Information is beginning to trickle out about Windows 7. Steven Sinofsky (who my colleague Mary Jo Foley calls Microsoft’s Chief Secrecy Officer) sat down for an interview with Ina Fried that was published today at CNET News.com. I’m glad to get validation about my opinion that the much-heralded MinWin project is not a complete kernel rewrite and that the Vista/Server 2008 platform is at the core of Windows 7:
The real areas I’ve heard a lot about are this idea of a new kernel, a minimum Windows kernel that came up in a speech, and then some stuff around new user interfaces. Can you tell us a little bit more about where those things fit in with how you guys are thinking about Windows 7?
We’re very clear that drivers and software that work on Windows Vista are going to work really well on Windows 7; in fact, they’ll work the same. We’re going to not introduce additional compatibilities, particularly in the driver model. Windows Vista was about improving those things. We are going to build on the success and the strength of the Windows Server 2008 kernel, and that has all of this work that you’ve been talking about. The key there is that the kernel in Windows Server 08 is an evolution of the kernel in Windows Vista, and then Windows 7 will be a further evolution of that kernel as well.
A companion piece is up on Microsoft’s official Windows Team blog, the first substantive post by Chris Flores, who took over that space from Nick White recently. As I noted at ZDNet last week (How much do you need to know about Windows 7 today?), Microsoft has chosen to be much less chatty about its Windows plans, and Chris emphasizes that that is a deliberate strategy:
What is a little different today is when and how we are talking about the next version of Windows. So, why the change in approach? We know that when we talk about our plans for the next release of Windows, people take action. As a result, we can significantly impact our partners and our customers if we broadly share information that later changes. With Windows 7, we’re trying to more carefully plan how we share information with our customers and partners. This means sharing the right level of information at the right time depending on the needs of the audience. For instance, several months ago we began privately sharing our preliminary plans for Windows 7 with software and hardware partners who build on the Windows platform. This gave them an opportunity to give us feedback and gave us the opportunity to incorporate their input into our plans. As the product becomes more complete, we will have the opportunity to share our plans more broadly.
And if you want to actually hear what Mary Jo and I have to say about Windows 7, watch this short video hosted by ZDNet editor-in-chief Larry Dignan:
Mary Jo Foley: Windows 7: The information lockdown continues
Mary Jo Foley: What we do know about Windows 7?