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Microsoft Features and Releases Timeline? 23

Posted by Cliff
from the tracking-the-'innovation' dept.
maggard writes "Does anyome have any good timelines for MS Windows releases, their original feature-sets & what they eventually shipped with? MS has a long habit of promising lots of features in future operating systems, mapping out elaborate plans with dates & product codenames, etc. then, er, well it not quite happening. I'm looking to track some of these plans and match them up against what really shipped and when. I'm also looking to track all of the various Win-flavors out there now (something like a dozen or so) to point out that Unix isn't the only thing out there in danger of fragmenting."
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Microsoft Features and Releases Timeline?

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  • Just take year + X, where X is some number greater than 2. Repeat as necessary.

    - A.P.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • I'm singling out MS cause I'm interested in them, they're notorious for using "preemptive announcements" as a tactical tool in controlling the market and because of all the vendors they've made the most grandiose plans and fallen the shortest (well, Amiga but they're hardly of the same stature.)

    As to MS being an easy target on /., yes, that's why I asked here. I considered asking on news://alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer [alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer] but I doubted I'd get many replies or as much useful material.

    -- Michael

    ps - Just to correct your "OS-X (AKA Rhapsody)" comment - not accurate. Rhapsody did ship as MacOS Server 1.0, the client version was dropped in favor of the Darwin / MacOS X strategy. Check out this [slashdot.org] posting on /. of mine a week ago. Interestingly this is the post that got me interested in the MS timeline.

  • well, XP will be a step in this direction. I'm not sure how much a merging it is as more simply the oft-delayed end-of-the-road for Win9x & MS finally getting to kill this product.

    However there will still be a number of variations (DataCenter, a possible-WebServer-specific flavor, other high-end implementations, etc.) as well as the various quasi-Win-OS's like Embedded Windows, X-Box, Palm Windows (neé WinCe) etc.

    These days it looks like MS is rolling out new Windows as fast as old ones wither so I'm not sure what the final tally will be. That's why I'm trying to get a timeline / family tree put together.

  • You're right, I'm not going to go into detail re: fragmentation on Windows. Suffice to note that there's numerous versions of Windows-"proper" and several flavors of Windows-"varients" like Palm Windows (née WinCE), Embedded Windows, X-Box, etc.

    As to failed deliveries & fragmentation, they were two topics. I'm interested in both the Windows "family tree" & in the feature-sets/timelines as originially planned & what actually shipped when.

    Regarding the Apple server-redirects, likely because most customers are interested in the desktop OS & not the server OS. As it stands right now MacOS Server 1.0 (actually 1.something, it's in the link I pointed out previously) is due to be replaced with MacOS X Server 10.0 soon. Apple claimed within a month of the MacOS X release & reports are that it's on track & looking stable.

    In Apple's timeline MacOS 9 was what came after Rhapsody debuted & aborted so it seems a reasonable place to redirect folks. As MacOS Server 1.0 hasn't been availaible for purchase for months & clearly has no future then pushing it on the website wouldn't make much sense. Personally I'd expect those links to go to MacOS X Server 10.0 promo stuff but it's possible they set them awhile ago & are holding off on changing anything 'till MacOS X Server 10.0 ships. Or they just screwed up.

  • I have no idea what axe you're trying to grind but neither do I particularly care.

    Apple pushed MacOS Server out the door. They killed it's companion desktop product. Since then MacOS Server 1.0 has languished acting as a sorta poor test-bed for the early betas of MacOS X & having a few features the MacOS >X-based AppleShare & Appleshare-IP didn't have (Netbooting, etc.) Now it's about to be replaced by the MacOS X based MacOS X Server.

    This one Rhapsody-based product - gone. There will be at least a MacOS 9.2 released, possibly something after but it's all going to MacOS X.

    The MacOS X "line"will has Darwin (PPC & x86) for it's base, MacOS X for a desktop & MacOS X Server (MacOS X with a few added packages) for a server.

    Enough Mac-stuff.

    As to trying to bait me with "Which company is better" or even "which OS is better" or "Look how bad (whatever) is" - sorry, won't work. You seem to have glommed on to MacOS as a counteragument for me but I simply corrected you since you were wrong: I don't have any emotionial committment to it. Indeed I don't have any particular emotionial committment to any of them. Go find your agument somewhere else.

