Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Jun 2017 21:51 UTC, submitted by Mauro A. Meloni
Windows

This article has been in my to read list for a few days now, but due to a lack of time I haven't been able to finish it yet. There's a lot of information in the article about the development of Windows Vista, and even though I haven't finished it yet I can guarantee you it's worth the read.

Mauro A. Meloni submitted a link to the article, accompanied by the following note:

It is quite long, but I've found it really interesting. It is a view of the old Microsoft, with its idiocyncracies and good and bad points, as seen from the inside.

I understand that Vista set the ground for the better Win7, but personally, my experience with the former was worse than awful. Sometimes a simple file copy operation of a few kb could take minutes. The real-time AV scans delayed every icon refresh, and each time I had to scan for Windows Updates, it would take a whole afternoon... Performance-wise, it was deplorable.

My experience with Vista wasn't all that different, but especially with the powers of hindsight it's hard to discount just how important Vista has been for Microsoft. It was all part of Microsoft's massive cleanup effort in the Windows codebase, the fruits of which the company is still picking today, and will be picking for a long, long time to come. Many other a company would've been forced to write a completely new operating system, but Microsoft actually managed to clean up such a complex codebase.

The cleanup of the Windows codebase might very well be one of the most impressive technical achievements in Microsoft's history, and Vista is a hugely important part of that.

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RE: Mmmm not convinced
by avgalen on Wed 7th Jun 2017 06:59 UTC in reply to "Mmmm not convinced"
avgalen
Member since:
2010-09-23

Surely the change from 9x to XP was an “opportunity to clean up the codebase”.
You need to study up a bit on your history. XP was a MERGER of codebases from the 9x kernel (mostly userland actually) to the NT kernel. 95->98->98SE->ME and NT 3.51->NT4->NT5 (2000)->NT5.1 (XP)

After XP SP2 (which could have been called a new OS but was a free major upgrade that finally made XP good) there was finally 1 codebase for both consumer, enterprise and server at Microsoft. There wasn't really any competition left so Microsoft did what they do worst: Think grandiose and act on it!

Vista was supposed to be so much more (google BlackComb/Longhorn demos) but they couldn't get it to work/perform so eventually they returned to the Server 2003 x64 codebase, implemented everything they thought was needed for Vista (UAC, new driver model) in a "minimum viable product" way and put it on the market before it was ready. It took hardware makers a while to get Vista-drivers ready, it took software makers a while to adjust to running as non-admin, it took Microsoft a while to fix some of the major bugs (like the file-copying-issue) and by the time SP1 came out Vista had become a decent OS with hugely increased requirements but a good foundation for the future. Ever since they have kept refining Vista with 7->8->8.1->10 all getting more features and performance without increasing requirements

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Mmmm not convinced
by Gone fishing on Wed 7th Jun 2017 07:38 in reply to "RE: Mmmm not convinced"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

You need to study up a bit on your history. XP was a MERGER of codebases from the 9x kernel (mostly userland actually) to the NT kernel. 95->98->98SE->ME and NT 3.51->NT4->NT5 (2000)->NT5.1 (XP)


Yes and your point is?
MS did some serious innovation when moving from 9x to XP. XP was a very different (and very much better) OS to 9x (built on the NT rather than 9x kernel) yet could run the same programs. MS took more or less a decade to update XP to Vista - it was a more modern (in 10 years it should be), but vile OS, I cant see this as “one of the most impressive technical achievements.” And as you state when it did ship much of the innovation of Longhorn was stripped away.

Certainly I see Haiku rebuilding and modernizing the BeOS codebase as way more impressive.

Edited 2017-06-07 07:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Mmmm not convinced
by Lennie on Wed 7th Jun 2017 09:17 in reply to "RE[2]: Mmmm not convinced"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

MS did some serious innovation when moving from 9x to XP.


Sorry, what did the NT-codebase do that other operating systems hadn't done before ?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Mmmm not convinced
by avgalen on Wed 7th Jun 2017 13:25 in reply to "RE[2]: Mmmm not convinced"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Yes and your point is?

My point is that moving from 9x to NT was not a good moment to clean up the codebase because that was the moment 2 codebases got merged and everyone was scrambling to make things work this time. This merger was supposed to happen in NT5/2000, not NT5.1/XP but they didn't make it on time. Microsoft needed to get it to work this time. The code cleanup came after XP for 2003 and it was lucky that they did because it was this cleaned up codebase that they had to get back to when Vista had to be reset. Vista messed up that codebase again to get things out of the door on time and since then Microsoft has been cleaning up and releasing OS-es in a much better way

I also don't see Vista as “one of the most impressive technical achievements.”, just as the foundation that was apparently good enough to keep Windows relevant. I do think it was impressive that after "BlackComb" failed they managed to get Vista out of the door so quickly.

Certainly I see Haiku rebuilding and modernizing the BeOS codebase as way more impressive.

Haiku is not rebuilding the BeOS codebase, it is reimplementing the BeOS "experience":
Haiku reimplements both the BeOS technologies as well as the end user experience, but it is far from being based on BeOS from a code base perspective. The only BeOS code that has made it into Haiku are Tracker and the Deskbar (the file manager and the equivalent of the start menu/taskbar, respectively). These were open sourced by Be Inc. back in 2001, later forked under the OpenTracker project, and eventually merged into the Haiku code base. The rest is either homebuilt code or derivatives of existing open source software.
(source: https://www.haiku-os.org/about/faq#what-is-haiku)

Reply Parent Score: 2