back to article Operation Redstone: Microsoft preps double Windows update in 2016

Windows 10 isn't even fully baked yet, but reports have it that Microsoft is already planning its next OS release, which will arrive after Windows 10 ships later this year. Neowin was the first to leak that a new Windows release for next year, codenamed "Redstone," is in the works, and prolific Redmond-watcher Mary Jo Foley …

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  1. keithpeter
    Windows

    LTS?

    "Such a schedule would also see Windows development mirroring that of Linux distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu, which issue new releases semiannually."

    Will there be a Windows LTS though?

    Ubuntu: LTS every 2 years each with 5 years support

    Fedora: Basically acts as the input/testing platform for RHEL, each release of which has a 10 year support period (and no-cost clones including CentOS, now owned by RedHat).

    1. thames

      Re: LTS?

      @keithpeter - " Ubuntu: LTS every 2 years each with 5 years support. Fedora: Basically acts as the input/testing platform for RHEL ..."

      This is a problem the article has when comparing Windows to Linux. The Ubuntu and RHEL/Fediora models are utterly different from each other and the author doesn't understand them. There is only one Ubuntu (GUI and CPU choices aside), there's no such thing as a "community/freetard edition". What you download from Canonical is the same whether you pay them or not. Every six months they put out a development release, but every two years they put out an LTS. You can skip an LTS release and still have support.

      Red Hat on the other hand handles things very differently. Fedora is generally packed with bleeding edge stuff, and has a support life of only a little over a year (the length varies). You get a month or two of grace after the next release, but then you have to upgrade if you want security fixes. RHEL is only available to paying customers (yes CENTOS is a RHEL clone, but it's not called RHEL) and it comes out at erratic, infrequent intervals like Windows does. It's not a timed release.

      With Ubuntu, you upgrade in-place by clicking on a button (or by typing a command if you are using a GUI-less server). You upgrade RHEL by nuking and installing from scratch. Fedora attempts an in-place upgrade, but more often than not it fails. Most Fedora users don't seem to even try in-place upgrades anymore.

      Ubuntu and Red Hat release on completely different principles. Comparing Windows to Ubuntu and Fedora tells us nothing about what Microsoft intends to do. Will it be like Ubuntu? If so, will there be non-LTS development releases? Will it be like RHEL - nuke and re-install? Or will it be like Fedora - upgrade every year, with in-place upgrades failing left and right?

      Perhaps the author could have thrown in Arch just to complete the confusion - upgrade every day to the very latest off the fingertips of the developers, with things working most of the time, but with the occasional complete failure.

      I suspect that the Microsoft Windows developers want something like Arch, sales and marketing want something like RHEL, and the IT press think that the result will be something like Ubuntu.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: LTS?

        "You upgrade RHEL by nuking and installing from scratch."

        Uh? This may be needed on major version jumps, but minor ones like 7.0-> 7.1 are upgraded in place.

        Anyway, in corporate environments, IT doesn't want to hear anything about rolling releases in either Windows or Linux. Systems and in-house apps standardize on, say Windows 7 and RHEL5 for years, and major upgrading (apart from "patches") is done only when the disadvantages of sticking with the old start being painfully obvious. If Microsoft thinks they can dispense with clear versioning, then they will have trouble with the corporate market.

  2. Kunari

    Maybe they'll do the server route and go with Windows 10r2 so everyone has to pay for the service pack.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not really a service pack, the naming was just stupid. If you compare it to the client OS, it was really a new OS version. Eg:

      2008 = Vista

      2008 R2 = 7

      2012 = 8

      2012 R2 = 8.1

      1. Adam Jarvis

        You Missed out Windows 8.1 Update 1

        There is another you missed..

        Windows 8.1 Update 1, (Windows 8.2) which at the time added the right click arrangement of tiles and Shutdown icon to the full screen Metro, and was another mammoth, forever install.

        It was the point Windows Update was permanently named F'in Windows Update, aswell.

