Vista Gets The Final Sign-Off

Jim Allchin got out the pom-poms again to once again cheer for Windows Vista as he announced on a conference call that he has signed off on the project.

“It’s rock solid and we’re ready to ship,” said the co-president of Microsoft’s platform and services division.

So everything is now on track to deliver the final code to volume licensees at the end of this month and have it in stores on Jan. 30.

That will also be the day when PCs will be on sale with Vista pre-loaded.

Allchin said Vista already has support for five languages — English, Japanese, German, Spanish, and French– and will have 18 by launch day in January. There will be more than 100 language versions of Vista by the time Microsoft  is done.

Vista has 50 percent more device driver coverage at RTM than XP had when development finished in 2001, and has been through more public previews – 16 total – than any operating system. Internally, Microsoft ran twice as many stress tests on it as XP, he said.

“When comparing this system to XP Service Pack 2 with hard metrics, there’s no question that Vista is more reliable,” he boasted.

Allchin expects it will take about 10 weeks for companies to fine tune drivers and optimize apps for Vista, although some applications need more time than that to work on Vista.

Another area where Microsoft did better than it did with XP is application compatibility testing. XP didn’t have an application compatibility test kit until nine months after its release, he noted. Vista has had one for some time.

Allchin believes the security measures of Vista will make it “the most secure system we’ve shipped.”

Vista has many security features that he said simply couldn’t be done in XP, such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR).

ASLR arranges key data areas in different locations, so viruses may not always work if they are programmed to expect to find an address stack at the same location and it’s always in a different place.

“I believe there will be fewer security bulletins and they will be less severe,” said Allchin, in reference to the monthly patches Microsoft issues for its operating systems. “Windows Vista will have issues in security, because the bar is being raised over time. But in my opinion, it’s the most secure system available.”

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