    I believe that MS uses it's roadmap as a tactical weapon when competing in the market. I believe there is a consistant & generally unremarked discrepancy between what MS projects to be in a product & when it will ship and what actually does & when. I believe that MS "Windows" is as 'fragmented' (broad, varied, whatever) as the *nix market is often portayed. I am interested in collecting & compiling information to discover if these beliefs are true or not.

    Now, you may have some desire to see MS portayed in some way or not in another - fine. Go work for Werner-Edelstrom. If you feel my studies may be biased you're welcome to conduct your own. You can see the same links suggested as I do - go at it.

    But please don't go try dragging me into some asinine OS or company war. Once I've got some material put together I can test my hypothosis & discover the validity of my premises. In the meantime it's just so much hot-air & frankly your style doesn't appeal to me anyhow.

    I'll post a link with what I put together in a few weeks. Then you'll be welcome to go read it yourself.

  • I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but reading your "favorite site" almost gives me a bit of respect for Microsoft. They really have come a long way. Not to say others haven't, but...
  • Well... Windows is about to unfragment with the release of XP. After a time, of course, there will not be Win9x, it will just be XP Personal which is the same core as XP Pro without some additions. But finally developers will have one base to code against again and not the many that are out right now.

    I know the developers at my last company hated doing USB code because of the different variations.
  • I'm a beta tester for XP, so I used it all the time. So far it's pretty good.

  • http://www.metrics.com/WinFAQ/winver.htm [metrics.com]

    It has some versions, some dates, some features...
  • by tmontes (80312) on Monday April 09, 2001 @12:56PM (#304536)
    Not exactly a timeline but interesting, anyhow:

    http://pla-netx.com/linebackn/guis/index.html [pla-netx.com]

    http://www.windrivers.com/TIMELINE/1.htm [windrivers.com]

    ...they're essentially the same, I believe, so someone must be copying/mirroring/whatever someone.
  • One thing I remember about this period is that this release was 9-12 months away for virtually the whole time.

    Yeah, MS came to my university before Win2K came out to talk about whatever (an OpenBSD using friend of mine won a copy of Win2K Final RC in a drawing). Anyway, at one point someone asks if they're going to be meeting their (supposed) release dates. Response: "Don't believe everything you read on Slashdot, Win2k will ship on such-and-such a date". Of course it was actually released a couple months after that date (pretty much when everyone here thought it would be), but they seem to have toned this down for XP (same OpenBSD using friend won MS Flight Simulator at the MS XP talk, BTW). We (the Unix contingent at the talk) we amused, to say the least.

  • I'm still waiting for a major x86 Linux distro with good enough USB support, lacking for over a year, to use my Visor that I don't have to manually upgrade the kernel (I know, short work for some of you kernel hackers, but too much of a PITA for me), preferrably Red Hat, but their 'next several weeks' continues to drag on.

    Ummm, Mandrake 7.2? I've been using it "out of the box" to sync with my Visor for 5 months now... Oh, and it's Red-Hat based. -Wulfhere

  • There is this nice Microsoft Timeline, covering 1975 till 2000, right over here [orlandosentinel.com]. It is not exactly what you asked for, but its a M$ Timeline. Enjoy.



    You're tired of Slashdot ads? Get junkbuster [junkbusters.com] now!
  • Actually, didn't mean you, specifically, NetJunkie... but after I wrote it, I realized it came out like that... should preview more often, perhaps. The comment about checking out the review if you haven't seen it was actually meant for everyone besides you... heh.
  • Yes, Windows XP does look promising, but don't all MS OSes look that way before they come out? If you haven't seen it, I suggest checking out the review [winsupersite.com] over at winsupersite. Hopefully, this will keep us on one desktop codebase. Of course, there will still be Windows CE (or whatever they call it now), XBox, Windows Embedded, etc floating around.
  • If Mandrake 8 comes out before Red Hat 7.1, I just might jump ship (and I'm thinking that's more likely at this point). I got a bit comfy with Nautilus, which apparently doesn't run (1.0 that is) on Mandrake 7.2, so there really was a bit more to the story. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
  • Why do virtually all of the links on the fact sheet for Rhapsody [apple.com] now redirect to OS9.1, and not MacOS Server? I thought Rhapsody was 'delivered' as MacOS server. OS9.1 isn't a server OS. If the true heritage of Rhapsody was MacOS Server, wouldn't it point to a Mac OS Server 1.0 page, or at least to OSX Server?

