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January 23, 2006

Windows Vista News Notes

Posted by David Hunter at 11:45 AM ET.

Paul Thurrott’s latest Vista schedule buzz:

Currently, Microsoft plans to ship the feature-complete internal build on January 31, 2006, and then ship a near-feature-complete Community Technology Preview (CTP) build to testers on February 17. (To date, more than 50 product teams have submitted code for the feature-complete builds.) Windows Vista Beta 2 is due on April 12, followed by a release candidate (RC) build in July and release to manufacturing (RTM) in August. Assuming this last date is met, the general release of the product will occur in October.

If so, that means Vista misses back-to-school buying, but does catch the Christmas shopping season.

Robert Scoble suggests that the answer to “Why do I need Windows Vista?” is in a number of Channel 9 videos and Manuel Clement posts the links. See also the commentary from Sean Alexander and Brandon LeBlanc. Read the list, watch the videos, and decide for yourself, but my take is that the list is not compelling enough to drive a large volume of upgrades and that merely means business as usual in the client OS market.

Hector J. Rodriguez at OSR Online notes that Microsoft has new restrictions on unsigned Vista drivers:

In the latest shocker to hit the driver development community, it seems that Microsoft has decided that only signed drivers will be loadable on 64-bit Windows Vista systems.

In a paper released today (19 January) on the WHDC website Microsoft indicated that for Windows Vista “unsigned kernel-mode software will not load and will not run on x64-based systems.” This is in addition to the fact the users without administrator privilege, on any Vista system (32-bit or 64-bit) will not be able to load unsigned drivers.

While getting the Design For Windows logo by passing the WHQL tests is one option, developers can obtain a Publisher Identify Certificate (PIC) from Microsoft and use that to sign their code. Prerequisite to obtaining a PIC is an organization having a Class 3 Commercial Software Publisher Certificate issued by Verisign. What? Your org doesn’t use Verisign for their PKI infrastructure? Apparently that’s just too bad. The necessary certification is only $500 (valid for a year), which shouldn’t present a burden for most companies.

As he observes, it’s a little late to be springing a surprise like this. The whole driver signing issue is a perennial bone of contention and note that some software unrelated to any hardware qualifies as “kernel-mode software”, much to the consternation of ISV’s that develop it and discover they have to fit within the constraints of Microsoft’s device driver program.



Filed under OS - Client, Windows Vista

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4 Responses to “Windows Vista News Notes”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Ask Jim Allchin why you should buy Vista Says:

    [...] On a related note, yesterday I mentioned a list of reasons for “Why do I need Windows Vista?” developed by Robert Scoble and Manuel Clement. I was a trifle skeptical as to how compelling they were. Michael Gartenberg saw the same list and says, “Please tell me there’s more…” Please tell me there is more to Vista than I’m seeing on this list and there’s a marketing message that consumers might relate to in this somewhere. [...]

  2. Microsoft News Tracker » Windows Vista news roundup Says:

    [...] And in a related vein, it actually looks like that, as anticipated, Vista will actually ship in time for the holidays. [...]

  3. Microsoft News Tracker » So will Vista “suck” or not? Says:

    [...] With due respect to Mr. Cross, there’s really nothing on his list of “cool” Vista features that is particularly compelling. Nice to have certainly, but which of the new features are going to stampede buyers into the stores? This has been the reaction to similar lists in the past ([1], [2]) and nothing has changed or is likely to change, so I believe the answer to this question is “No.” [...]

  4. No Vista high def DVD playback support on 32-bit systems? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] “This is a decision that the Media Player folks made because there are just too many ways right now for unsigned kernel mode code [to compromise content protection]. The media companies asked us to do this and said they don’t want any of their high definition content to play in x32 at all, because of all of the unsigned malware that runs in kernel mode can get around content protection, so we had to do this,” he said. In case this is somewhat obscure, it means that the studios are worried that determined copiers could get around copy protection by loading kernel mode drivers in 32-bit Vista. They feel safer about 64-bit Vista because Microsoft will only permit “signed” drivers there – i.e. signed with a digital certificate issued to a valid commercial organization. Riley then attempted to pre-empt audience concerns over the newly imposed limitation by asking how many of the Tech.Ed attendees currently played high-definition movies at home. [...]

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