The flaw in your analogy is that you're assuming you can simply
interchange kernel functionality like you can swap LPs - except that to do
so in NT's case would be to irreversibly change the aggregate "tune" of
kernel "collection," with the net result that legacy applications and
drivers would start breaking all over the place. So any such changes to the
"collection" would have to be extremely subtle so as not fundamentally alter
the "beat." Which is exactly how I'm describing the Windows 7 kernel
changes: So minor as to not merit more than the point release moniker that
the Windows core team assigned it (i.e. Windows NT 6.1).
To expand on your analogy, any attempt to significantly increase the
functionality of the NT kernel would require more than a re-shuffling of the
"LP" deck - it would necessitate the introduction of new "LPs" (threads) to
support this expanded capability while maintaining the existing "collection"
mostly intact in order to preserve the original "tune" (i.e. backwards
compatibility). Clearly, this has not taken place with Windows 7 but would
almost certainly need to take place in any major OS update that continues to
support legacy code.
Which brings me to my second point: You're dismissing established
precedent. *Every major* update of the NT kernel has introduced additional
threads in support of the new functionality provided. So while thread count
may not be *conclusive* proof that only minor changes have taken place, it's
a heck of a good place to start looking. And in the case of my article,
that's exactly what it was: An empirical starting point that helped me
quickly establish a set of assumptions (i.e. Windows 7 = Vista "R2") which I
then sought to further qualify through additional analysis and testing.
But I can understand your confusion. To the untrained eye, the kernel
thread count metric may seem "empty." But to someone who's been working with
this platform professionally since you were still finger painting in primary
school, it says an awful lot. It tells me this is a minor, as opposed to
major, update. It tells me that, barring a complete dismissal of legacy
compatibility, no *significant* new functionality has been introduced. And
it tells me that any performance optimizations made will deliver, at best,
modest gains - a supposition I later proved-out during benchmark testing.
BTW, I hope that LP collection of yours includes at least a few classic
American bands. Boston. Aerosmith. Led Zepplin. Maybe a little Tom Petty.
Please tell me you're not into "techno" or some kind of Euro-trash fluff -
that stuff's a waste of good rack space. :-(