Just last month I was grousing that yesterday’s end of support for Windows 98 would be the perfect time to roll out Microsoft’s planned Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (codename Eiger), except that it had reportedly been delayed until later in the year. That delay seems to have vanished suddenly:
Microsoft Windows® Fundamentals for Legacy PCs is now available to Software Assurance customers. Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs extends the security and stability of Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 to legacy PCs and eases the transition to Windows Vista™ Enterprise.
This isn’t exactly a money maker, but more of a snappy answer to complaints from business users about the demise of Windows 98 although it clearly has limited applicability:
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs is not a general-purpose operating system. It is designed to work with the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection client or third-party clients such as the Citrix ICA client. In addition, it allows for a limited number of workloads to be executed locally, including security software, management software, terminal emulation software, document viewers, and the .NET Framework.
Yesterday, Bink.nu reminded us of “Eiger” now known as Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. It’s based on Windows XP Embedded, available only to Microsoft System Assurance customers (i.e. business customers), and designed to be run on legacy PCs that don’t have the oomph to run Windows XP. The advantage is better security and maintainability which would be nice in view of the imminent, inglorious end of service of Windows 98. The unfortunate answer is that despite initial plans to ship Fundamentals in June 2006, it has been pushed back to later in the year. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it before, but with Windows 98 left hanging with a large security flaw, Fundamentals is turning out to be very late to the party.
Nate Mook at BetaNews reports that Windows Fundamentals, which had been expected to ship this month, has been delayed until late 2006 for no stated reason. If you’ll recall from when it was announced last year, Fundamentals is rather an odd duck. It’s based on Windows XP Embedded and designed for aging PCs that don’t have the oomph to run regular Windows XP and it’s only available to members of Microsoft’s Software Assurance licensing program. It’s not clear whether any Software Assurance customers will be discomfited by the delay.
If you don’t deal with volume licensing of Microsoft products, you probably haven’t given much thought to the foibles of their Software Assurance offering. Anyhow, Microsoft has felt the need to enhance it as announced today:
Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will add and enhance benefits to its maintenance offering, Software Assurance (SA). The new benefits, scheduled to be available to customers in March 2006, demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to listen to customer feedback and extend the value of SA beyond that of a typical maintenance offering, which includes only support and upgrades, to a more comprehensive offering that helps ensure customers have access to support, new version rights, technology and comprehensive resources throughout the life of their software.
There are a variety of new features, but one which caught my eye was:
Windows Vista™ Enterprise is available exclusively as a benefit of Software Assurance and is designed to help midsize and larger organizations significantly lower IT costs and improve IT efficiency.
So one of the Vista versions described by Paul Thurrott is an exclusive for Software Assurance customers.
And there’s another exclusive OS as well:
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (formerly code-named “Eiger”). For enterprise customers concerned with security and manageability of legacy PCs running legacy operating systems, but that are not in a position to replace those PCs, Microsoft is introducing Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs as an exclusive benefit to SA customers. Based on Windows XP Embedded with Service Pack 2, Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs is designed to provide a bridge solution that enables customers to get additional life out of legacy PCs while reducing security risks and improving manageability as well as providing an easy upgrade path to new PC hardware running either Windows XP or Windows Vista.