Windows Vista SP1
Beta Set to Debut "> Microsoft is finally talking about the much-anticipated first service pack for Windows Vista and will release the first beta to a select group of about 15,000 customer and partner testers within the next few weeks. The Redmond, Wash., software maker will release the beta for Windows XP Service Pack 3 at the same time.Vista SP1 will also be made available to a larger group of testers "to make sure the community at large does have a chance to test appropriately" some time after the first beta is released, David Zipkin, senior product manager for Windows Client, told eWEEK Aug. 28. The Vista kernel has been dogged by bad drivers. Read more here. But he would not say when that is likely to take placegiven that it will depend on the feedback received from the initial set of testersor whether it will be known as Vista SP1 Beta 2. The current plan is to release Vista SP1 to manufacturing in the first quarter of 2008, with XP SP3 slated for release sometime in the first half of next year. Zipkin stressed that Vista SP1 will be very different from Windows XP SP2, which was all about security and broke a large number of applications, including some of Microsofts own, as it involved trade-offs around application compatibility and the user experience. Whats the matter with Vista? Here are 12 reasons why its struggling, and five ways to get it back on its feet. "That is not our intent with Vista SP1, which we are designing to limit user interface changes as much as possible. Those UI changes that we do make will be quite small and will not require retraining or anything like that," he said. Microsoft is going to do its best to limit any impact on application compatibility with SP1 and plans to add some shims to improve this, said Zipkin, who also noted that the service pack will include a change to the way applications communicate with the Windows Security Center. Starting with Vista SP1, application developers will have to use a new set of APIs to provide status updates to the Windows Security Center rather than using the Windows Management Interface. They must also embed an application manifest with the application and authenticode sign the reporting application, Zipkin said. "These development requirements will be required on all Windows Vista SP1 computers. Windows Security Center will continue to provide current status updates for software that is not compatible with Windows Vista SP1 Windows Security Center requirements for 90 days after SP1 is installed," he said. Read here about how Microsoft fixed a validation issue that withheld Vista features. If the application has not been updated to use the new Windows Security Center APIs during that time, the Windows Security Center will report the applications status as "yellow," indicating that the Security Center cannot verify the applications status, he said. Some of the improvements in SP1 also have trade-offs, the most significant one being the download size of the stand-alone package. While the service pack will be less than half the size of XP SP2, at about 50MB, when downloaded over Windows Update, where it is significantly compressed, the stand-alone package used by IT administrators to push out to PCs will be 1GB in size, Zipkin said. One of the reasons is SP1 will include all 36 languages, so an administrator could apply it to any PC in the organization regardless of language. Also, when delivered over Windows Update, it will be possible to send differentials to the files, so that if just 20 percent of the file changed, just that 20 percent would be sent. The stand-alone version, however, includes the full component, so if a file is changed inside a component, the entire component is sent. As Vista SP1 has been closely aligned with the development of Windows Server 2008, which will be released Feb. 27, 2008, and there is a large amount of common code between the two, a significant number of components have been changed. Page 2: Windows Vista SP1 Beta Set to Debut
Microsoft acknowledged Aug. 29 that it has already shared beta previews of Windows XP SP3 and Vista SP1 with small group of testers, a fact it refused to admit until recently despite numerous leaks on the Internet.