back to article Developers to get Windows 7 pre beta next month

Microsoft will be showboating Windows Vista, mark two 7 at its forthcoming Professional Developer Conference (PDC) event next month, where developers will be able to get their mitts on a pre-beta build of the operating system. Meanwhile, the yawnfest surrounding speculation about what the OS will (or won’t) come loaded with …

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Ash

Veeeeeeeeeeery interesting...

A Microsoft product without the bloat... Will it support more hardware than a 5 year old Linux kernel this time around, though?

The only reason i'd upgrade is to get DX10, and as that's hardly a big step up from 9 i'm in no rush. I'll probably skip Vista; The only MS OS i've never used.

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Stop

Pre-Beta...

Wouldn't that be an alpha release?

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Gates Horns

Yes, yes...

"given that many features in Vista will be absent"

If the DRM's gone, they'll have a sale from me. Otherwise XP will continue to rule my roost.

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Kernal

The thing is, so what if the kernal is the same. It's the bit that sits on top that is important to 99% of the poeple using it. I couldn't give a toss if it was based on the ZX Spectrun kernal, so long as it works.

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Jobs Halo

Listening to customers

It's good that Microsoft has listened to its customers this time. They are only releasing the pre-beta of Windows 7 to the developers instead of the entire public, as with Vista.

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Gates Halo

Not time for kernel to pop

As far as I can tell there isn't much wrong with the Vista kernel other than the DRM - which is a good thing if it stops people buying DRM content. If Microsoft strip out all of the crapware in Windows 7 (yes, you too, Aero) and make the OS itself better to work with, I might actually want to upgrade this time...

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Need to rethink

Windows 7 is going to be like Windows Vista, which was like XP, which was like 98, which was like 95.

They need to simplify and come up with something new. There's just far too much clutter and a scattergun approach to Windows. Looking at the blog, they seem to think it's fantastic to use because their 'research' tell them 95% of users do x, 3% of users do y and 2% of users do z. Maybe 100% of users want to try it a better way, if MS thought of something new.

Take the image they posted on their blog: [url]https://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/e7/WindowsLiveWriter/UserInterfaceStartingLaunchingandSwitchi_1321B/clip_image002_2.jpg[/url]

Everything is crammed together at the bottom of the screen, just as it's always been. The blogger thinks it's the bees knees. No - it's so cluttered and poorly designed. I hate the start menu with a passion, mainly because you spend more time keeping it tidy than using the thing.

NEW IDEAS NEEDED.

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"steer customers away from Vista"

That's got to be the easiest brief an adman ever got.

Put the phone down, kick back and count the money.

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I might be interested

if “advances”, “enhancement” and "many features in Vista will be absent" means that the DRM goes out the window, along with whatever else Vista loads in the background to max out my CPU 95% of the time (XP and Debian on the same machine tick over at 10% and 2% CPU when unloaded)

I hope El Reg can let us know...

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what it all means is that...

Vista is the ME of the now it was rushed out as microsoft needed to show it's still in the game now we wil get the really OS. but i'll still wait for the first service pack with xp microsoft got some of my respect back but as the saying goes first we try then we trust.

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But what of DRM?

... and the terrible driver architecture that came with it? Those seem to have been the biggest problems with Vista. Until MS fixes their architecture, I don't see much point of another OS.

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Tim
Alert

Fallen out of love with MS.

Yes, but will it work?

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Stop

OS bloat

"given that many features in Vista will be absent, it might even come with less bloat"

Looking forward to it... as their advertising slogan they could use "the wow stops now, but actually works this time" (fingers crossed)

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Gates Horns

Am i missing something?

Were people complaining about having a movie editor or an email app?

I thought the problems were the interface, the UAC, the enormous memory and processor requirements and other things of that ilk.

None of those actual problems can be resolved by taking out a few apps that people don't care much about and only load up voluntarily, surely?

Microsoft may just have completely missed why people don't like Vista....

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Fantastic !!

Amazing, incredible, wonderful, etc. etc. etc.

In fact I can't wait for it to go on public release so someone can buy it and tell me what it's like.

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Who cares?

I will just me more bloat, more unstable and more useless.

