Performance Reset

You may have seen news articles and blogs on Vista SP1 performance (or lack of). What people are upset about (myself included), is Microsoft officially says that Vista SP1 brings performance increases. One problem: people can’t find these performance increases.

Let’s back up. Years ago, Microsoft was receiving negative press, and customers were affected by Microsoft’s lack of baked-in security… Microsoft had the wisdom to stop current product development and review millions of lines of code. Software source code (aka: application logic) was reworked in Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft developer tools, and many other products. This group of significant actions became known as the “security reset”.  This was a major deal, where normal development was put on hold, so software could be reviewed and fixed with a critical eye on security. (Side note: A friend was a developer at Microsoft during this period). In part, this security reset became a significant part of Windows XP SP2. During (and after) this period Microsoft instituted fairly strict policies on security. These policies were communicated to external (non-Microsoft) developers. Overall, this was a big deal that took concerted effort within Microsoft.

Personally, I think Microsoft now needs a performance reset. As I’ve said in some previous posts, I think software in general, and Microsoft software in particular, is getting slower at faster rate than hardware is getting faster. And this problem acutely affects Vista. I think Microsoft needs a performance reset where development is put on-hold and everyone looks at improving performance. One caveat: leadership usually doesn’t like this, because it affects product schedules, resource tasking, new product releases, and revenue streams. This affects marketing, development, testing, management, and pretty much anyone taking part in the development process.

But, I think some sort of significant performance reset is exactly what Microsoft needs to regain competitiveness. All hope is not lost, but too many applications are getting slow and piggy (at least from my vantage). Too much negative user feedback and press is voicing this issue.

Back to Vista SP1. Microsoft is publicly saying that Vista SP1 will bring performance increases to the table. SP1 users/reviewers are saying otherwise. What bugs me about Vista’s SP1 performance “improvements” (other than people don’t see them), is I think Microsoft is doing performance improvements in a top down fashion. Such as: what areas of Vista need the most improvement. This is a good start, but a more holistic approach would couple this top-down strategy with a simultaneous bottom-up Performance Reset. Where developers actually put their work on hold, and review code to make the 6 million ton behemoth (Vista) faster.

Mary Jo Foley has dug a little deeper and uncovered the inside scoop on Vista SP1 and performance improvements: Microsoft hones its internal sales pitch for Vista Service Pack 1

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2 Responses to Performance Reset

  1. […] Windows Vista could have used noticeable improvement before shipping. As I’ve voiced earlier, I agree with Bill. I think it’s good when the people in charge are actually aware of what they are […]

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