Clean it up, Speed it up
In stark contrast with Vista, Server 2008 works extremely well in eWEEK Labs and in my own Linux-dominated office. Even with some security troubles, Server 2008 is a darn sight better than Vista or Server 2003. Cleaned and Speeded UpOne reason why people don't like Vista is not only is it slower than XP, it requires them to relearn how to do bread-and-butter operations. While Microsoft is at it, they can also throw out such annoying 'Vistaisms' as requiring users to answer seemingly endless menu choices on whether they really want to install a program or what have you. To make darn sure that Windows 7 doesn't have the software compatibility problems that still plague Vista SP1, they can also add an XP compatibility layer. This would actually be an XP VM (virtual machine) running with Server 2008's Hyper-V virtualization. If an application doesn't run with the native Server 8 core, no problem; just automatically run it in the XP VM. Old Windows hands will recall that Microsoft once used a similar approach in Windows NT 3.5 with a WOW (Windows on Windows) sub-system that let users run Windows 95 applications on NT. If Microsoft were to take this path, I can actually see the company delivering a new desktop operating system by 2009 that users would actually want to use. If they try, as they did with Vista, to reinvent the desktop operating system wheel, there's no way they'll get anything out until 2011 that users will want to run. And, by then, Microsoft's problem may be convincing Linux and Mac OS users to come back to Windows rather than trying to get XP users to upgrade.
So, what Microsoft could do is use Server 2008's kernel as the core of Windows 7. On top of that it adds a cleaned and speeded up Aero Glass interface, Silverlight and Internet Explorer 8. At the same time, Microsoft should dump the Vista user interface command structure and return to XP.