There’s a lot of detail from the design of Windows 7, to the development teams, Windows Live integration strategies and of course the man, the legend, Steven Sinofsky who’s influencing the release cycles of Windows. And don’t forget Calculator, Paint and Notepad.
The review is real. Without Aero, however, the reviewer missed some of the good stuff that’s in the builds (mostly some new effects with the taskbar, and thumbnails).
The thing to remember, however, is that this is the end of M1 (i.e. milestone 1), and there are three milestones. There won’t be any major visual refresh until after M2 (i.e., everything will be implemented with the Vista look-and-feel until after M2). Whatever the new visual look of Win7 will be will be kept under wraps for quite a while. This is no different from Luna for XP and Aero for Vista.
Windows 7 is also the product of two teams working together: the WEX (or Windows Experience) team, which has primary responsibility for client releases as well as most user-focused features, and COSD (Core Operating System Division), which has responsibility for the kernel, networking, device support, and so on. COSD operates on a longer runway than WEX, meaning that work from that team will show up later in the cycle than work from the WEX team. Note: SteveSi is only in charge of the Windows team. Jon DeVaan runs COSD.
The other thing that should be considered is the relationship between Windows and Windows Live. Windows Live has taken ownership of most of the “service connected” features in Windows — Mail, Messenger, Photo Gallery, at a minimum. You can expect to see a Windows Live release in the same timeframe as Windows 7 that makes the “Windows + Windows Live” combination a killer one. Important note: Windows Live will be a strict add-on to Windows and it will take advantage of hooks provided by Windows that will be available to anyone. That was the promise when Windows Live was announced, and it will remain that way. So you will be able to install Yahoo stuff and have deep integration with Windows just as easily, as long as Yahoo chooses to take advantage of the new Win7 hooks.
That said, Windows Live is focused on more near term releases, so they are not doing deep plannng for the Windows 7 release right now. So it’s impossible to say exactly what that combination will look like. SteveSi is also in charge of the Windows Live Experience (WLEX or just LEX) team.
Finally, it’s important to understand one aspect of the SteveSi philosophy, which might be phrased as “there is always another version” or, more generally, the philosophy of developing release-rhythm. Under Allchin, Windows tended to get into the “big-bang or dot-release” mindset — each release either qualified as a dot-release (i.e. 6.0 to 6.1 — a minor update or refresh, usually ignored by the senior folks) or a “big-bang” release, which would try to change the world in one go. Very few dot-releases every lasted as such. Longhorn was supposed to be a dot-release to XP( that’s why it was named after the half-way point between the two big releases - Whistler and Blackcomb). The vision and scope changed drastically for reasons I was in no position to really understand. Big-bangs tend to collapse under their own weight (see: Longhorn :).
Microsoft, Windows 7, Windows Seven, Review, Windows Live, Win7, Aero