        If you weren't already confused, it certainly got confusing when you tried a system restore/'refresh', and it said 'Insert Media'. At which point, you thought - there is no Media for Windows 8.1 Update 1?

        Of course you can always add 'mixes' to spice the confusion process up - Windows Media Player add-on Upgrade (for Pro only), Basic. Home Premium,Professional,Enterprise and of course 32bit and 64bit variants.

        F'in Windows Update needs serious work.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WinFSm fine-ah-bloody-ly ? Maybe just a decent file search ?

    Will it have WinFS, at last ?! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinFS

    Alright then, a non-shit file search ?

    It will be 2016 by then, Microsoft. Is decent file search too much to ask ?

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: WinFSm fine-ah-bloody-ly ? Maybe just a decent file search ?

      A new Windows file system that acknowledged some of the advances in file systems over the last 20 years would be nice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WinFSm fine-ah-bloody-ly ? Maybe just a decent file search ?

        "A new Windows file system that acknowledged some of the advances in file systems over the last 20 years would be nice."

        ReFS is already more advanced than pretty much any other file system on the market - and it's not yet feature complete: "In 2014, a review of ReFS and assessment of its readiness for production use, concluded that ReFS had key advantages over two of its main file system competitors - ZFS and Btrfs"

        1. Oninoshiko

          Re: WinFSm fine-ah-bloody-ly ? Maybe just a decent file search ?

          ReFS is already more advanced than pretty much any other file system on the market - and it's not yet feature complete: "In 2014, a review of ReFS and assessment of its readiness for production use, concluded that ReFS had key advantages over two of its main file system competitors - ZFS and Btrfs"

          The key advantage was memory usage, and the only reason it was an advantage was because they had dedup enabled on ZFS, a feature ReFS does not even support . Disabling that feature (which is not enabled by default, and generally accepted as a awful idea unless you are completely sure you know what you are doing) eliminated that one advantage.

          ReFS lacks: dedup, COW snapshots, compression, quotas, hard-links, extended attributes, oh and a little thing called "the ability to boot off it". It's also a completely dog if you have integrity checking enabled (something ZFS has, and performs fine with)

      2. Not That Andrew

        Re: WinFSm fine-ah-bloody-ly ? Maybe just a decent file search ?

        I should me more specific, a new file system that unlike ResFS at the moment, is actually better than NTFS, feature complete and fit for general use.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WinFSm fine-ah-bloody-ly ? Maybe just a decent file search ?

          "I should me more specific, a new file system that unlike ResFS at the moment, is actually better than NTFS, feature complete and fit for general use."

          So you just need to wait a bit - ReFS is still a work in progress, but it is what you are looking for. Probably it will be production ready with the release of Windows Server 2016.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WinFSm fine-ah-bloody-ly ? Maybe just a decent file search ?

      >>> Alright then, a non-shit file search ?

      >>> It will be 2016 by then, Microsoft. Is decent file search too much to ask ?

      I laughed out loud at this... probably to make up for all the tears of frustration I've wept at how almighty shit Windows file search is.

      It simply doesn't work. I don't use bing as if MS can't even do a file search when they own the OS, how can they search the internet?

      Can anyone here explain why windows file search is so shit? Please???

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    If they go with a new OS every 2 years and no LTS, they'll go bust pretty quick. I really don't believe businesses will tolerate having to upgrade that quickly. For some, upgrading is a monumental (both in time and labor) effort. Now it they come up with a install much like an upgrade.. push the button and next the next morning it's up and running, it might work. But I don't ever see it as being that easy, especially when apps need to be installed and usually set up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The upgrade between Win10 builds was actually pretty painless. I'd come in in the morning and discover that it had done most of the work and just wanted to finish up the last few bits. Never had to worry about reinstalling programs or anything like that. If they use that setup for the Win10 upgrades, then it won't be much trouble for home users. Businesses still won't want to see their computers upgraded to the latest, buggiest, wonkiest version of Windows on a whim though.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The first will be the Windows 10 launch this summer, while the second will come in the form of a major update to be released in the fall.

