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Report: Windows Blue Reaches Its First Milestone Build 199

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley has been collecting tips on Microsoft's accelerated Windows development schedule, codenamed 'Blue.' She reports that the program, which is attempting to replace the multiyear product drops for the Windows-branded desktop, server, phone, and network services products with a more agile release cycle, with better continuity across the suite, has just hit the first of two scheduled milestone builds. What's in the build? As with North Korea's nuclear program, details are scarce, but so far we have a Chinese Windows start screen; indications that the kernel number has been bumped from 'NT 6.2' (Windows 8) to 'NT 6.3'; and a job posting for a Windows Blue SDET (test engineer). Slashdot reported on Windows Blue in November."
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Report: Windows Blue Reaches Its First Milestone Build

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  • by kh31d4r ( 2591021 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:15AM (#42953383)
    ... screen?
  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:18AM (#42953393) Homepage


  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:19AM (#42953399) Homepage


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:40AM (#42953487)

  • by Myria ( 562655 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:47AM (#42953513)

    Let me guess... they've gone further on their way to declare desktop applications as deprecated? With Windows 8, Microsoft has made it clear that it thinks that desktop applications are on their way out, and the only way to go is to make programs for Metro.

    Oh, and I'll put this out there: won't run unsigned programs by default, though I suspect that this will be like OS X 10.8 and allow being turned off.

    All part of boiling the frog.

    • You're probably right :(

      I wonder if the catastrophic failure of the Metro-Only Windows RT will be enough to serve as a heads-up...

    • by Alkonaut ( 604183 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @06:01AM (#42954039)
      They will never, ever be able to remove support for the legacy desktop apps that is what keep customers from moving away from windows. What they WILL do however, is realize that home users don't really provide as much income as they should for microsoft. Apple is a shining example of a company that makes money from consumers, not business. Microsofts cash-cow is income from people using workstations and servers in offices around the world. So the question: How can microsoft make good business from consumers, without risking their revenue stream from business? Answer: by separating the tiers further. Make desktop/legacy a "premium" product, and sell the consumer OS cheaper by forcing users to adopt apps that give MS a piece of the revenue. I predict that the desktop will live forever, but only in the higher SKU:s of windows. Meanwhile, microsofts "Home"/OEM offerings of windows will steadily become cheaper and slowly move into an apps-only ecosystem.
      • by Spottywot ( 1910658 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @07:47AM (#42954435)

        This sounds about right, it'll be interesting to see how quickly consumers take this up. I haven't met anyone yet who actually wants to use the 'Metro' interface, much less buy thier software throuh the Microsoft store. Of course I've read plenty of 'I use Win 8 and I don't see what the fuss is about' posts in various tech forums, but even from those people I've never heard anyone extolling the virtues of a 'killer' Metro app. Until such things exist, where is the compelling reason to make the switch? I fear the only answer is that we will be steadily 'forced' to use the new interface with subsequent versions of Windows.

        I currently use Windows for productivity and gaming, this Metro crap I can see being the reason I move to Linux for my productivity stuff, and if Steam for Linux takes off with enough publishers, possibly my gaming as well.

        I've never loved Windows, but I've never really hated it either (well maybe sometimes), it's always been 'good enough' to do what I want it to do, as soon as it starts to tell me how I should interact with my desktop, and where I should buy my software, well thats the point at which it ceases to be useful for me, and probably a great many others.

        • by Alkonaut ( 604183 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @08:27AM (#42954563)
          I use windows 8 and don't get what the fuss is about. I basically don't use the metro interface and don't intend to ever do so until I can do ALL my work in it. That is, I don't dislike the UI per se, but dislike having to switch back and forth. I don't really care if MS gets a share of what I pay for applications either, but here is the chicken and egg problem: I won't buy any metro apps until I use that interface. I won't use that interface until I can use it exclusively. I won't use it exclusively until all my applications are there.
          • Yes I get that win8 is OK and you can work around the metro screen, it's the direction that I don't like. Optional work around today, walled garden tommorrow, my tactic is to not buy into it and hope that enough people do the same thing.
          • I don't really care if MS gets a share of what I pay for applications either,

            I find it disturbing people are soo willing to let this kind of power be aggregated in the hands of the few. The cavalier willingness to take such a short sighted view is depressing.

