What would you think of Vista if 60% of its code had been rewritten?


Robert Scoble wishes that more blogs had challenged this article from SmartHouse claiming that up to 60% of Windows Vista will have been rewritten by the time it ships. Evidently a bunch of people are concerned that this article is suggesting that Vista has a long way to go before shipping.

However, notice what I did? I changed the tense in my summary of the part of the article that people are so concerned about. I think my usage is consistent with what the article is claiming and very well may be exactly what Microsoft would like us to know at this point about the forthcoming Vista: That Vista is a significant upgrade from Windows XP. Yes, code has changed.

Is Microsoft changing 60% of its possibly millions of lines of Windows code between now and its ship date? Of course not. That would be silly. Unfortunately after a quick scan of Google News and Slashdot it appears that people leaped at this interpretation.

When I read the headline and the bolded sentences that followed, I thought this too. After I read the whole article, that didn’t say more about it, I began to realize that I’d probably been duped into reading the article.

How many times have we heard reporters on the local news use the present tense to describe an event that took place yesterday or even last week? They avoid the stale-sounding past tense. They know I’m more than likely to listen to hear what may be happening right now, versus something that already occurred. Is it accurate. Nope. Does it happen all the time? Yep.

I’m glad to see Robert Scoble and Microsoft clarify the situation. I think it’s also another opportunity to talk about how substantially improved Vista is–which I’m guessing after several years of development it will be. No need to be defensive here. In fact, in my book I’d really like to hear that 60% of Vista has been rewritten/touched/improved/enhanced/new/etc to know that Microsoft is doing everything it can to provide the security, features, and easy-of-use that I’d really like to see.

Update: I’m wrong. SmartHouse is sticking by their story: 60% of some Vista code or other (unspecified which or how much) will be rewritten or changed between now and when Vista ships. Maybe it’s 60% of 100 lines of code or 60% of 100,000. Who knows. It’s silly speculation from outside sources. The article seems to be most concerned about Media Center. That’s strange. I was just at Mix06 and saw a bunch of Media Center Vista demos. Very cool stuff. Interestingly, some of it involved using Xbox as a Media Center extender. So maybe this is what the article is talking about. And as to the Viiv reference in the article: Maybe this suggests that Viiv support is being added. That’s not a bad thing either.


  1. The author of that article is a f*ck*ng idiot who should have his internet license revoked. 60% of nothing is being “rewritten”. Vista will be available for download in November like they said.

  2. Yeah Josh, this whole thing seems silly to me. I was trying to find some explanation for the original story rather than piling on. I tried too hard.

    I’m waiting for the headline: “SHN decides to rewrite its Vista story by up to 60%.” Heh. I don’t see this actually happening though. It would be too much work :-).