    Unless they're sitting on some major improvements, I can't see Summer's offering being much better than 8.1, if at all. The preview apps (Office, Music, Video) that I've played with are uniformly flakey, sluggish to start, feature-deficient... Nothing to like so far in comparison to what we have already with 7.

    If they're keeping the real improvements until the Autumn, that might prove to be a costly mistake : they really need to impress with the Summer release if they want to have any chance of encouraging us all to upgrade from 7 (or even 8.1 for that matter).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One eye on OSX development?

    Efficiency improvements of the kind that went into OSX, between Mountain Lion and Mavericks? Not necessarily big changes, from the end user perspective, but a lot of work under the hood. The OS (any modern OS), in general, is a pretty mature thing, so any focus on efficiency and performance, at this point, makes sense.

    1. Russell Hancock

      Re: One eye on OSX development?

      They did this as part of the 7 -> 8 / 8.1 update... 8 runs quicker on the same hardware...

      (i am ignoring all the other bits of 8/8.1 as they are Marmite features!)

  8. BA

    Windows-as-a-Service

    "Anything-as-a-Service" usually means that the producer has run out of "features" to add to their product or can't think of any new products to make to continue selling products.

    They then try to trap people into paying month-by-month for minor tweaks and fanciful UI changes to a moribund product. "You may think that is like the music/film industries, but I couldn't possibly comment."

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: Windows-as-a-Service

      I can promise you that if Microsoft does Windows-as-a-service then they will have seen the last of my money. There is no way that I will pay a monthly or yearly fee to use my computer; I know I will be in the majority. A subscription OS will be as popular as the ugliest girl at the prom.

      I swear, today's big software businesses have forgotten why they became big in the first place. In their zeal to make more money, they are screwing over the paying customer. Look at Adobe, look at how they screw us now. "Cloud first, mobile first" really means "customer last". You can piss on your customers for so long before they revolt. Make a product worth buying; don't make me pay for the privilege to use your product.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Windows-as-a-Service

        Say what you like about MS, but they didn't get where they are today by being completely dumb...

        I presume the 'as a service' pill will be coated with something really quite tasty, at least from the corporate point of view. Unlimited online storage, "free" Office bundles, access to a bunch of otherwise-paywalled resources...

        As for the home user... I think their current plan is to abandon the Regular Home Non-Power User to tablets and phones. We've seen "Games for Windows", which was an effort to bring lots of formerly independent producers into their empire; from there, it should be relatively straightforward to ensure that the writing of AA-games for the desktop environment basically dries up.

        1. Mike Taylor

          Re: Windows-as-a-Service

          I find myself in slightly odd position of having an Office subscription now. The fact that Office is now considerably better than Libre was an issue, but getting 5T one drive storage space for a few quid a month was the thing closed the deal for me

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Windows-as-a-Service

            but getting 5T one drive storage space for a few quid a month was the thing closed the deal for me

            The Five Eyes Organization thanks you for cooperation....

      2. Electron Shepherd

        Re: Windows-as-a-Service

        Lots of people won't see things that way - they pay for everything else monthly, with no ultimate ownership. Imagine a typical London-based twenty-something:

        1) They rent their flat

        2) Their car is on a PCP, and has to be returned after 3 years

        3) Their phone is on a monthly contract, and is changed every two years.

        All three of those are effectively "renting", even though the tag is only usually applied to property. "Renting" an operating system is no different to them.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: Windows-as-a-Service

          I must say I will not use Windows as a service should it materialize. I was considering buying Photoshop, but the new CC versions with their rental model really don't appeal to me. I can understand renting storage space, paying monthly for a mobile phone subscription, but not my software. A key reason is that I want to decide when and indeed if I want to upgrade software. The "as a service" model will almost certainly foist stuff on me that I neither want nor need.

