Actually I’m glad to see Microsoft discussing what happened. If I read the Wall Street Journal article correctly it sounds like two significant changes were made: One was to modify the merge and build process and the other was to build incrementally–which has been the cornerstone of much of Microsoft’s success.
Not knowing what the first part really means internally (It sounds good, but I have no idea what it actually means one way or another), but in terms of Microsoft going to the Windows Server 2003 code base for building Vista, this warms my developer heart.
I like the idea of Microsoft building upon a secure and successful platform rather than trying to make a major leap from untried or modified code. Incremental is good.
One part of the article that did confuse me was the talk of building componetized, layered, or decoupled products–something that Google and many other competitors can do quite easily. I’m assuming that Microsoft isn’t going to forgo this strategy. After all, MSN Desktop search is an example of a standalone extension that’s quite powerful. Things don’t have to be tightly coupled to be good. And in fact, many a company has leveraged building smallish, decoupled apps that are tremendously useful. Anyway, something might have gotten lost in the translation when the WSJ article was written.
I’m glad to see Microsoft come out and talk about this though. There was so much jovial talk about Longhorn that it made me wonder what was going on. A twist of reality is in order and by what I’ve seen of Vista at PDC a couple weeks back, it looks like things are on track. And as a developer I’m getting psyched about developing for Vista. Yes, it’s more like XP than before, but it’s also a whole lot more real. I like that part. Lots.