Allchin Looks Ahead to Next Vista CTP and Beyond

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-01-30 Print this article Print

Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft's Platform Products & Services, shares his thoughts on the next Vista CTP as well as "Vienna," the Windows version that will follow Vista.

While the majority of Microsofts Windows client development team is working to get Windows Vista out the door before the end of this year, there is a small team already working on a set of core technologies for "Vienna", the version that will follow Vista.

Sources have told eWEEK that Microsoft is referring to Vienna as Windows 2010 and that it is likely to be a major update of the pervasive operating system.
It is likely to be the version that follows Vista Release 2, which will be due in late 2007 or early 2008 based on the current plan of a Windows client update every two years.
Microsoft officials seldom talk about Vienna, given that their focus is on Vista. But earlier this month the company confirmed that it had changed the product code name from "Blackcomb" to Vienna. Jim Allchin, the co-president of Microsofts Platform Products & Services Division in Redmond, Wa., told eWEEK in an interview that he was surprised there had been so much interest in the code name change, adding that there had been several changes before that had not leaked out. There was also no big reason behind the code name change, he said. Click here to read about the possible changes at Microsoft when Jim Allchin retires. With regard to Vienna, Allchin said that while he was not thinking about a specific core feature-set for the product, the development team was working on a core set of themes and technologies slated for that release and even beyond. "Vienna is far enough out that I do not think about it in terms of core features, but I think about it in terms of themes, and we are working on a set of core technologies that we want to get to. "There are areas where Im spending time with the [Vienna] core development team in terms of componentization, extensibility, the application model and those sorts of things. But that is for the future, not for Windows Vista," Allchin said. There is a small set of people who are working on some advanced technologies, looking at the things of the future and doing some code, Allchin said, adding that none of the Vista development team would be moving across to Vienna anytime soon. "We are just at the point where everybody is all-hands-on-deck … we have so many issues that we are trying to work through here [with Vista]. Things like device performance, application compatibility and device drivers," Allchin said. Asked if he thought that "Vienna" would be a 64-bit release only, rather than having 32-bit and 64-bit versions as with Vista, Allchin said, "I certainly hope so. You know the decisions we have already made around that on the server side." "We have already said that we are not going to have unsigned drivers and that is just the beginning for us to make the system that much more locked down. "Not knowing where something is coming from is a real problem," he added. With regard to the upcoming CTP (community technology preview) builds of Vista, Allchin said that while each of these goes out to hundreds of thousands of testers, and each one is targeted at an audience that Microsoft will listen to the hardest. "There are specific people whose feedback we are trying to get in," Allchin said. Next Page: February Vista CTP in their sights.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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