          Others may of course have different ideas, but I like to have more control over the software on my machine than most, perhaps

        2. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Windows-as-a-Service

          Lots of people won't see things that way - they pay for everything else monthly, with no ultimate ownership.

          Yeah, the poor bastards have grown up to be well and truly monetarized.

    2. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Windows-as-a-Service

      I bought into the Adobe CC model for Photoshop and Lightroom and couldn't be happier. Working out the difference I'd have to stump up £700 for those two if I were able, but with CC I pay £8:50/month and I get constant rolling upgrades and I can install it on 2 seperate machines at the same time. I have Windows edition on my desktop and concurrently the OSX edition on my Macbook when I'm shooting away from home. I could never do that with a single paid-for edition as it had to be deauthorised before reauthorising on another machine, so I already have twice as much software for a cheaper price. I worked out, it would take me several years of rental CC to pay the same amount as I would a full paid copy.

      Don't ever forget you never, ever own software. What you get is always a license to to use it, which you have paid for. In the previous sales model you still had full functioning software after you had paid and long after it had stopped being supported, that's big difference. What I will have if I stop paying for my "ransomware" is no software.

      O/S on a monthly model, no way as that's truly holding people to ransom. I don't need Photoshop to be able use my machine, I do need an O/S. I'm happy with Win8.1 ( one of the few who is! ) I left OSX behind because I liked Windows8 so much, but if MS start messing about with rental versions of Windows, by-bye and I'm off to go play with the fruity mob again thanks very much.

  9. stucs201
    Coat

    Redstone? Sounds familiar...

    I guess we now know why they spent $2bn buying Minecraft...

    (Coat? The diamond armour please...)

    1. Mike Bell

      Re: Redstone? Sounds familiar...

      Sounds a bit like what did for Jason Bourne.

      1. AkodoGilador
        Stop

        Re: Redstone? Sounds familiar...

        That was Treadstone.

    2. Spindreams

      Re: Redstone? Sounds familiar...

      They must have realised that Minecraft Redstone wiring was the only way the could improve Windows without a complete rewrite..

    3. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Redstone? Sounds familiar...

      Sounded familiar to me because it was the machine that put Alan Sheppard and Virgil Grissom into space (briefly).

      How quickly they forget.

  10. J J Carter Silver badge

    Makes sense, most corporates haven't put budget aside in 2015/16 FY for a desktop refresh. Windows 10 in the summer will let plc put it on trial, check app migration etc. and work out costs to make a bid for the 2016/17 FY to install Redstone.

    MSFT can focus on getting 10 into the retail channel to replace 8.x which hardly any sensible business went for.

  11. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    "might be the last Microsoft OS to receive a version number at all"

    Sounds unlikely. The need to be able to distinguish between different releases is fairly fundamental, so they *will* get version numbers/names and I imagine that Microsoft might want to have some influence over what those are.

  12. Dagg
    FAIL

    Windoze as a service, Yea right

    This will be no bloody good if your so called broadband (IE Australian Infrastructure) is crap.

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: Windoze as a service, Yea right

      Windows-as-a-service will run on your hardware, not on servers in Redmond. You'll just have to pay every year rather than once per computer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windoze as a service, Yea right

        There is NO way I will want Windows (or office) as a service on my machines.

        I'm sure M$ marketing will spend loads persuading Joe Public that its a good thing.

        OEM's will get the OS free as the end user will pas M$ directly so they will be happy

        M$ will probably bundle first 6 months / year free so people don't realise until month 5 / 12 they have some payments to make.

        OEM's will hope people will upgrade rather than pay the fee especially if its an annual charge rather than a monthly drip payment.

        Cloud storage will be encouraged / forced on people, as installed HDD size will be greatly reduced ("sorry SSD dictates smaller storage but its so much faster"... Marketing B$) so when you go over the Freemium allowance on the cloud storage there will be more income.

      2. Dagg

        Re: Windoze as a service, Yea right

        >Windows-as-a-service will run on your hardware

        Then they will be paying me rent for the use of my hardware.

