First Vista service pack coming

The folks in Redmond, Wash., are still mum, but rumors are leaking out that the first beta version of the first service pack for the new Windows Vista operating system could be released as early as next week.

All Microsoft is saying on the subject is that it is sticking to its latest timetable for getting the beta Vista SP1 out sometime this year. But blogs, citing unnamed sources, say the service pack could be released in mid-July and that a final version could be out by November to coincide with the release of Windows Server 2008, codenamed Longhorn Server.

Microsoft's original plan for Vista SP1 was to release it at the same time as the new server operating system, which makes sense because the client and server OS are based on the same code and a service pack for the desktop software would roll prerelease changes in the server software into the client as well.

But Microsoft is not being specific about a release date for Server 2008 either, saying only that it should be sometime this year.

Service packs ' updates of already-released software ' are a fact of life for operating systems, and work on SP1 began even before Vista's release to manufacturers in January. This is not necessarily an indication of major problems in the OS. The first service pack for Windows 2000 was issued just six months after the program's release; SP1 for XP came out after 11 months.

Microsoft is being no more forthcoming about the contents of SP1 than it is about the release date. It will, of course, include all of the hot fixes and patches issued since Vista's release, but the company says that a service pack is more than a compilation of fixes. One change that has been widely reported is modification of its desktop search function at the request (or demand) of Google to avoid new antitrust allegations.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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