Weighing an interim release to Windows

Under the project name Windows XP Reloaded, Microsoft is considering how to add functionality to Windows. The discussions could result in an interim release of Windows before Longhorn. Greg Sullivan, lead product manager for Windows XP, spoke with Ed Scannell about XP Reloaded.

Q: Will XP Reloaded serve as the basis for an interim release between Service Pack 2 and Longhorn?

Sullivan: There has been a lot of speculation about new product plans for an interim release and what we are considering there. (Group Vice President, Platforms) Jim Allchin has referred to an internal project called Windows XP Reloaded, but that refers to a couple of different things, including how do we deliver the ongoing platform technology being developed (for Windows XP) and how to deliver that to users in a way that they can take advantage of easily? We have a number of different ways to deliver these technologies, including through products such as the Tablet PC, the new Media Center Edition functions, Windows Update, Service Pack 2 work, and OEM refreshes. So the Reloaded term refers to the discussions going on internally about how we continue to add value to Windows XP as a platform and help people understand what existing and new capabilities it has and will have. People are fixating on the notion of an interim release, but to call it (that) is really overstating the current plan.

Q: Can you give me an idea of how you might distribute new capabilities within the context of XP Reloaded?

Sullivan: We are evaluating a range of options on the work that has already been planned. This is not a new development effort and it does not involve taking developers off of Longhorn. That is certainly one of the things being misconstrued here. But we are looking at marketing programs and at what the distribution vehicles are.

Q: Will the features and technologies being discussed under XP Reloaded be included in Service Pack 2?

Sullivan: This whole discussion (about XP Reloaded) is all post Service Pack 2, which is still on for a mid-year delivery. We have been taking this sort of approach for years. Back when you bought Windows 3.1 it was static; you used it for 18 months and later on when Windows 3.11 came out you could upgrade, or when Win 95 came out you could upgrade. That was the way users experienced and got access to improvements in the platform. Since Windows 95 -- Windows 98, really -- we continued to deliver capability and improve the platform and we did it in a variety of ways including new versions, like the Second Edition of Win 98 and Win 95, and with things like Service Packs, Windows Update, and other downloads of some of the components. This is just a way to talk about all of that ongoing work and how we bring it to market with a number of different programs.

Q: What sort of technology areas will you be focusing on under Windows XP Reloaded?

Sullivan: I can't really speculate on some of the features and what the delivery vehicles around it (XP Reloaded) might be because it is just a conversation right now about how do we bring all of this value to market and get it into the hands of users. For me to give any more specific would be disingenuous because we are not nearly to that point of clarity.

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Ed Scannell

InfoWorld
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