Windows 7

Windows 7 is… 6.1?

Windows 6.1And here we were all hoping Windows 7 would signal a return to simplicity. Now Microsoft says Windows 7 is actually Windows 6.1. That’s the version number that appears in the code, even though the version number on the box is 7.

Microsoft claims the convoluted version numbering ensures backward application compatibility. Vista is 6.0, and apparently using 7.0 in the code would break a lot of Windows applications. “Windows 7” is just a dumbed-down version number for marketing purposes.

If you have to show two different version numbers to your developers and customers, then you have serious problems wrangling your developer community. Call it 6.1, call it Vista SE — but please don’t treat your customers like idiots who can’t do decimals. Even Apple doesn’t do that, and their products are designed to be idiotproof.

Windows 7 to Be Called Windows 7

Windows LogoWhen I first heard that codename Windows Longhorn was to be branded Windows Vista, I scoffed at the name. It sounded too dumbed-down, as if computer users couldn’t grasp the concept of version numbers and acronyms. 3.11, 95, 98, 2000, NT, XP — now those were version names. Vista sounds like listless. Two years later, that’s exactly how Vista sales are: listless.

That’s why I’m glad Microsoft will brand Windows 7 simply that: Windows 7.

Over the years, we’ve watched Windows go from cool DOS front-end to integrated graphical OS to vaguely bloated mess. Let’s hope this return to simplicity in name reflects a return to simplicity in function.