the customary backwards compatibility that previous versions of Windows (including Vista) have had built into the operating system.
Now before you get ready to take a sledge hammer to that XP system of yours and do something crazy (like go out and buy a Mac), this is not a bad decision. This move no doubt comes in response to user complaints about how bloated and slow Vista is on their new PCs.
In Windows Vista, Microsoft used a process of creating a massive store to house the differing versions of the DLL libraries. When older software is installed and calls for a certain DLL the store goes and finds the proper version for that software to run on Vista. Of course that means that the store of libraries is quite large (several GBs actually).
Windows 7 will not be binary compatible with older versions of Windows. Instead, it will use virtualization for running these older programs. Trimming down the number of libraries that need to be loaded in the operating system will trim down the overall size of the operating system and no doubt create better performance.
In fact that is the drive behind this initiative: better performance from the operating system as well as faster applications from developers who will not need to worry about being backwards compatible to older versions of Windows.
Upgrading for Windows 7 users, though, will not be without pain. It is doubtful without any binary compatibility that there is any upgrade path at all.
So the performance increases will come with some difficulty, but here is where you need to make a choice:
Do you want a faster operating system or a backwards compatible operating system?
How this will play out will be an interesting scenario. As an IT professional myself, I would love an opportunity to walk into management and tell them we need to get rid of all the old stuff to get this new version of Windows with new applications that will outperform anything we could imagine.
Can you see how that will go with most organizations, especially in a market climate that is yo-yoing day-to-day?
As I said, it will be interesting!
The second change that has come to light was first reported by CNET News.