21st February 2005
Windows Vienna is the codename for the next Microsoft operating system after Windows Vista.
Vienna was originally announced in February 2000 as the successor to Windows XP. Windows Vista was planned as a small interim build in between the two. Due to significant delays, Vienna was pushed back and Vista became a full version of Windows in its own right. Service Pack 2 for XP is the closest we get to an interim build. Fiji is also a recent addition, planned as the interim between Vista and Vienna.
Vienna was formerly codenamed Blackcomb, just as Windows XP was ‘Whistler’ and Windows Vista was ‘Longhorn’. The first two got their name from the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort in British Colombia, Canada. There was also a popular bar at the base of the mountains nearby called the Longhorn Saloon. Design meetings were held at these retreats, so maybe they didn’t think too hard for a codename.
We all know about Windows Vista, what it contains and what is intended for it to bring to the Windows platform that we haven’t seen before - redesigned Start Menu and Explorer windows, the new Aero Glass theme, the Windows Sidebar and gadgets. Alongside these interface tweaks are new items of Microsoft software including Windows Defender, Windows Live OneCare, Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Media Player 11.
So, by all accounts, Vista is simply a new version of Windows – it is essentially Windows XP plus some new features plus a bit of a redesign.
Vienna, however, is not just another rebadged version of windows with a new theme and a few new gadgety features, but a complete rethink of how we, as users, interact with our computers - a brand new user interface will completely replace Explorer and everything we know about the Windows Operating System. Say goodbye to Explorer, the taskbar, and even the start menu. Say hello to a pie menu, Windows Power Shell (Monad) and WinFS.
Now this may look all very appealing, and you may agree that we should depart from the Windows 95 Start menu and the ancient Windows Explorer interface, however consider what has happened since Longhorn and Blackcomb were announced. Vienna was hailed as a brand new Windows system, and that ideology hasn’t changed. Vista was planned as an interim build, but just became a new version of the same-old Windows, with an interim of its own planned.
Is Microsoft just wasting time now? Do they have something to hide? There have been suggestions that Vienna will be the last version of Windows, it may not even be Windows when it is released. Do the guys at Microsoft really have something up their sleeves, or are they just not good enough to actually produce what they plan and design?
Vista has had delay after delay after delay. They started in 2001, building on top of Windows XP – all they managed to produce was a new skin really. A couple of years later, it dawned on the Vista team that the best software engineers in Microsoft had been building Windows Server 2003 (which is more stable and generally better than XP). They then promptly abandoned everything they’d done with Vista to date, and started again building onto Server 2003. Of course, this just brought in many more delays.
Perhaps the best example of the Windows naming system is in the Windows Server world. Currently, a major new version is released every four years (Server 2003, Longhorn Server 2007), and halfway in between is a secondary release (Server 2003 R2) which contains all the updates alongside a handful of other additions and corrections.
Vista was planned as Windows XP R2, and Vienna as the next major version of Windows. But after the delays, Vista became a major new version itself. Vienna becomes the version after that, with Fiji being the Vista R2 in between. What happens when you tell an excited rabble of Windows enthusiasts that instead of just being a small addition, Vista is going to be an all-out all-new version of Windows? They get even more excited and generate more hype than you could ever imagine. That is hype that Vista just didn’t deserve at that point. Microsoft latched onto this, and proceeded to announce they were filling Vista with as many new features as they could.
Shortly after, something dawned on Microsoft. They had promised too much, and they couldn’t deliver the unimaginable new experience we’d come to expect. Vista, as much as matters, flopped.
We are left with a scrappy remnant of what could have been. We have just had the beta 2, which is buggy up to the eyeball, and seems to not have half of the originally promised features. Major inclusions such as WinFS, Monad Shell (WPS), the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base architecture, Intel's Extensible Firmware Interface support and PC-to-PC Sync have all been dropped.
Microsoft originally pointed out that Vienna will be available in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions, due to the slow overall change to 64-bit. This means that 32-bit applications (for XP, say) will be supported. However older 16-bit applications, such as MS-DOS apps, probably won't be (XP Pro x64 doesn't support these either). This is good news for Microsoft, as they're finally choosing to break free of their old ties of compatibility. If Vienna is delayed long enough (which we know it will be) then maybe 32-bit applications will be obsolete by then. This is good news in some ways, because resources do not need to be wasted making Windows compatible with everything, but yes it will be sad to see some old friends go.
The release date for Vienna is estimated to be anywhere between 2010 and 2012. Still, Vista hasn't even been released yet, and Vienna seems a long way off.
Wow... 2 Windows versions planned to come out after Vista... Fiji and Vienna... Where does Mircosoft come up with these names... Vienna, Vista, and Fiji! Fiji! The water edtion!
But interesting to see Microsoft has plans to completely change its whole GUI in Vienna... Wonder what Fiji will look like..
3rd May 2005
Old news. ;)
Apparently Fiji is going to be a "Service Pack" for Vista. Nice to know MS have thought that far ahead, instead of just getting Vista right the first time. :rolleyes:
21st February 2005
Microsoft should give us free trips to Fiji if we buy Windows Fiji :P I would buy it for that!