First Windows XP Service Pack on the Launch Pad

SP1, due next week, will include all the security fixes, application compatibility updates and updated drivers released since the launch of the product last October.

Microsoft Corp. is expected to release the first service pack for Windows XP sometime next week.

Sources close to the Redmond, Wash., software company told eWEEK on Wednesday that SP1 could be made available as early as next Tuesday, immediately after the Labor Day weekend.

The service pack, which has been in beta since June, will include all the security fixes, application compatibility updates and updated drivers released since the launch of the product last October.

In addition, a number of elements that comply with the changes required by the consent decree between Microsoft, the Department of Justice and the nine settling states are also included.

Those elements include changes that allow both computer manufacturers and users to hide Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger and Outlook Express.

But while Microsoft believes these moves address some of the requirements of the consent decree, which is still being considered by Washington D.C. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the nine states and the District of Columbia that have refused to sign off on the proposed antitrust settlement are calling for a modular version of the Windows operating system in addition to the fully integrated version of the product.

On Tuesday, Microsoft released additional technical information that should let third-party developers create software that works well with Windows. The release of this information is also mandated in its proposed antitrust settlement.

Microsoft Tuesday posted information about several hundred interfaces used by its middleware to obtain services from the Windows 2000 and Windows XP desktop client operating systems.

"While the vast majority of these interfaces were already documented among the thousands of application programming interfaces [APIs] in the Microsoft Platform Software Development Kit, Microsoft teams identified a few hundred undocumented Windows interfaces that were used by one or more of the Microsoft Middleware components," the company said. "Microsofts technical writers have documented these interfaces and made them available as APIs in the MSDN Online Library. After Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 releases, the Platform SDK will be available on the Microsoft Platform SDK download Web site."

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