Mike Nash announced that Vista SP1 was released to manufacturing today. It is quite disappointing that SP1 will be available for download only in mid-March. I find this a bit strange, to say the least of it. Sometimes it seems to me that Microsoft still lives in a time before the Internet.

The term "RTM" makes this more than clear. The software is ready, so the manufacturing, that is the production of the real thing, the DVDs, can start now. But who really cares about the DVDs nowadays? In my view, "release to manufacturing" of software is done by compiling the final version. Then you copy it to your download servers, and that's it. So why do we have to wait for another 6 weeks?

Mike Nash tries to give the reason. Some hardware vendors released drivers which do not follow the guidelines for driver installation. These drivers have to be reinstalled after Vista has been updated to SP1. Microsoft needs some more time to convince those hardware vendors to do their homework.

It seems like there is only a small set of drivers affected. So the rest of the world has to wait for another six weeks just because some hardware vendors did sloppy work? It is hard to believe. Wouldn't it make more sense to notify users before they try to install the service pack? Then, they can decide if they want to wait until new drivers are available or just reinstall them afterwards.

Anyway, in my opinion there still is no Vista SP1 RTM. "Manufacturing" nowadays is done by a single click. Just upload the exe to your Web servers and "manufacturing" is done. So, SP1 will be released to "manufacturing" only in mid-March.

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This is really disappointing because SP1 is far more important than Microsoft tries to make us believe for months. I am going to post something about this point these days. Ah yes, there is another reason why I am so grumpy. It seems the MS guys really forgot my birthday. 😉

11 Comments
  1. Jason 14 years ago

    Drivers; however, are the bane of Windows. 90%+ of all blue screens, slowdowns, crashes, etc. in Windows are the result of bad drivers. Even the slow adoption of Vista in the first place can be partially attributed to the lack of support by hardware manufacturers and their non-release or buggy releases of drivers. This is even worse when you start talking 64-bit.

    I find it completely understandable to wait and put pressure on the hardware manufacturers because any they screw up, Microsoft gets blamed.

  2. Lukas Beeler 14 years ago

    WS2008 final bits are already available on MSDN/Technet Subscriber downloads.

    So at least they got that one right.

    With Vista SP1, the RC 2 Refresh 2 is said to be the final bits (can be installed with the WU Beta Code). I’ve installed that one at home, and it has the same build numbers as my WS2008 Technet downloads. Of course that doesn’t help me much when i want to deploy SP1 in my company.

  3. Dave P 14 years ago

    Release to manufactures for Microsoft has generally meant a release to system builders, system integrators, and OEMs. It is a short period when they can test things and generally they are assured the code is frozen. I don’t think it has anything to do with the generation of the DVDs. For those that really want RTM bits they can find it on the web. For the masses they are probably better off waiting until it is released on the web. I think that a few months for computer manufacturers to test and verify on the actual code (not beta) is justified. Based on your blog Microsoft may need to clarify what the purpose of RTM is.

  4. jkowall 14 years ago

    Why would you blame microsoft, as #2 said, they released Server 2008 RTM and I already downloaded it. It must be a driver issue with SP1…

  5. Jim 14 years ago

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this might be more about major vendors like Dell, etc. than anything. Especially since these vendors essentially petitioned MS to let them continue carrying XP because of the bad results and thus bad PR of Vista, I would guess that they will want to ship PC’s with SP1 at the earliest possible time. It’s all about sales and Dell and company wouldn’t be very happy if MS essentially undercut them.

    The driver argument doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but it can be used for PR purposes.

  6. Greg Zygadlo 14 years ago

    With the release of Vista SP1 are the bits for RSAT going to be there two. Without those tools whats the point of running Vista as I can’t manage my servers from Vista as the 2003 tools don’t let me do everything.

  7. Lukas Beeler 14 years ago

    Just as a heads-up, there seems to be quite a discussion on the TechNet Blog regarding SP1 availability:

    http://blogs.technet.com/technetplussubscriptions/archive/2008/02/04/technet-plus-sp1-availability-plan-of-record.aspx

    Well, if we’re lucky we might see it soon.

  8. Jason, I absolutely agree that sluggish hardware vendors are the main reason for the slow Vista adoption. One can’t blame Microsoft for that. However, I doubt that Microsoft made these decisions to prevent users from getting blue screens. As I already said in the article, they could just have warned anybody who is affected. But this would expose those hardware partners that are responsible for the sloppy programmed drivers.

    Lukas, it is probably not a big deal to get access to Vista SP1 RTM now. However, Microsoft and also third parties might deny support if you run into problems. The discussion on this Technet Plus blog is indeed interesting.

    Dave, I think it had something to do with the manufacturing of CDs. In the past, even OEMs and system builders received their copies on CD (or diskettes). So they had to be manufactured first. In my view, Microsoft better should give up the term “RTM” altogether, because it doesn’t make much sense in the Internet age anymore. It just gives them the image of being old fashioned by distributing software via a “manufacturing process”.

    jkowall, I blame Microsoft because they value their hardware partners more than their customers. (See my response to Jason.)
    Jim, I also have the suspicion that major hardware vendors are involved. Even if only a small number of customers might be affected by the problem, those vendors might get cross if “their” customers are affected by sloppy programmed drivers.

    Greg Zygadlo, yeah I am also curious when RSAT for Vista will come out. I guess it won’t be before mid-March.

  9. Bryan 14 years ago

    I think you all are getting this wrong, They are going to release Windows Vista SP1 to the Manufactur, I believe this represents the who OS. Windows XP SP1 and Windows XP SP2 were both released on CD all ready to go the OS, update and all. When you installed the OS it was already updated. So when can we buy a version of Vista with SP1 already incorperated in to the OS, Mid March.

  10. Bryan, it certainly has something to do also with the manufacturing of the DVDs containing the OS and the SP. What I wanted to say is that MS shouldn’t have used the word “release” under such circumstances. Nobody really cares about a release to DVD manufacturers, OEMs or system builders. They could have as well issued a press release telling the world that Vista RTC (Released to Compiling) or Vista RTD (Released to Development) is available now. 😉 As far as I am concerned, nothing is released as long as I can’t copy it to my disk.

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