  13. David Roberts Silver badge

    Subscription model?

    There has (understandably) been a lot of push back against a subscription model but this made me think about what the problem is.

    When W8 was first launched there was an offer for early adopters.

    I obtained a couple of W8 Pro 64 bit keys for around £25 UKP a pop (using a 64 bit W7 system).

    This (along with help from online fora) enabled me to upgrade a couple of 32 bit Vista systems to a better 64 bit OS and get another few productive years out of the hardware.

    I didn't feel that I had been robbed.

    It seemed (and still seems) a good deal.

    So a subscription of £10 UKP per year per system (I have 4 Windows systems on the go at the

    moment) is not going to make a dent in the grocery bill. In the great scheme of things it is a trivial amount.

    People must pay more for Pro versions of software and I think a lot of people hapilly pay more for anti-virus which gets bundled with new systems.

    People also pay for new peripherals with a short shelf life - for example Wifi dongles - without too much angst.

    For me the issue is trust - once in the model what happens if the price starts to climb? Can I get off the escalator without losing my systems?

    IMHO Microsoft could defuse a lot of hostility if they published and guaranteed reasonable Ts&Cs.

    They might even get a lot of people to migrate from XP with the right deal.

    The subscription model works well for a lot of industries, not least by stabilising cash flow.

    All you need is to be able to trust Microsoft.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Subscription model?

      I have to say if the Windows OS revisions start coming every 18 months than I would prefer to switch to a subscription. Say four machines for a decent sum and I'll be happy.

      Buying individual is fine if you are only upgrading every 5-6 years but when it gets quicker than that I just want that all taken care of so I don't have to deliberate.

      I could work with say £120 a year for five licenses. Same as Office365. Works for small business too as everyone then sits on the same software.

      Other than that like you, you look out for the pre-release offers and buy it in cheap . I got the Pro upgrades for £20 a go (bought 4) and was until recently buying Windows 8 Pro retail upgrades for £40 each instead of the usual £140.00.

      If they dont go subs the only worry I have is that they bring out a 10.1 version which is a royal pain when most machines recovery partitions have 10 on them....just adds more time and effort.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Subscription model?

        There are some people who like to rent stuff. True.

        But most want to own their stuff if they can.

        And if it's the stuff that makes my other stuff, like my computer, ( which I own) work I'll be damned if I'll pay rental for it.

        Monthly payment for consumption ( fuel, bandwidth even water) is one thing. But for a product. No.

        I'll be out the windows and into Linux.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Subscription model?

          Well I'm all for owning outright if its something I'm going to keep...for a long time.

          If it's a constantly shifting service over several devices then to be honest I'll subscribe.

          Different strokes....

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Subscription model?

          I'll be out the windows and into Linux

          Too right!

        3. dogged

          Re: Subscription model?

          there isn't going to be a subscription model.

          Honestly, this is becoming boring. No subscription model. It's patches, service packs and Windows Update.

          I am quite amused by the way the prospect is always yelled most loudly by those who take a pride in having nothing to do with Windows anyway presumably in the hope of frightening some gullible idiots into following their lead. This has the obvious benefit that they could then have a bigger market share and thus not have to hope nobody mentions it when they tell you that Blackberry and Windows Phone are useless and crap and evil because they have no market share.

          It might take the edge off all that shilling for Chromebooks.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Subscription model?

            Well, sorry to rain on your parade but I'm a Windows user (and a variety of other OSes too, some of which none of you would know about) and I get the very strong read that "Windows as a service" plays into the "web as a service provider" mantra MS started singing back in the 90s when they were inventing .net and telling everyone about it in big presentations.

            Given the bug-ugly tile infestation of late and the touch-screen semantics going back to Win7 (why else have that drag-to-screen-edge behavior other than because the little buttons in the top right corner might be too small to use reliably?) I'd say the push to turn the Windows experience into something better (for Microsoft) than Chrome OS and the iThing revolution is an obvious conclusion.

