Rewrite 60% of Windows? Hogwash!

by alec on March 24, 2006

Out of Australia comes the report that up to 60% of Windows Vista will need a rewrite.  What utter crap!  60% of Windows is millions and millions of lines of code.  You can’t rewrite that much code, and ship in January. Maybe January 2009 if a 60% rewrite is needed, but not January 2007. Perhaps Microsoft is in denial, and Vista will never ship, or perhaps reporter Dave Richards is a tad too quick to jump on "the sky is falling" bandwagon.

The fact that Steve Sinofsky has been put in charge of shipping Windows ought to be seen as good news.  Sinofsky’s smart, rational, and willing to cut and cut again to make a ship date.  Expect to see more features fall by the wayside before January.  That’s his style.  Best of all, Sinofsky’s not part of, and never has been part of, the Windows organization.  Jones, Cole, Irving, et al who all cut their teeth in Windows would have a harder time changing the culture than Sinofsky will.  

What I find so interesting about all of this is the industry’s collective willingness to suspend disbelief — the continued irrational view that Vista was going to ship in the fall in time for the Christmas season.  I’ve lived through lots of Windows launches inside Microsoft (3.1, NT 3.1, NT 3.5, Windows 95, NT 4.0, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000) and outside (Windows XP beta tester).  I love early software. I’ll put up with just about any egregious bloated crap just to see what the fuss is all about.  But you know, at this point I’ve been unable to succesfully install and use any version of the Windows Vista CTPs, or IE 7.  If Vista was really six months away from shipping, it would be a lot more finished, the way that any of those previous versions of Windows were at this stage.  Anybody who had tried Vista would have been able to come to the same conclusion I did.

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