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Iain McDonald - What's the biggest suprise that will come out of Microsoft in the next year or two?

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"Longhorn lives," says Iain McDonald in reaction to our question of what the biggest suprise of the next year or two will be. (He is one of the guys at the center of the company -- he ran the war room for Windows XP and is a director on Windows Server program management.

What will be the tech industry's biggest suprise over the next year or two?


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  • Its always good to see a fellow Aussie making things happen.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Dr. ShimDr. Shim Inaniloquent monomathical people inlapidate me.
    I want more videos with him in it! What he has to say is really cool.
  • Biggest surprise, hmm...let's see...

    If you add up all the machine opcodes for all of the code in Longhorn it adds up to one number:


    No, wait, that's not right...
  • XP SP2?  If there is something in XP SP2 that is going to be a big surprise, then someone's doing something wrong!  [Or did he mean that XP SP2 would actually come out, to everyone's surprise?  Wink  ]

    What exactly is going to be in XP SP2 that is so great?  Security fixes that should have been in XP originally?  A firewall that works at the level it should have when XP was originally released?  A pop-up blocker for IE?  There is nothing there that is cool, special, or great, that is all basic functionality that is missing now. 

    Besides the problems that some developers are going to have, what exactly is so great about XP SP2?
  • this is in response to shannon.

    First, we signed off xp 2 weeks before sept 11 - no one can say the world & specifically computing are not massively changed since that time.  (small aside - we did the xp launch in nyc in oct that year - it was an incredibly saddening sight to visit ground zero & hear stories of the day from friends that live there.  but it was a great thing to be part of something that made a statement about launching at that place, at that time).

    second, the question was "what is the biggest surprise from ms..." & i said that no one should underestimate the effect of sp2.  i didn't say it was ground breaking new technology.  the effect i believe it will have is that it lifts the base computing experience for a very large percentage of computer users to a secure one by default. the are not you & they are not me. They are the people who don't know how or don't care to get the expertise either of us has. 

    I also believe by doing this in windows the whole of the industry has no choice but to lift its game. 

    don't get me wrong - in retrospect i wish we had the things we have in xpsp2 in the gold version.  but we can't change history - we can only change that is coming up.  in this case we made a descision to focus on the base experience being much more secure.

    p.s. naming the stuff above is kinda lame - the amount of attack surface reduction, globally having settings set to secure, & creating ways that simplify the security experience ARE major points.
    p.p.s.jsrfc58 - how did you find that out?  we're going to have to send the boys around now...

  • Interesting! Can't wait for the beta.

    I don't guess Ian remembers me (Andy Domaracki) and Daniel Martini from the launch of the Expert Zone? Smiley
  • WinInsiderWinInsider Mike, MCAD

    Hi Iain,

    I am looking forward to updating all of my home computers (both new and old) to SP2 as soon I can get my hands on it. Although I am concern how well will SP2 perform on older computers that lay on the borderline of system requirements? (E.g. 300MHz, 128MB)

    I know that SP2 is mostly about security, but have there been tests/efforts done that show improvements/effects to... (tests on both new and old computers)

    - Faster boot time
    - Better CPU utilization
    - Smaller memory footprint

    I hope that SP2 will not slowdown already slow and low on resources computer.

    In any case SP2 is a must have.


    Mike M

  • i think it's a wash - the start time is a little worse.  winstone tests seem to be better.  all in the <5% range. 

    the thing i hate is the install is a pig.  well it's hoping through evolution to eventually become a pig.  my suggestion - start running it & go away somewhere. for a while. 

  • iain wrote:

    p.p.s.jsrfc58 - how did you find that out?  we're going to have to send the boys around now...

    I stumbled on this fact recently, but did not say anything until now.  Wink  Hey, wait a minute, now that I think about it, several people have come up to my door lately...one was selling oranges out of the back of his pickup truck (no, thanks), another wanted me to buy a beat up bottle of Tide laundry detergent, and another wanted to look at the back of my house to see if I had a satellite dish.  Hold on a minute...I just heard a knock at the door...
  • iain wrote:
    i think it's a wash - the start time is a little worse.  winstone tests seem to be better.  all in the <5% range.

    Okay, I've installed SP2 and I am pleasantly surprised with the fact that my system seems to be running faster.  IExplore is faster, Explorer is faster. 

    I don't like the new firewall and the "active content blocked" warnings in IE could easily be made useful (for example, tell me what active content is blocked.  is it an embedded windows media player or is it something horrible?), but if I were a clueless user, these things would be helpful.  Instead, they're mostly a hinderance. 

    For example, when the firewall asks if I want to allow a program to communicate with the internet, after it has been doing so for a week, I have to wonder, what exactly is going on?  What is that program trying to do that it hasn't been doing for the last week?  The firewall does not tell me that.  The firewall forces me to give a program some unknown amount of free reign or none.

    The speed increase is enough for me to be happy I installed and I think the SP is a great thing for sub-power users, but for power users and above, the new features are pretty lame.

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