XPerience the Delays
Hey, Redmond! When it comes to the latest, take the time to make sure it’s the greatest.
Do you have a friend or family member
who’s always late? Tell-Uncle-Frammis-Dinner’s-at-6,
the-Rest-of-You-Show-Up-at-7 late? Sure you do.
Uncle Frammis’ saving grace is that he’s predictably
late; otherwise, you’d slam the door in his face
and make him forage for edible mushrooms in the
woods with the wandering packs of feral gerbils.
Auntie draws this extended analogy
in light of the release slippages for Windows
XP, and the more accurate re-christening of the
Whistler Server line as Windows 2002.
The trades are abuzz that XP, the
desktop unification of the 9x and NT operating
systems, is, predictably, having more than its
share of issues running legacy (that is, 9x and
DOS) applications. XP has compatibility modes
for these apps, but in these days of doublespeak,
compatibility is subjective. Did you really think
that all your old custom apps would run under
Compatibility may be subjective to
those who spin for a living, but for those of
us who toil in IT-land (and our customers), it’s
a simple yes/no test: When I open up ToxicWasteDumpManager,
does it run? Delaying the new desktop OS is a
worthwhile trade-off if Microsoft kicks up its
compatibility success rate.
The same holds true on the server
side. As we all learned from Windows 2000, good
things are worth the wait. Auntie’s not spinning,
but even the most cynical of us agree that Win2K
is a quantum leap from NT, at least in stability
if nothing else.
Then there’s the matter of implementation
time. Upgrading enterprise desktops to Win2K Professional
often requires hardware enhancements; once an
IT project moves into the capital expenditure
arena, it takes longer to accomplish physically
and financially. Upgrading servers has been an
even more drawn-out process, because of the brainwork
needed to re-architect flat NT organizations for
migration to a more stable Active Directory structure.
The investigative work required in a large enterprise—defining
DNS, evaluating how resource domains will fit
in the new structure, mapping topology after topology—can
take longer than a capital equipment request.
Like Win2K Pro, Windows XP requires
beefy desktop hardware—beefy in comparison to
the requirements for a 9x box, at least. Organizations
that have kept 9x systems in their structures
have had two more years to amortize that hardware
and may be ready to retire those boxes, but they’re
still going to have to put in the order.
The point of all this thrashing about
is that the delays in XP/2002 release dates are
probably not going to cause any great anxiety
among IT departments. Is there anything within
these OSs that you, your employer or your customer
just can’t live without?
Auntie’s message to the Redmond kids:
Take all the time you need to ensure that XP and
Windows 2002 work as advertised. We’ll put them
into our plans once they’re locked in, and we’ll
probably wait for Service Pack 1 as well. Strengthen
XP’s legacy compatibility and don’t put any not-quite-stable
features in Windows 2002.
We’d rather have your best work than
a product shipped at 11:58 p.m. on the last day
of a quarter.
Em C. Pea, MCP, is a technology consultant, writer and now budding nanotechnologist who you can expect to turn up somewhere writing about technology once again.