MJ just posted a commentary based on my post the other day about how Vista isn't really "Longhorn" circa 2003. She brings up some interesting "what-ifs". I mean, it's pretty academic at this point, hindsight being 20-20 and all that... but her piece triggered an interesting thought at the end. Lemme see if I can explain it correctly.
Originally, the plan was to make "Longhorn" a relatively minor release, with "Blackcomb" being the major release after that. But then .NET came along, and feature-creep spiraled out of control. One of the reasons that Vista is not Longhorn is because much of the functionality that was originally under the hood in Longhorn ended up getting moved into XP SP2 after MSBlaster hit.
We know that internally, Microsoft considered Windows XP SP2 a full-fledged OS release. So, why the cognitive dissonance between internal mindset and release plans since Windows XP's launch? It's not like Microsoft hasn't done a small point release next to a major one (Windows ME, anyone?).
So how do you think Windows would be perceived today if, instead of staying with the "Longhorn" name publicly and backtracking to Windows XP SP2, Microsoft had instead reverted Longhorn back to the original plan, and released a minor upgrade (let's say, Windows XP R2), and pushed all the advanced stuff forward to the next release? BTW, this is what they did internally, it's just not what they portrayed externally.Then they really could have followed the timeline MJ proposed in her article.
So I'm changing my original statement. Calling it a "reset" was the right thing to do. But what they should have followed it up with, was: "Plan A was to make Longhorn a minor release after Windows XP. Since MSBlaster has accelerated our need to get better security into the market, we're going back to Plan A. But because this upgrade is so important, we're going to make Windows XP R2 free to all customers." OMG, the industry would have gone nuts... "Microsoft Announces Free OS Release." How's that for a headline?
This is why Microsoft should hire me lol. Now it's MJ's turn to riff off of my riff on her riff of my post. Say that 5x fast.