Does M$ not understand that more people are moving away from Windows (well, Vista at any rate) because they are hacked off with a shit OS?

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Paris Hilton

A turd by any other name is still a turd

I avoided Vista and I plan to avoid this POS until MS gets the idea of stripping out the DRM infestation and such like, not just the movie making portion.

What they should do is toss out Vista and its kernel and dust off the XP code and start there.

Oh well, more money saved on a crappy OS....

Paris, because even she wouldn't fall for this crap again.

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IT Angle

Windows Vista, mark two 7

Hmm, haven't heard of that version before.

^That, by the way, is what we see in an RSS reader that shuns your strikethrough and other unhelpful markup. Another telling example from today's reportage, as we see it:

'Tis Execution Dock a council flat for ye, matey

Gibberish! Please, for the love of Mike, stop the incessant use of the Strikethrough Gag-Delivery Mechanism(TM) like it's a new toy. There are other ways of delivering the same type of gag... or if you must use it, you being IT gurus an' all, how about just dropping the struck text from the RSS summary? I can't possibly read all your stories in the time allowed me, and I resent the extra cycles I spend investigating a nonsense title or summary just to see whether the author or copy-ed has just had an aneurysm or something.

AAAARGH!

Oh, and what in Sam Hill did you do with your 'visual refresh' that's making my s60 browser crash on every page-load? I asked your webmaster, but answer came there none...

Where's the IT <strike>angle</strike> Manager?

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errr that means Alpha?

Doesnt pre-beta mean alpha?

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Unhappy

Typical MS

Lets recall what they did with the original Xbox, they rushed out a new one and killed the old one stone dead. Deader than the dreamcast.

Kinda sucks if you are studying up for those damn MCSE upgrade exams.

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Original...

... and unbias </sarcasm>

- As MS announced prior to Vista being launched, Windows will be updated on a 3 year cycle to help people that were done short by Software Assurance. This isn't some revelation or news - it's MS making things more predictable.

- There will be no new kernel - of course not. It gets updated from the previous version of Windows; as it always has been since the start of the NT line. There is little doubt that the Windows NT Kernel is good enough. Win2k8 Server is getting pretty good reviews yet it's the same kernel as Vista. (Well, technically Vista SP1 is using the same kernel as Windows Server)

- Removing applications and making the platform more modular should help reduce "bloat", and giving download links to the Live versions of the apps is no different that OEM's having AOL and Wanadoo links on their builds. Reducing the bloat and making the OS more component-based is something that the MS bashers have been asking for since Vista's launch

- The latest news from MS is that Windows 7 will be shipping around the first half of 2010, about 3 years from when Vista was released.

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Boffin

Apple

After MS sort out the sheer bloat of the OS, their next priority has to be without doubt matching and maybe surpassing Apple's interface. I'm not an apple fan, but their machines are a dream to use. MS should target stuffing them into the ground. THATS how they are going to get their reputation back.

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Law
Pirate

Another DRM call

If it's released DRM free, then I will bite... otherwise, they can whistle.

To be honest, I don't even care if they still do drm for their zune players or windows media player etc - just as long as it doesn't come pre-installed, and tied to the core of the operating system. Like WGA, I have the option of unticking that option during an update, and not have to worry about it... I want the same option for DRM software.

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Gates Horns

Originally

Wasn't Windows 7 supposed to be a complete kernal rewrite from vista?

I guess that is being scrapped to just get the damn thing out of the door quickly. Seriously though, if it were me , I would look at improving the XP code base, at least it works.

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ITConsultant

Concerning the 'alpha' release showing of Windows Vista 2, er... Windows7, Microsoft states that one will be able to...

...“Learn more about opportunities to build on the platform’s commitment to OS fundamentals...".

Wait a sec. "...the platform's commitment to OS fundamentals..."??

Does this mean that whatever MS is getting ready to shove down your throats once again is compact, very fast, unobtrusive, efficiently manages all applications, memory, and I/O; is robust and error-free?

If so, I'll take one.

Otherwise, continue going away, Microsoft.

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Go

Looking for XP v2

I want an updated version of XP, not Vista.

XP Media Center to be exact.

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Stop

DRM - be realistic!

