Sources close to Microsoft’s sustained engineering team, which builds and releases service packs, have told The Register there are no plans for a second Windows 7 SP – breaking precedent on the normal cycle of updating Windows.
For those who have not administered tons of PCs running M$’s OS, there’s this thing called a “service pack” which is a collection of updates since Day One of each release. The idea is that instead of making hundreds of updates, one can just update the whole thing from a single file and be nearly current, saving a lot of time and complexity when installing the OS. For example, where I last worked everyone was on FAT with XP SP1. Figuring folks might be better off updated, I took an image of the hard drive of the best-performing SP1 machine and spent many hours updating it and bringing it current. Then I stored a new image and installed that on every PC in the classrooms, saving weeks of work. The idea being that if a new batch of PCs come in I could work from the image of the latest update instead of some ancient snapshot. When we got PCs in they were often a year or more behind in updates. It’s just a waste of time to have every update done since some ancient point in time.
The situation with GNU/Linux is quite different. The package manager takes care of this automatically and you are no further out of synch than the last update. The package manager not only keeps track of dependencies, it puts updating a system as no more difficult than if it were current.
Anyway, if M$ won’t make any more service packs for “7″, the whole business world will be annoyed. Moving from XP to “7″ will get more expensive in manpower every month. Does anyone think it’s a great idea to have the folks paid by the upgrade in charge of upgrading your system? I suggest they move to Debian GNU/Linux to eliminate this annoyance. Along the way, they can have the convenience of updating apps and OS together, local caching of apps and OS, simple remote management reducing the need to re-image and free upgrades/updates. It’s the right way to do IT.