February Vista CTP in
Their Sights"> The next CTP, due in February, would be feature complete "and have lots of bugs" and be targeted mainly at Microsofts TAP (technology adopter program) testers. "We continue to work on the bugs and each CTP will get better in terms of quality. The December CTP was not feature complete and I think that the February one will have more features and fewer bugs, while the one that follows will be a consequential step up," he said.Read more here about Microsofts decision to release the next version of Exchange, Windows Server "Longhorn" Small Business Server and its Centro infrastructure solution only as 64-bit. But Microsoft has also learned that some of the changes were too advanced. "For example, we had a focus towards virtual folders, but we learned that is probably too much of a jump for customers." Allchin added that this would now be more like Windows XP when first opened, but with the virtual folders overlaid on top of that, allowing users to still create virtual folders, but offering a less severe change. Microsoft is also going to be asking some corporate TAP testers to install several hundred Vista desktops to get their feedback on how deployable it is, how compatible the drivers and applications are and whether the testers would be able to deploy this throughout their company going forward, he said. The CTP that follows the one in February is expected sometime in the second quarter of this yearsources said Apriland will be targeted at what is expected to be over a million consumers for feedback. Microsoft also "adopted" 5,000 consumers and tried to lock onto what they saying. "We listen to feedback very broadly, but we want to really get to know some of these customers really well," he said. Asked if any features that are expected to be in the product had been dropped to make the February feature-complete CTP build, Allchin said "not that I know of." But he reiterated that while he expected Vista to ship in time for the holiday season, the priorities he has set are, "quality, schedule and features. So if I dont think that we can achieve the quality I would in fact hold the release," he said. Microsoft announces it will skip Vista Beta 2. Click here to read more. But Microsoft is confident that quality would not hold back the release, as the entire Windows team was working on performance, application compatibility, device coverage, usability and bug fixes. "We have thousands of people who are doing nothing but making fixes as rapidly as they can. This is very different to past Windows releases where we had planned features included after beta two, and we are not doing that here. "So, Im optimistic, but Im also a realist and I know I would harm the industry more by having it go out without the necessary quality. But we feel pretty good by where we are right now," Allchin said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
The team will also continue to tweak the software throughout the process, and testers will see in the February release that the user interface has been changed, Allchin said.