            My problem with the rental model is that I do not have the luxury of a persistent internet coinnection when I'm being creative and cannot afford for a vital tool to lock up waiting on he OK from wherever to go ahead and let me work.

            Given the Steam experience people could be forgiven for assuming the worst in such a scenario.

            And the ugly fact is that for me, the operating system of MY computer is emphatically not a "service" but a bedrock necessity. Wallpaper is a service. Fancy ringtones are a service. Cruft is an unwanted service. The tools I buy are the tools I need long term. The tools I rent are the ones that I need for a weekend and then never again.

            And I am, after being quite satisfied with my user experience on various versions of Windows, going to Linux for my next computer upgrade 'cos I'm done seeing my experience degraded time and again to the whims of the shiny brigade.

            1. jason 7

              Re: Subscription model?

              Subscription software doesn't necessarily need a internet connection to work. Usually the license/registration system just checks when it can to see if the subscription is coming up.

              I think folks get confused between 'cloud' services and 'subscription software'.

              I have Office 365 on subscription and I use that disconnected for long periods if I'm out and about.

              Not as bad as you might think. I've yet to have any issues with the few bits of software I use that use this model.

          2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Subscription model?

            Just to make sure people know my position so they can get their whinges out of the way first, I'm almost completely Microsoft free on my own systems. But that does not mean I do not have to consider Windows, as my wife and children all have Windows systems that I do not use, but which I am expected to help with (and pay for, in the case of my wife). I'm also playing devil's-advocate, because I am completely speculating here, and am hopefully completely wrong.

            I still see nothing that conflicts with there being a subscription model license in the pipeline. Take the statement that Windows chief Terry Myerson made in February (lifted from here)

            "we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge"

            Notice what it says and does not say. It says no additional charge, not no charge. And also note the supported lifetime of the device.

            So, you've got a subscription model license for, say, £60 per year. You're going to get updates and upgrades without paying another penny. But you are still paying the £60 per year. His statement is correct, but leaves sufficient wiggle room for a subscription model.

            It also does not rule out there being a one-time-purchase option, either.

            Let's look at it another way. Let's suggest you roll up to PC World next time you want to get a new PC. On offer are two Windows options for a particular PC. One is a subscription model, initially free for 6 months, and then £60 per year, and the other is a £300 up front purchase (equivalent to 5 years of subscription) for a non-transferable license (not transferable to another system, or another owner) for the lifetime of the system on top of the price of the hardware. Hmm. Interesting choice.

            I can see many, many people opting for the subscription model merely so they can get the system home with the minimum outlay. It's the same reasoning behind the £40+ monthly contract to get the latest shiny phone.

            I chose 5 years in this example, because it would probably be expected that devices will not last more 5 years and still be usable. If they were wanting to seriously skew it in favour of the subscription, it could be made more than that. Of course, you would then have the question of how much a device can change and still be the same, although the expected movement to more integrated systems with fewer upgrade options could easily close that off.

            I think there are some very carefully worded statements coming from Microsoft. As I say, I hope this doesn't happen.

            Mind you, if you take the subscription model machine, dump Windows completely and do not follow up on the subscription, then we (the Linux community) will finally have got rid of the Windows Tax, and maybe MS will have lost the lever that stops Linux being installed by the system builder.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: OS revisions start coming every 18 months

        Corporates don't WANT revisions every 18 months. They have enough trouble executing that every 3/4/5 years depending on the company. The Windows money isn't in retail, it's in corporate, which is why it's so stupid to compare Windows and Apple numbers the way they do. Apple is all about the retail. They forced us into using iPhones at work, and centralized management of them is non-existent. Now, that doesn't mean the marketing droids and fanbois won't claim there are no solutions, but working with one of those alleged solutions on a regular basis I can tell you it isn't. If a user forgets a password, or messed up a registration three years back, you're screwed.

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