Explaining the Big in SP2

Explaining the Big in SP2

Microsoft's Channel 9 has posted a video and transcript (useful for folks trying to access using non-Windows machines) of a session (here) with Windows XP product manager Rebecca Norlander. She explains why Windows XP Service Pack 2 is so large–264MB for the latest build available to external beta testers.

“We recompiled a bunch of the core system binaries,” she explains. “If you recompile, though, then you’ve changed those bits, and those bits need to make it into the service pack. That’s one of the reasons that it grew beyond what most service packs were.”

I put the size as more than double Service Pack 1. In a February blog, I suggested that that the changes introduced in SP2 are so significant, Microsoft should treat this as a new XP version. My concern remains one of communicating to developers, business customers and consumers the sweeping extent of changes SP2 will make to Windows XP. Ms. Norlander's comments about recompiling core binaries make the point. To achieve the security improvements planned for Windows XP, Microsoft had to make sweeping changes throughout the operating system's core structure.

I see the remodeled home as the right analogy for Windows XP SP2. My question: Is there a point where remodeling a house is so massive it should be called a new home? For those that say yes, then this is a new version. For those that say no, then it's not. Either way, the changes are the same.

In this case, people need to be aware of the remodeling they don't see or immediately notice. The changes behind the walls in the wiring and plumbing. The new locks on doors where there were none before. The alarm system that needs to be turned on when leaving and set to idle on return. How central heating and air conditioning works differently than steam heat and fans. SP2 users will have to modify their behavior, which may seem frustrating at first but will be better over time. It only takes one hot day to appreciate central air conditioning over a fan.  [Microsoft Monitor]

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