            Surely Apple has never abused their position by locking out competing apps or enforcing their values upon the rest of us have they? What could go wrong with a monopoly on execution..surely no company with a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to make money would ever dare leverage their monoploy status.

          • The fuss is that IE9-metro-edition sucks about 10 times more than IE9-desktop-edition, and that half of the reason I went to Win7 in the first place was all the GUI improvements to multi-tasking with docking etc. Now im told that thats out the window, as is any mouse-oriented GUI? Yea, no thanks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Wolfraider ( 1065360 )
          I have met a few people excited about the Metro screen. But these people barely know how to use a computer and to them, Metro is a lot easier to find what programs they want to run. I personally don't mind Windows 8 and Metro although the first thing I did was set the default for all Metro apps to the full version and pin my most used programs to the taskbar. Any time that I need another program, I simply hit the windows key, type in the first few characters of what I want and hit enter. Metro pops up and
          • I was walking down the computer aisle at Costco today and saw the following: 27" touchscreen (2560x1440) with an i7 3770. As I am in the market for both a 2560x1440, and an i7 3770, I was quite impressed. Too bad it is $1,800 but dang that is an awesome system.

            Anyway, these will be the future common machines. Huge touchscreen and otherwise state-of-the-art. And your ma and pa will snap them up without thinking.

            I would too if it was $1,200.

            Touch, & Win8, make a lot more sense on a massive moni

      • what about Steam? Origin? GOG? GamersGate? and others that are big with home users??

      • They went back to a monolithic windows to getaway from the compatibility issues. This approach will just add to market fragmentation and destroy the one thing MS still has left on the PC. I think you are going to start seeing real push-back. In a mature market, products shouldn't go obsolete in two years. Hardware should go 3-4 years (power users), and an OS should double that. There just isn't business logic to need to update things that often. Same goes for home; most people's needs just don't chang

      • by sootman ( 158191 )

        > How can microsoft make good business from consumers,
        > without risking their revenue stream from business?

        A better question: How can Microsoft come to terms with the fact that it should just be a fantastic product for business and quit worrying about the consumer market? Just like the kid who has to accept that he'll be an accountant, not a pop star, MS should just focus on business and accept the fact that it'll never be cool like Apple. Just be like plain old boring profitable IBM.

        Step 1: quit doin

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I really hope that's not true.

      I had to use a computer today with XP and the "classic" windows theme. Sure, the operating system has come a very long way but the UI is definitely going backwards.

      WIMP is a sound UI paradigm and "classic" theme makes it very clear and intuitive. A few modern gradients, higher DPI and a new set of high resolution icons would have made it a sheer delight.

      With the touch-optimized, flat, giant controls, modal paradigm you can't really do anything other than the most basic things

    • also enterprise use of windows is way to high to go that way.

      What about all the other windows app / games stores?

    • The boiling the frog thing generally refers to slowly raising the water temp, so the frog doesnt notice. I think everyone noticed the metro thing, and theres a reason I havent heard businesses getting thrilled about it.

      For the record, Office still is non-metro. Hmm, I wonder why.

  • It might sound neat, but no one really wants it.

  • On code names (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Myria ( 562655 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:50AM (#42953523)

    Why is it that sometimes code names are better than the name of the final product? "Windows Blue" is a better name than simply "Windows 9". Similarly, "Xenon" was a better name than "Xbox 360".

    Nintendo's fond of that, too. "Nitro" versus "DS", "Dolphin" versus "GameCube", "Revolution" versus "Wii".

    • They seem better because years of exposure haven't ruined them by familiarity. "Xbox" seemed like a daringly direct name for a box that ran Direct X, for about six months.

      • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        No, Xbox was retarded when it came out, as was Wii. Metro vs. "7"? Etc. The code names are almost always better.

    • I've got to disagree with you on Windows Blue. Whoever gave it that name is either clueless (BSOD) or has a sense of humor. The boss should NOT have let it be codenamed Blue (SOD).
    • I think the main reason is you're talking about international products. The Wii, specifically, I remember Nintendo going with the name because it worked in any language. Asians would have a hard time with "Revolution," or they'd have to translate it and it would lack international consistency like 'Wii.' Not to mention that you can't sell a product called "Revolution" in China.