It's not EVER going away, EVER!!

I'm certainly no fan of it and avoid it at all costs by either a) downloading what I want b) buying the physical product - the reality is that it keeps too many industry fat cats and copyright enforcers happy, unfortunately!!

Vistas not great by a long-shot but the year is 2008 and hardware is a lot cheaper and more powerful than ever... I run it on a reasonably old HP nx8220 with 2GB RAM and it's pretty smooth and I'm happy (most days).

No one liked XP until SP1... then again no one liked ME...ever!

I'll save my judgement for the final version of 7.

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Misty Eyes

Lets not get all sentimentale about XP, Vista is aweful, but XP isn't perfect, I still see spyware infections daily on XP machines (not in my office mind) :) it's far from perfect.

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Pirate

DRM, hammering on the theme...

If they've ripped out the DRM core of Vista then I might actually consider buying Windows 7. I'm philosophically opposed to DRM since it cannot work (and has repeatedly been demonstrated not to) and I really resent being assumed to be a criminal. AFAIK a huge amount of Vista's crap performance is simply down to the DRM, anyone knowing better I'd welcome enlightenment... Make Windows 7 about as quick as XP on the same hardware and MS might actually have a product. Make it run in 64-bit natively and happily run 32-bit apps seamlessly and fast (like OS X does) then MS might have a credible replacement for XP.

I can hope but I definitely won't hold my breath :P

Skull and crossbones since pirates are the only people not inconvenienced by DRM

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Jim
IT Angle

Time will tell, or bad pun

Will Microsoft get this one right? Are is this just going to be, "Life with Walls." Judging by the IE 8 beta 2 this is just going to be another brick in the wall...

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Anonymous Coward

@James

"Make it run in 64-bit natively and happily run 32-bit apps seamlessly and fast (like OS X does) then MS might have a credible replacement for XP."

Vista-64 does run "32-bit apps seamlessly and fast". Too seamlessly, if the almost total lack of 64-bit builds of common apps is anything to go by.

Microsoft should make Windows 7 64-bit only, so that driver developers will have some incentive to write 64-bit drivers.

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Pirate

DRM is here to stay ... and with good reason (and @Alexis Vallance)

Whilst many are annoyed by DRM, it's here to stay. Why? 3 primary reasons:

1) Content publishers demand it. If the DRM was stripped, MS would be open to multiple lawsuits from any number of powerful, well-backed organizations for deliberately releasing an OS that permits people to view/listen-to DRM protected content, but without protecting the DRM rights. Don't like DRM? Then go talk to your senators and overturn RIAA.

2) DRM is actually extremely useful in a corporate setting - it allows you to determine who can read the documents/spreadsheets etc., that you create. If you DRM your Word/Excel/Etc. files, and they happen to fall into the wrong hands, then they can't be cracked and read. If only more apps and more people used DRM to protect content by default, there'd be less hullabaloo each time a civil servant left their laptop on a train and/or had it stolen!

3) DRM is actually used to protect some of your most personal data and settings within the OS itself ... things you most certainly would NOT want someone else to be able to easily obtain.

Regarding the questions about whether Win7 is faster and more stable than Vista ... I think you're going to be pleasently surprised.

And Alexis Valance: Read the paper again - the start bar image you linked to was a screenshot of the Vista start bar, identifying the regions of the bar discussed in the article. You'll have to wait to see what the Win7 team have cooked up to make its start bar more usable and helpful.

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Stop

David Hicks & Windows Features

No. Nobody was bitching about having a built in email client, movie editor, media player, or Internet browser, 98% of users weren't bitching anyway.

The only people that were bitching are people who make email clients, movie editors, media players, or Internet browsers because they felt that because Windows included these features it wasn't fairly competitive and if Windows didn't include those things then their tiny little companies would have a shot at success. It's quite silly actually.

The people who attacked Microsoft on anti-trust grounds are failures from day one. They want people to pay for something that's already included with the product you purchase. Sort of like buying a car that comes with everything but a radio, window glass, and tires - if you want those things you've got to pay a 3rd party more money because providing a car that does all that is unfair to people trying to sell radios, window glass, and tires.