    And you didn't answer my question as to how failed deliveries will lead to fragmentation. Actually, Mac OS Server seems to be a hint of evidence of this phenomenon, but I fail to see it in Microsoft's future, at least any fragmentation due to announcements/failed delivery on their part.

  • Regarding the Apple server-redirects, likely because most customers are interested in the desktop OS & not the server OS.

    Precisely. If they went looking for Rhapsody, they were looking for the desktop OS, which early reports describe as 'media rich' and 'next generation OS,' not 'new server offshoot thingy.'

    If you read the press release [apple.com] that announces Rhapsody, they talk about the 'next generation OS' which will "improve multimedia capabilities" and be great for consumers and developers alike. The release for MacOS Server [apple.com] always refers to it as a 'server OS,' never as 'the next generation OS,' or 'Rhapsody.' So they kluged together a portion of what was destined to become OSX and released it only sorta late. That wasn't even close to what Rhapsody was ever meant to be. And until they update iTunes to fully work under OSX (i.e. not in 9.1 emulation mode and with CDRW, DVDRW, and for Chrissake DVD play ability) they haven't even really finished, particularly since instead of improving multimedia capabilities, they have crippled them significantly.

    Hey, by your logic, Microsoft is never late - they just release 'iterative fractional' versions of their roadmaps too! The funny thing is, that Mac is the one fragmenting at this point, and Microsoft aims to unify in the near term.

  • I have no idea what axe you're trying to grind but neither do I particularly care.

    Just looking for the 'truth.' Sorry.

    As to trying to bait me with "Which company is better" or even "which OS is better" or "Look how bad (whatever) is" - sorry, won't work. You seem to have glommed on to MacOS as a counteragument for me but I simply corrected you since you were wrong:

    I wasn't baiting you - I simply corrected you since you were wrong.

    Plus, you had better call Apple. They've got their OS roadmaps and redirects all screwed up, and you know what they should have set up.

    I believe that MS uses it's roadmap as a tactical weapon when competing in the market

    You mean they aren't dreaming of gumdrops and lollypops and helping other companies push them out of business? Gosh, they sure are nasty, those Redmond boys. I'm sure glad nobody else ever uses roadmaps and technical announcements [apple.com] as a business weapon. Why, when Apple said they would "leapfrog ...other 'modern' operating systems, such as NT," and "The first release of Rhapsody is expected to be launched to developers in mid to late 1997 and to customers within 12 months," they were merely stating facts without any hidden agenda.

    I believe there is a consistant & generally unremarked discrepancy between what MS projects to be in a product & when it will ship and what actually does & when.

    Once again, you make statements singling out Microsoft. They're true, absolutely - but they apply to virtually everyone out there, so why bother making them? I'm not saying Apple sucks, ha ha, It's just that every problem you seem to have with Microsoft is universal to the industry.

    I believe that MS "Windows" is as 'fragmented' (broad, varied, whatever) as the *nix market is often portayed.

    OK, so we've got Windows 3, 3.1, 3.11, (mostly the same), Windows NT 3.51 and 4, Windows 95, 95B, (mostly the same), Windows 98, 98SE (mostly the same), 2000, ME, and WinCE. I'm supposed to believe that's more fragmented than Unix/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD/Caldera/Corel/Debian/M andrake/LinuxPPC/Yellow Dog/RedHat/Slackware/SuSE/TurboLinux (and something over 100 more distros)/IRIX/MINIX all the RTOS/embedded ones, etc. on x86, PPC, 680x0, MIPS, Alpha, etc. with just a few flavors of NT on other platforms? You seriously believe that? This is less/equivalently fragmented than Microsoft?

