Microsoft has announced that Windows Vista will be the official name of the next version of Microsoft Windows. Vista is what was codenamed Longhorn.
I absolutely hate the inconsistancy and idoticy that goes behind Microsoft’s name choices when it comes to product versions. Why can’t they stick with one method?
You wouldn’t believe how many times I have to explain to clients why Office XP isn’t the same as Windows XP (all the client knows because versions have become so diluted is that he has “XP”). Or how Outlook 2002 is part of Office XP (there is no such thing as Word XP, despite common sense saying otherwise). Or how Windows Me came out between Windows 98 and Windows 2000. Or how Windows Server 2003 is the next version of Windows 2000 Server (yes it is confusing for some). Or how Windows XP is the latest version of Windows and replaces Windows 98, Me, and 2000.
Or how we went from:
- Windows 3.1
- Windows 95 (with 4-5 versions of that…)
- Windows NT 4.0
- Windows 98
- Windows 98 SE
- Windows ME
- Windows 2000
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista
- Office 95
- Office 97
- Outlook 98 (Windows)
- Office 98 (Mac)
- Office 2000
- Office 2001 (for Mac)
- Office XP (includes Word 2002, Outlook 2002, Excel 2002…)
- Office v. X (for Mac)
- Office 2003
- Office 2004 (for Mac)
Notice the lack of consistancy, especially recently. Note that outside of releases that use years for version numbers, there is no way to tell which version is newer or the latest. For Office, heck you couldn’t figure out what version was for what platform without adding (for Mac) at the end of it.
Heck let’s have fun with this and compare it to Apple:
- MacOS 9.0
- Mac OS X 10.0
- Mac OS X 10.1
- Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar
- Mac OS X 10.3 Panther
- Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger
Apple likes to add codenames to its releases…the key thing is they still place a major emphasis on the version number. It is easy to tell that Tiger is newer then Jaguar…becaues nearly every mention of Tiger comes with 10.4 next to it (likewise with 10.2 and Jaguar).
Yes I know marketing is a huge reason for these version names. Yes I know it makes a product look flashy and new and cool. But it makes no sense to go about naming versions like this! I spend more time educating users which version is the latest instead of helping them out with more important things.
Microsoft…ditch Windows Vista. Go back to Windows 2006…or Windows 6.0. Or something.
Heck call it Windows 2006 Vista.
Just be consistant and make it easy to tell that Windows Vista is actually newer then Windows XP or Windows ME. Your users will be less confused, us geeks will have some sanity left, and most of all…we lose a reason to make fun of Microsoft and its goofy version names that serve no purpose what so ever.