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Coat

OK devs: Here's your second chance to GET IT RIGHT

You scuppered up on supporting Vista big time, even though you had a year's warning this was coming. Now you not only have beta code to play with, but "pre-beta" code, whatever that means, to test your garbage.

Don't fail us again... (Admiral.)

Mine's the coat with the black mask

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Silver badge

Why the kernel matters

Much of the Vista crapness has been due to driver problems.

If the kernel stays the same, then likely the driver model is staying the same and the biggest set of Vista headaches does not go away.

Covering a turd with new pixels won't turn it into chocolate cake.

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Pirate

Peel back the cover

And it looks like another Vistaster to me.

It smells like a Vistaster.

And what's with that tin of Vaseline that comes with every license?

If it's Whinedos, it's XP: Until they pry it from my cold, dead fingers...

(Has anyone wondered which O/S they've been using over at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?)

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@Rich Turner

<RT>Whilst many are annoyed by DRM, it's here to stay. Why? 3 primary reasons:</RT>

Here to stay? I doubt it. People are cottoning on to how crappy DRM really is. DRM is broken by design. Ultimately the aim of any content publisher is that consumers can view the plain text (the movie, song, whatever). Since this is encrypted by DRM the consumer must be in possession of: the cipher text (the DRM'd file), the cipher and the cipher's key (supposedly hidden in the OS/software). In case you hadn't figured it out yet, this is like giving someone a book to read which is in a locked box. You still have to give them the key so they can open the box and read it. If you give them the key then you may as well not bother with the locked box. DRM is security by obscurity and we've seen just how well that has worked... Have you noticed how even iTunes has moved towards unencumbered music? Dear, oh dear, what will those pesky users want next?

<RT>1) Content publishers demand it. If the DRM was stripped, MS would be open to multiple lawsuits from any number of powerful, well-backed organizations for deliberately releasing an OS that permits people to view/listen-to DRM protected content, but without protecting the DRM rights. Don't like DRM? Then go talk to your senators and overturn RIAA.</RT>

Talk to senators? I'm sure you mean MP's... The way to really hurt people like the RIAA is to hurt their revenue stream, stop buying their DRM infected crap. Buy the stuff that doesn't have DRM infestation. The indies who do not require DRM manage to sell just fine. The so called 'majors' need to realise that most pirated copies are not lost sales, most of those folks were never going to pay for it. Ironically, DRM causes reduced sales and increased piracy. Just look at the debacle over SecuROM in Spore: EA lost a lot of sales they would have had if they'd just avoided DRM and treating customers like criminals. The pirates had their DRM-free version in under 24 hours. Everytime people have figured out DRM is what's getting in their way, they've rebelled against it. Pissing your customers off is not a long term tactic and more and more people are getting wise to what DRM means for them.

In case you hadn't noticed DVD Jon, the author of DeCSS, could not be prosecuted because he was not breaking any laws. He has a right to watch his legally purchased content on whatever OS he wanted. The argument of major lawsuits against OS vendors for not supporting DRM is little more than a spectre cooked up by the content companies who want to maintain their pitifully out of date, stranglehold business model.

<RT>2) DRM is actually extremely useful in a corporate setting - it allows you to determine who can read the documents/spreadsheets etc., that you create. If you DRM your Word/Excel/Etc. files, and they happen to fall into the wrong hands, then they can't be cracked and read. If only more apps and more people used DRM to protect content by default, there'd be less hullabaloo each time a civil servant left their laptop on a train and/or had it stolen!</RT>

Please don't confuse DRM with proper encryption of sensitive data. DRM is a smokescreen which uses supposedly secret keys which are actually distributed to everyone who wants to read the content (your DVD player for example). Encrypting data involves (and this is the important bit) KEEPING THE KEY SECRET and only giving the key to those who need it. Full-drive encryption of a laptop, for example, does not involve distributing the keys to every Blu-ray player in the world. Your argument is a straw man.

<RT>3) DRM is actually used to protect some of your most personal data and settings within the OS itself ... things you most certainly would NOT want someone else to be able to easily obtain.</RT>

Bollocks. See point 2. Encryption of sensitive data is not the same as DRM. The difference is in the publication of the keys.