    BTW, yes, I know some programs even work on more than one Linux, and many distros are based on other distros, but the fragmentation there is unreal!

    Now, you may have some desire to see MS portayed in some way or not in another...

    Look, I saw someone bashing Microsoft for being a business and doing what the others do. If you had asked for a roadmap for all major commercial OSs (since you obviously don't have an accurate one for Apple) to document how they all kinda do the same thing (in this area), that would be one thing. But it's as if you're insisting the Democrats are evil because they've broken campaign promises in the past, and are bought out by special interests. When someone points out that the Republicans have done the exact same thing, you have a fit, and try to distort their own literature into proving they're squeaky clean.

    But please don't go try dragging me into some asinine OS or company war.

    Hey, there are plenty of valid criticisms of Microsoft, but it seems silly to focus on the industry-standard crap they pull, since 'everyone else is doing it.'

    Once I've got some material put together I can test my hypothosis & discover the validity of my premises. In the meantime it's just so much hot-air & frankly your style doesn't appeal to me anyhow.

    Well, I already have plenty of links off of Apple's own website to support my argument. I'm sorry if my style of 'arguing with someone who is clearly distorting a company's image to further his own agenda' and 'correcting fallacies' is bugging you. Or was it the 'showing you you were wrong' or 'supporting my argument with links rather than brag about the links I was GOING to provide eventually?'

  • by JohnTheFisherman (225485) on Monday April 09, 2001 @04:11PM (#304546)
    You seem to be singling out Microsoft, which is an easy target on Slashdot. Do you mind if I ask what the motivation behind your timeline is? I believe that your list would be more complete if you compare their performance vs. the vapor practices of everyone else.

    If you are interested in broadening your timeline to include other operating systems' promise/delay/delivery-not-meeting-expectations, there are plenty of other examples out there, notably OS-X (AKA Rhapsody [apple-history.com]) which is 3 years late and lacks CD-R(W), DVDRW, DVD play support, along with missing printer and SCSI drivers (without running in 9.1 emulation mode). I'm still waiting for a major x86 Linux distro with good enough USB support [binghamton.edu], lacking for over a year, to use my Visor that I don't have to manually upgrade the kernel (I know, short work for some of you kernel hackers, but too much of a PITA for me), preferrably Red Hat, but their 'next several weeks' [redhat.com] continues to drag on.

    I doubt the 'promises/delays/letdowns' are exclusive to Windows, but fairly standard practice for the industry as a whole. That doesn't make it right, just typical.

    Even more puzzling to me is how these apparently industry standard release cycles contribute to fragmentation, especially from a single proprietary vendor who can control all the different flavors! Sure, if they want it to fragment, they could make it happen, but it would require them to make it happen (or perhaps a federal judge ;).

  • I'm thinking of more concrete examples such as WinXP or VisualStudio.NET, neither of which much vapor was spread about until functional betas were in people's hands.

    Remember that the Cairo talk started before either Windows 95 or NT 4.0 shipped. Perhaps "Hailstorm" fits this model, but I have a feeling that it doesn't.
  • by Petrophile (253809) on Monday April 09, 2001 @10:09PM (#304548) Homepage
    Microsoft's operating system timetable made some very interesting changes from "Cairo" (originally slated to ship in 1996) to "Windows 2000". One thing I remember about this period is that this release was 9-12 months away for virtually the whole time.

    Trying to find any information on the web about previous product plans is nearly impossible. My suggestion is to head down to the local library and see if they have old copies/microfitch of "PC Week" or "Infoworld". ZDNet pubs are especially good because they tended to be more sycophantic to Microsoft. The more consumer oriented mags like PC Magazine might have some good info too.

    Of course, none of this information will be officially from Microsoft. But I think it's clear who is whispering into journalist's ears. In MS's defense, nowdays they don't quite blow the vapor like they used to.
  • Here is one time line [wilmingtonstar.com]. This one is written and not a visual time line. This is also interesting [npr.org]. The only problem is that their is is a gap from 1975-90. This is the my favorite site [fsnet.co.uk] This site starts in 1980 but it is very indepth about DOS, widows, and Microft itself! This is a nice time line [orlandosentinel.com] also. It covers 1975-2000.

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