      Likewise, a number is easier than branding the product Blue, Bleu, Azul, Blu, etc.

      They also don't have to worry about trademarks and

    • A larger committee was involved with the final release name.
    • Hopefully they don't use names like "Blue" for their products. If they do, we might start to see recyclable advertising campaigns like:
      Switch to Microsoft Yellow - because Yellow is the new Blue.

  • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:57AM (#42953557)

    If they don't then IMHO, this is a dead duck. They have a wonderful opportunity to stop the patch/reboot/patch/reboot cycle here

    or the Patches on top of patches shell game.

    If they don't grasp this then they are merely fiddling while the City of Redmond burns to the ground.

    • by GauteL ( 29207 )

      If they don't then IMHO, this is a dead duck. They have a wonderful opportunity to stop the patch/reboot/patch/reboot cycle here

      Please... While this is a problem for some, I'm willing to bet the amount of revenue they've lost because of it is incredibly low.

      Microsoft are in serious danger of scaring off their massive army of third party developers, exactly the people who have guaranteed them success over nearly 20 years. THIS is their major problem. Metro and the Microsoft App store is a massive "fuck you" to us. This is especially true if you're invested in OpenGL. The amount of work required to bring a professional OpenGL based en

      • It is only a big deal for the people who have an ego in uptime. The issue in the real world is availability, not some uptime number and you get that through redundancy. I don't care if a Windows DC reboots. Why? Because I have like 5 more. You want to have multiple systems that are redundant so that when (not if, but when) you have a hardware failure service isn't interrupted.

        Reboots are just not a big deal in the server world. If they are, then you've designed your service wrong and you need to re-think it

        • by Junta ( 36770 )
          In the datacenter, applications *shouldn't* care about one OS instance rebooting. In practice, many do and companies find it cheaper to just fix it at the platform layer. I think this mindset is decreasing however so the datacenter uptime issue becomes less and less important. However, in the consumer electronics space, it is killer. I woke up a windows 8 laptop to have it *immediately* start rebooting to install patches. I really wanted to use it *then* but I had to wait 15 minutes, no prompting, no n
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Linux still requires reboots like Kernel upgrades. :(

  • I believe they got the job title wrong - surely it's Windows Blue ScrDETh (thanatest engineer).
  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:32AM (#42953713)

    As with North Korea's nuclear program, details are scarce,

    Has anyone detected Xenon-133 that can be traced to Seattle yet, or did MS manage to contain it pretty well underground?

    • by gmuslera ( 3436 )
      Rumors say that after the Windows 8 debacle, Ballmer don't throw chairs anymore, he took the game to the next level. Windows Blue will be (mushroom) cloud based.
  • That name sounds a bit like IBM's 'Deep Blue', the chess computer. But I think it is too reminiscent of the BSOD - can I suggest they change the name to something like 'Deep Brown'? It somehow feel more right, all things considered.

  • by ryen ( 684684 )
    sounds old school to me
  • by Mike Frett ( 2811077 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @05:28AM (#42953931)

    Steve Ballmer is flying the plane now. Tower is on the horn telling him he needs to gain altitude, but Ballmer thinks they said Attitude; whilst headed for the ground in a sweaty dance.

    All the boys and girls from Neowin are on on that plane, living it up and having a damn good time. Unaware Ballmer is piloting the plane "This is your Captain speaking, we need more Attitude!" as cheers erupt. Bill Gates was unavailable for comments, as he thinks 'Blue' airlines is headed in the wrong direction.

  • Windows 8 "refresh" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @05:34AM (#42953949)
    According to the article, Blue is a Windows 8 refresh. I assume that to mean that it's going to add all the stuff that Windows 8 was lacking when it came out, particularly in relation to its mouse / keyboard and "classic" behaviour. But even metro is a bit shit on the desktop, lacking stuff like folders to group icons, zoom in / out, certain multi-select actions and so on.
    • Why can't we get a news app that generates tiles for new articles in selected categories? Imagine waking up and the home screen stares at you with a couple new tiles on articles you'd likely want to read. Do the same with email filters to highlight important emails.

      Android and iOS already cover the static screens well, why not apply some further design iterations and produce a more living/personal screen that reduces a few of your daily activities to a single tap away!
    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      So what, it's more akin to your girlfriend going to the bathroom to douche before sex than it's like a new girlfriend coming over for a romantic dinner?

