updated 01:10 pm EDT, Tue May 27, 2008
MS on Win 7 evolution
Windows 7 will represent a gradual change over Vista, rather than a dramatic one, according to Microsoft's head of Windows engineering. "We're very clear that drivers and software that work on Windows Vista are going to work really well on Windows 7; in fact, they'll work the same," says Steven Sinofsky. "We're going to not introduce additional compatibilities, particularly in the driver model," he adds. "Windows Vista was about improving those things. We are going to build on the success and the strength of the Windows Server 2008 kernel, and that has all of this work that you've been talking about. 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 elaborates by commenting that both 32- and 64-bit versions of the OS will remain available, even as quad-core processors and 4GB of RAM become normal. There should however be "a lot" of new features in the software, and possibly a greater number that are useful at launch, instead of requiring developer support. With Vista for example, most game developers do not take advantage of its proprietary DirectX 10 rendering options.
Regarding the launch of Windows 7, Sinofsky reiterates that it will be available "three years after the general availability of Windows Vista," and not towards the end of 2009 as Microsoft chief Bill Gates once implied. This should schedule the launch for the end of January 2010.