OK, it’s now definite. Windows 7 is gonna suck, and suck hard.
The plausible suspicion all along has been that it’s the Vista codebase with a superficial paint job. Now it appears there are holes in the paint; the public Windows 7 beta describes itself as Vista.
A Slashdot article parses the hints that there will be no beta 2, nor a release candidate 2 – they’re going to go straight to a full production release within a few months. There is no possible way for Microsoft to address architecture-level problems, fix the driver model, or claw back their lost application compatibility in that time. In effect, Windows 7 will be a Vista service pack with a fancy new brand on it.
Microsoft is behaving as though it believes that Vista’s problems were nothing but PR, and that by rebranding and spinning up the hype engines they can overcome those. The results when this strategy collides with reality should be … entertaining, to say the least.