<RT>Regarding the questions about whether Win7 is faster and more stable than Vista ... I think you're going to be pleasently surprised.</RT>

Having used Vista, that really won't be hard.

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Law
Linux

RE: DRM is here to stay ... and with good reason

"1) Content publishers demand it. If the DRM was stripped, MS would be open to multiple lawsuits from any number of powerful, well-backed organizations for deliberately releasing an OS that permits people to view/listen-to DRM protected content, but without protecting the DRM rights. Don't like DRM? Then go talk to your senators and overturn RIAA."

Not so - it would fall on the content providers to supply the drm software with their products - which they all seem to do anyway, Windows is a platform, and if people want to protect their content on the Windows platform then it doesn't fall on M$ to provide it. Yes, when they release their own music/video/ebook store and gadget (zune) it will be up to M$ to protect the content if the publishers demand it, but even the gadget is up for debate, since Creative, SanDisk and many other manufacturers have devices than be copied to/from without the need for a DRM system. So no - M$ isn't actually required to have DRM at Win7's core. I can only imagine they did it in Vista to convince publishers they were serious about digital media, to control the viewing experience of the user by controlling the hardware it would use with HD media (for some reason?!), and finally lock people into their DRM system with Vista so they could sell licenses for it and make windows/theirdrm indispensable! Same with Apple and iTunes/iPod - they may say the drm was forced on them, but it's helped them sell a hell of alot of ipods, and digital music/movie files. If you fancy an example of a DRM free system, try a bare copy of XP with a copy of winamp and a creative zen mp3 player, or pretty much any linux distribution with Amarok, and I'm pretty sure the only drm on a virgin osx install is in iTunes - and it only restricts if the content was purchased through itunes.

"2) DRM is actually extremely useful in a corporate setting - it allows you to determine who can read the documents/spreadsheets etc., that you create. If you DRM your Word/Excel/Etc. files, and they happen to fall into the wrong hands, then they can't be cracked and read. If only more apps and more people used DRM to protect content by default, there'd be less hullabaloo each time a civil servant left their laptop on a train and/or had it stolen!"

DRM is also extremely inconvenient and can be expensive in the corporate setting - it ties you into one implementation of that DRM, and is normally OS specific too. Therefore files which are bogged down in DRM can't be transferred to devices that don't have the drm decoding software, like phones, laptops, other os's, etc. It is far easier to stick to accepted encryption algorithms, that are wildly implemented on many devices, and are actually proven to protect data - which drm is yet to prove. DRM also alienates your customer base, and annoys people when they realise they've been duped into accepting it. Some DRM is fine though, like on an xbox 360 when you "rent" a movie over xbox live... DRM itself isn't inherently evil, it just depends on the setting and implementation - but in the case of an operating system, there is no need for it to be in there on a virgin install - if it's needed later it should be installed when needed, not slowing down and annoying everybody else because a handful of people might find it useful on day.

"3) DRM is actually used to protect some of your most personal data and settings within the OS itself ... things you most certainly would NOT want someone else to be able to easily obtain."

Not here... I have never bought anything from a DRM infested service - all my mp3's, videos and files are DRM free. If things need protecting, like personal documents, then I use military grade encryption with a virtual drive - which is not the same thing as DRM. DRM isn't protecting the user from anything - it's usually controlling the number of times a document can be accessed, and how it is accessed, before it self-destructs - and this is normally to the benefit of corporations, not the end users. I definitely have never heard of anybody who has used DRM for their person files, it makes more sense to encrypt your files in a portable mountable file.

"Regarding the questions about whether Win7 is faster and more stable than Vista ... I think you're going to be pleasently surprised."

I hope so - I actually liked some of the Aero stuff in Vista, but couldn't live with the wait time between copying files, and a few other show stoppers, like the network management was awful, CPU usaged after an update was disgusting taking 100% for several minutes, just to check you got all the updates?! ... I did however love the media centre - it seemed to use my 3 year old tuner instantly, didn't need 3rd party drivers for it, and was really good at streaming stuff to my xbox 360 too. Also never had as many issues as other people made out with UAC, I certainly never noticed much more than my mac asks me when I do things like load a bootcamp partition every day with vmware, or during installs/updates.

