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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Windows Home Server

I saw this on Nima’s blog, Windows Home Server is coming.  Bill Gates announced this today (see Bill Gates keynote – Engadget).

I can see the niche for this product, except I don’t really want servers in my house anymore. 

It seems like most of the market for this product will be covered by LiveDrive.  Instead of Windows Home Server, I would have loved to see:

  • LiveDrive announced ready for the Vista launch.
  • LiveDrive free with Vista.  Of course, maybe it’ll be free for everyone.

Not to bash Home Server.  It is probably cool, but I don’t actually want more hardware and OSes in my house.  I want fewer.

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VS 2005, SP1 and Vista

A few things:

  1. VS2005 SP1 is out.  I am pleased with how quickly this turned from a beta to a release.  Good job guys.
  2. VS2005 SP1 for Vista Beta bits are out now.  Good news.
  3. I’m hoping that the Vista beta bits turn final soon too.

As is probably clear, I’m waiting for stability here before I go to Vista.  This time I can’t help with the beta testing, so thanks to those out there that have taken one for the team.

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Visual Studio 2005 SP1 Trumps Vista

One of the things I thought I’d get to this weekend is to upgrade my laptop to Vista again.  It is a pretty easy background task and with Norton Ghost is quickly reversable if need be (as it was the last time I tried).

Unlike some (e.g., J. LeRoy who thinks XP is adequate), I really want the new UX and (the promise of) faster power state transitions, among other things. 

But, before the installation I need to be sure of two things:

  1. Support for the VPN at Digipede (and the networking software required on my laptop).  This is no longer reported as incompatibile in the Vista Upgrade Advisor.  So, this is worth a shot anyway.
  2. Support for Visual Studio 2005 (not to mention 2003 which I still use occasionaly).  I looked into this more today and while Vista may support VS2005, it won’t support the coming SP1.  I really want the fixes in SP1 so I have to choose between sticking with XP or sticking with the pre-SP1 VS2005.  A blocker.

Of course, Visual Studio 2005 SP1 trumps Vista, but I’m not happy about it. 

J. LeRoy (AKA, Cousin Jim) recently posted on What Color is your Vista? with a terrific quote:

So when Microsoft says that they “deliver the right balance”, that’s not your balance they are talking about.

Exactly (and I know I’m taking his point completely out of context).

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And now Windows Vista RTMs

I thought it would still be a couple of weeks, but it has happened.  I wonder when it’ll be on MSDN.  Anybody know?

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.NET 3.0 Ships

Office 2007 RTM’ed this morning so I’ve been looking throughout the day for news on .NET 3.0.

And, yes, it came out too.  Here.   

I got what I wanted: the release of .NET 3.0 has been decoupled from Vista.  Of course, Vista is in escrow and will RTM within a few weeks so it isn’t that decoupled.

Anyway, congratulations to the teams for getting this done!  

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IE7 release date decoupled from Vista

It appears that IE7 has been decoupled from Vista. According to the IEBlog, the final release will be in “a few weeks”.

On a couple of occasions, I have requested that IE7 and .NET 3.0 be released when ready (post here) — presumably before Vista. I guess I have gotten part of my wish, though it is really the RTM of .NET 3.0 that I would like to see released.

On a side note: the last I checked IE7 is not dependent on .NET. Unfortunate to say the least. I would like to see managed Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) being easy without requiring COM — that could have gotten IE7 much closer to the Firefox extension model. What will ever drive .NET installs onto XP so that it is, in fact, ubiquitous?

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A Vista plea to Microsoft

So, Vista is delayed. One must assume that Microsoft has made the best choice with the information at its disposal — certainly better info than the second-guessers who have pounced on Robert Scoble.

I am left with a couple of questions, though:

  1. What does this mean about Vista Server? That was already delayed beyond Vista Client. Can we hope for that in 2007? 2008?
  2. What about WinFx? I can understand why Workflow Foundation may need to track the Office 2007 release, but do Communications Foundation (WCF) and Presentation Foundation (WPF) have to wait for Vista? Do these parts really need 6+ months more work? And what about Atlas?
  3. And, of course, what about IE7? Is IE7 really that far from ready?

On my 2nd and 3rd questions, it is hard to imagine that Microsoft will release final parts early — it would take some of the wind out of the Vista sails — but as a software developer, I hope they do.

It is very difficult for ISVs to incorporate these new technologies into products while the dates keep slipping.
My point here isn’t to jump on the dogpile, but to make a plea to Microsoft:

Please, while retaining focus on quality, release WinFx and IE7 as soon as possible. Please do not wait for Vista’s release to make these components ready in final form.

Can anyone from Microsoft comment?

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Replace IE7 with Firefox?

Kevin Burton suggests that the Vista IE7 delay can be eliminated by tossing IE7 and adopting Firefox. I would be surprised if IE7 is on the Vista critical path, but the idea of Microsoft replacing IE7 made me laugh.

At first, I thought he was kidding, but he is serious (see the discussion between Robert Scoble and Kevin in the comments for that post). Fundamentally, Kevin’s idea is an interesting one, but that ship sailed a long time ago. Too many developers have products that rely on IE (e.g., NewsGator uses the IE browser control) with large installed user bases. Microsoft cannot just leave those developers and users in the lurch without a migration path.

Kevin suggests that since Firefox is a whole new application, that existing applications wouldn’t break. Good point, but remember, IE6 is considered a security problem. Abandoning IE7 doesn’t solve the IE6 problem for Microsoft.

They own the problem by winning the first Browser Wars and then letting IE stagnate.

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Yes, what a week

Dan had quite a week (see his post, What a week!) at Digipede. We have a couple of new customers this week and a new release of the Digipede Network 1.2.

Unfortunatley, I wasn’t much help: I have been out most of the week with something my kids brought home from pre-school.
A lot of other things happened this week, too:

  • Vista was delayed. Not surprising, but certainly disappointing. I guess this gives the ISV partners even more breathing room on the various Touchdown / BetaOne commitments.
  • Mix06 happened. I wish I had been there — I’m sure Robert Scoble would have invited me to that Bill Gates Lunch 😉
  • SunGrid launched. And then was overwhelmed by a DoS (or just flooded by interest?).
  • Tara Hunt unveils her Pinko Marketing Manifesto. It looks like she has some really good ideas here; however, I think her choice of imagery is going to be a stumbling block for too many.

Lot more too, but these are some that struck me.

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Dave Winer’s Berkeley Blogger Dinner Recap

And a thanks to Dave Winer for organizing the event. Sorry to say, I still haven’t met the man. Had a good time at the dinner last night — met many interesting people:

  • Scott Mace: working on the swamp of calendar formats so we can actually have shared calendars that work.
  • Scott Rosenberg: look for his coming book (in November) on the Chandler product.
  • Sylvia Paull: talked about what to blog and what not to blog; what to look forward to as a parent; and about nerdliness.
  • Jay Cross: talked about all sorts of things . . . he pointed out that Vista is going to be a bonanza for training companies.
  • Steve Hill: has a cool idea for geographically distributed events.
  • Edward Piou: cool to talk to a FreeBSD user for a change. FreeBSD rocks!

And a shout out to the enigmatic Dr. Chadblog (aka Chad Williams) — didn’t get a chance to talk this time.

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