Fixes vs. Features:Microsoft Still Determining How to Handle OS Updates in Short Run
- By Scott Bekker
Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 follows in the fixes-only tradition started with Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 5. Microsoft Corp. officials are still wrestling with the issue of how to wedge new features into the operating system.
“We haven’t locked down our plans yet,” says Mark Perry,
director of marketing for Windows 2000 Server.
officials say they are responding to several requests from end users. First, is
that service packs arrive at predictable intervals.
“Roughly every six months is what they’re asking for,” Perry
says. SP1 follows the Feb. 17 Windows 2000 launch by 5 ½ months, although it
comes more than a month after it was first supposed to be available. “Our goal
is to be more predictable on releasing service packs,” he said.
“The other thing is no new features in service packs,” Perry
said of customer feedback. The last feature update, aside from Windows 2000
itself, was Option Pack 4, which came out with Service Pack 4 for Windows NT.
No new features is a complicated customer requirement,
though. Some customers would like to see an annual release of the operating
system, taking care of new features in new releases.
Microsoft needed four years to turn Windows NT 4.0 into
Windows 2000. Whistler, the follow-on release to Windows 2000, is slated for
mid-2001 at the earliest.
“Some customers tell us if we are on an annual release of
the operating system, then there’s not really a need for a feature pack. Beyond
[annual releases], maybe once a year on a feature pack,” Perry says.
For now, Microsoft walks a fine line between fixes and new
features. The Windows 2000 SP1 CD will include the Terminal
Services Advanced Client, but won’t install the component by default. SP1
does update several device drivers by default, adding functionality, although
it doesn’t add new drivers. Feature or fix? – Scott Bekker
More Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 news:
Should IT Trust SP1? Microsoft’s QA Process on the W2K Patch
Even before Microsoft Corp. announced Service Pack 1 for
Windows 2000, pre-launch users discovered two broken personal firewall
applications that slipped through the quality assurance process. A Microsoft
official says the quality assurance program for this service pack on Windows
2000 exceeded the programs on Windows NT and other Microsoft application
service releases and service packs. (More)
W2K SP1 is Here
Windows 2000’s unofficial underwriter arrived today in the
form of Service Pack 1, a key component that many IT professionals have been
awaiting before committing to upgrade to the new operating system. (More)
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.