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Joke

Beta is the new buzzword

Beta is good, beta is cool, all the best dude's apps an stuff is beta. Pre=beta must be even more l33t and c00l!!!

What a crock; "pre-beta" is alpha if you wish to stick arbitrary labels along various points in your development cycle, or has even your labeling now been taken over by the marketing people?

Joke is how labels are now applied, production is now beta without the responsibility, products are pre-ordered not ordered, and pre-beta is the new alpha.

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Silver badge

@Rich Turner

I think you are confusing encryption and DRM. These things are not the same.

You state that DRM is useful in a corporate setting. I highly doubt that. Encryption is though, as is controlling who accesses what on a server, but DRM does not serve in either function.

You state that DRM is used in the (Windows) OS to protect private data. That is not true either, once again it is encryption that is used for that purpose - and rather feeble encryption at that, given the ease with which hackers and other scum are able to pry the data they want from OS weaknesses.

DRM is used only where media is concerned. DRM is what downgrades a signal from movie file to screen if Vista is not 100% sure that everything is fine and dandy throughout the chain. DRM is what prevents you from installing that brand-new game you just bought, because the stupid protection cannot even recognize its own official disk. DRM is why Vista had so much trouble deleting files and transmitting files across the network, because each byte was being checked in case it was a pirated byte - and since the system had no chance in Hell of knowing, the whole thing was hopelessly bogged down.

In short, encryption and controlled access have all the virtues you mistakenly attribute to DRM, whilst DRM has only one : to royally piss of any honest customer (whereas pirates, ironically, are plague-free and can do as they wish).

I refuse DRM the right to exist on my computer. I do not have Vista, and if Vista II is the same turd, it will not do any better in my house. I do not play Spore and I refuse to buy any EA game until they abandon the practice. I have stopped buying music ten years ago, when all this nonsense started, and the only music I listen to is what I have in my existing CD collection. I have enough to do in my life without kowtowing to outrageous demands from organizations that act with an authority no one has given them.

Life has enough restrictions as is, I will not be imposed more in my leisure activities.

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Paris Hilton

Tin Machine II

"No one liked XP until SP1... then again no one liked ME...ever!" - that's because you have never had anything to offer. You're not good-looking or funny and you never had any cool toys. Get used to it.

"Talk to senators? I'm sure you mean MP's" - the majority of The Register's readers are based in the US, and for better or worse that is where change comes from. There is no point talking to British politicians about digital rights management, because the very very few who would understand your points are in no position to do anything about it. It is a global problem, which means that it is an American problem, at least until China becomes the dominant superpower. And when or if China becomes the dominant superpower, I envisage more DRM rather than less. More, and more pervasive DRM, and not just in entertainment products. Right now I imagine that the Chinese authorities don't care about Chinese piracy of American media, because it does the Chinese economy no harm, and sticks it in the eye of the Americans. When Chinese piracy starts to negatively impact the revenue of Chinese businesses, the sticks and handcuffs and s-lon pipes will come out.

"The indies who do not require DRM manage to sell just fine" - they don't. Independent records sell in tiny numbers; independent record labels make very little money, and frequently go bust, and this has nothing to do with DRM, it's a consequence of a matrix of economic factors that disfavour independent record labels. It is nice to believe that independent artists and record labels can make a living from their wares, but the few I know rely on their day jobs to fund their activities, albeit that they earn a fair amount working in IT (ironically enough). The economic downturn will not be kind to them. Besides, although it appears from forums such as this that DRM is a major concern, it is in reality the obsession of a trivial trivial few, spread out across the world, the same few thousand people who post on the same boards and who moan about the "Loudness Wars" - that kind of person, loathsome bores.

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Coat

"A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection" by Peter Gutmann

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

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Happy

I only release my code in pre-pre-pre-alpha-pre-before-release-pre-alpha-beta

That way I don't actually have to write anything.

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Black Helicopters

@Max

You have a real future.

I once got "removed" from a government contract for unmasking another contractor who charged the client 1600 hours for a Draft Preliminary Report Outline.

Never steal the emperor's new clothes.

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@phat

They probably removed you because you didn't alert them earlier.

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