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UPDATE: Gates and Ballmer To Demo Windows 7

Windows 7, the code-name for Microsoft's upcoming operating system, will be demonstrated at "D6: All Things Digital," according to a blog note for the sold-out event.

Windows 7, the code-name for Microsoft's upcoming operating system, will be demonstrated tonight at "D6: All Things Digital," according to a blog note for the sold-out event. Micosoft's Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer will "demonstrate Windows 7's all-new user interface," the blog states. D6, held this week in Carlsbad, Calif., is sponsored by the Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft officials picked this week to start talking publicly about Windows 7, which is still under development and is expected to be released sometime in 2010. Limited details about the new OS were published today in an interview with Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's vice president for Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, who answered questions from CNET's Ina Fried.

Sinofsky said that Windows 7 will not be a new kernel, but will build on Vista and Windows Server 2008.

"The key there is that the kernel in Windows Server '08 is an evolution of the kernel in Windows Vista, and then Windows 7 will be a further evolution of that kernel as well," Sinofsky said.

The drivers in Windows 7 will work the same as in Vista as "we're going to not introduce additional compatibilities, particularly in the driver model," he added.

Windows 7 will be released in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Sinofsky said that a lot of the drivers for 64-bit systems haven't been written as of yet, but that there's current interest among enthusiasts and professionals that work with graphics to use a 64-bit OS.

The new OS is expected to appear "three years after the general availability of Windows Vista," Sinofsky said, which translates to approximately January 2010. In previous statements, Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates had hinted that Windows 7 could appear in 2009, but it was unclear if he was referring to a beta version. Gates also suggested that a three-year release cycle would be the model for Microsoft's new OS releases.

Sinofsky repeatedly said that Microsoft wanted to release "accurate and reliable" information about Windows 7, citing experience with Windows Vista as a reason for his caution in providing more details.

"The reactions that we've had to some of the lessons learned in Windows Vista are really playing into our strategy of getting together a great plan for Windows 7, and working with all the partners in the ecosystem in a very deliberate way, such that the end result is a very positive experience for all of us," Sinofsky stated.

The implication seems to be that Microsoft's partners were either unready for Vista or misled by leaks about features that weren't developed. Microsoft tracks its OS development progress in six areas, according to blogger Chris Flores: "device compatibility, application compatibility, reliability, performance, battery life and security."

Many have speculated that Windows 7 will have a more modularized design. A streamlined version of the core, "MinWin," was thought to be key to the new OS, but it won't be part of Windows 7, according to Sinofsky. There's also speculation on the use of virtualization to handle backward compatibility issues for legacy applications, as well as integration with Microsoft's online services via Windows Live. A summary of some of the leaks is provided by All About Microsoft's Mary Jo Foley here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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