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.
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.