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        I don't hate Windows 8 with the passion some people do. I can see it's broken and have spent a lot of time pointing out the flaws. But neither do I think it is irretrievably bad either. I think Microsoft in their zeal to get to tablet land cut corners on the desktop experience knowing they could fix them later and I hope that the Blue refresh or whatever it ends up being called will do just that.
  • by some old guy ( 674482 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @07:12AM (#42954299)

    Code Blue?

  • North Korea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ErnoWindt ( 301103 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @08:39AM (#42954595)

    Totally hilarious reference to North Korea - but c'mon - Microsoft is run like an open source software project compared with Apple. What's interesting is that consumers seem to greet Apple's secrecy and paranoia with an almost Willy Wonka like fascination.

  • After Windows Screen, when Windows Death is released, the fat lady will sing.
  • I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I really like Windows 7.

    But you can have my unsigned desktop apps when you wrest them from my cold, dead hands.

  • the program, which is attempting to replace the multiyear product drops for the Windows-branded desktop, server, phone, and network services products with a more agile release cycle

    I have a hard time believing an entity the size of Microsoft is really going to be capable of 'agile'.

    It has to be an absolutely vast code base, with a huge number of things to test -- and undoing that long of corporate culture takes a lot of work.

    I'll be curious to see how they fare, but changing from big giant releases and vers

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @11:33AM (#42955733)
    First of all, I saw a screenshot of a warning about a disclosure for a Windows 8 beta. So, how exactly is that solid proof of a Windows Blue or 9? Anyway, as if Apple had more reasons to not be used in a business environment, their insistence on constantly changing the OS every year with a big release and then breaking half the legacy apps is the real killer. There are businesses (mine for example) that are just finishing or even starting testing Windows 7 to replace XP. Now we have to test 8 and then 9 and then 10 all in one year each? I think we'll have to hire someone to do just that full time and then never actually deploy a new OS because it will have changed to the next one by then. I thought they'd pull a post-vista and come down off their crazy train and take 3 years to build something that wasn't a useless piece of shit. But nope, they're opting to piss people off twice as badly but on a yearly basis and stick with that awful interface. There goes the Microsoft "every other" cycle.
    • Interesting question. When .net was all the rage, I used to get annoyed because Microsoft seemed uninterested in anything that *wasn't* a business, preferably one that we in the office termed "www" (i.e. selling widgets to wankers on the web).

      Since then, Microsoft has seemed actively anti-business. They switch programming language platforms willy-nilly, with virtually no discernable advantage from any perspective except their own (e.g. WPF, the latest pointless iteration of ASP, and the "de-emphasis" of Sil

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        They're just chasing the new money and the new paradigms having milked all they could from the old ones.

        MS Management sees all the 20-something whiz kids writing mobile apps and figures everything to do with that is the future, and it's certainly where all the double-digit growth and money is.

        "The existing developer base" isn't even seen as a constituency -- they're not doing anything lucrative and growth-oriented, and they're likely to be replaced with slave labor from India anyway, eliminating their invol

  • Microsoft's goal appears to be to make the new version sufficiently different and incompatible with extant versions, formats, UI, etc., so that users will recognize that it is 'new.' Shouldn't the goal be, though, to have the new version have some major new capability that did not exist in previous versions and gives users a new ability to do something important?

  • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:45PM (#42957433)

    "She reports that the program, which is attempting to replace the multiyear product drops for the Windows-branded desktop, server, phone, and network services products with a more agile release cycle, with better continuity across the suite"

    This is just plain retarded. Why have "agile releases" of corporate software? We can barely afford to upgrade server OS and applications every 5-10 years including all of the time/labor for the upgrades! Now they are going to release Server OS, Exchange, etc every 12-18 months? I call bullshit.

    Hell, Microsoft can't even have their flagship Exchange 2010 product run on Server 2012 yet....and that is 6+ months after Server 2012 was released. Now I'm supposed to believe that Microsoft will have interoperability between 5-10 server releases with 5-10 different flavors of Exchange, SQL, etc?

    I can't even imagine trying to manage that mess - it's difficult enough now.


System checkpoint complete.