Windows 7 a "minor release"

August 19, 2008 // 9:02 a.m.

Tags: #windows #windows-7 #windows-server #windows-server-2008 #windows-server-2008-r2

If you've been looking forward to the up-and-coming release of Windows 7 – and have been viewing Vista as the Windows ME of its generation – you might want to reign in your enthusiasm a little: Microsoft doesn't see it as a major release.

According to CNet, the software giant is talking down just how important a release Windows 7 will be – on the server side, at least. Rather than getting its own version number, the server edition of Windows 7 – due for release some time in 2010 – will be known as “Windows Server 2008 R2.” Hardly a ground-breaking release if you go by the name.

Indeed, the 'update releases' usually given an 'R' suffix are described by Microsoft as integrating “the previous major release with the latest service pack, selected feature packs, and new functionality. Because an update release is based on the previous major release, customers can incorporate it into their environment without any additional testing beyond what would be required for a typical service pack.

The differences between the Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 were, as described above by Microsoft, minor improvements and additional functionality. The change was so minor, in fact, that R2 was distributed on two CDs – the first was a copy of Windows Server 2003, and the second was the patches and upgrades to turn it into Windows Server 2003 R2. If, as the name suggests, Windows Server 2008 R2 is going to be that little of an upgrade it does call into question all we've heard about the future Windows 7 release on both the desktop and the server.

Clarification on exactly what Windows 7 is going to be, and where it sits in terms of releases, is due at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in October. It looks as though we might have to wait until then to get a better idea of what is going on with Windows 7, and whether it really will spell the end for Vista.

Have you been looking forward to the release of Windows 7 and are now thrown into confusion as to whether it will really offer any improvements over Vista, or do you believe that the server and desktop versions will be sufficiently different to render this a non-issue? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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