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ActiveWin: Do we really need a new Windows Operating System so soon?

Written By: Byron Hinson
Date: 27th September 2002
Sources: ActiveWin Content

With Windows XP already reaching its first birthday, it is already time to start thinking about what is round the corner for the next release of the Windows operating system.

"With Microsoft’s Windows NT business series there were far less regular updates. Windows NT users were lucky enough to have service packs released for them which tend to fix bugs"

While the chances of us seeing a major new release of Windows before 2005 is highly unlikely, there is a high possibility that there will be, as predicted on ActiveWin earlier in the year, a minor update to the Windows XP operating system sometime within the next 2 years.

The question is, do we really need a new operating system quite as soon as that? Why not just wait a while before releasing another one? Or at least make sure the one you have released as bug free as possible.

There are many arguments both for and against a new operating system being released so soon after each other. A case in point being Windows 98 Second Edition (Win 98 SE), just one year after Windows 98 was released; basically it was just a bunch of bug fixes and performance enhancements. While this is never a bad thing, the fact that it came out just one year after Windows 98 had many people complaining that Microsoft was only after yet more money.

With Microsoft’s Windows NT business series there were far less regular updates. Windows NT users were lucky enough to have service packs released for them which tend to fix bugs, increase security and improve performance. This is the sort of thing that never really happened very often with Windows 9x releases.

Now with Windows XP we have had our first service pack release. The Service Pack fixed hundreds of bugs (and added a few new ones), fixed a number of security problems and improved the general performance of Windows XP. This service pack didn’t however; add many new features to Windows XP other than USB 2.0 support

So we now have to say what we would prefer. Would you like regular service packs for Windows XP released over the next 2,3 or maybe even 4 years, adding new features, additional support for new hardware that gets released during that time period, improving stability and security while fixing the remaining bugs and generally just making Windows XP perform even better…

Or would you like to see a new version of Windows XP release in stores by 2004, just before the release of the next major Windows Operating System codenamed Longhorn, due out sometime in 2005. The new release could improve on Windows XP’s kernel, improve the GUI’s look and feel, and add newer versions of the regular Windows programs that we all use and do the general bug clear up seen in most service pack releases.

I’m somewhere in between, I’d love to have my current version of Windows XP updated regularly with the service pack releases, adding new features etc. But on the other hand I am someone who is always craving to use something brand new and when I say new, I mean GUI wise.

"But then there could be another answer, service packs that add support for those newer hardware devices, new drivers and add the features that the new hardware needs while possibly increasing computer requirements"

I don’t see why we can’t just go with service packs until the next major version of Windows is released, I’m also pretty sure that it would mean a better release of “Longhorn” thanks to more testing time being put to it. With broadband now in lots of homes it isn’t hard to download a large service pack anymore.

The only thing holding this idea back I guess is the way in which hardware such as processors, graphic cards and general multimedia is moving forwards, even today. Perhaps waiting 3 or 4 years for the next major version of Windows will mean less people need to upgrade their hardware on a regular basis, thus leading to poorer hardware sales and a possibly slowdown in better hardware coming out.

But then there could be another answer, service packs that add support for those newer hardware devices, new drivers and add the features that the new hardware needs while possibly increasing computer requirements leading to people still needing to upgrade PC parts if they wanted to.

Ok perhaps that last paragraph is a little too far fetched as it would require more testing than usual, but hopefully you can see my reasons for believing that we don’t need so many regular Window’s releases. Let’s just improve what we already have.

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