The windows 7 engineering team have started a blog, which talks about future disclosure by that team without actually saying a great deal...but it's a start! They also foreshadow some announcements at the PDC and WinHEC in late October.Up until now the team has played their cards pretty close to their chest (and who can blame them after the Vista marketing debarcle....I'm looking at _YOU_ Robert Scoble!), so this is a welcome change. The first post of any real substance describes the makeup of the Windows 7 team, and it's interesting to see what are considered “core” features and how they're grouped. I have high hopes for Windows 7 - I use and like Vista, and consider most of the adoption problems it has to be perception issues rather than technical issues (as the recent Mojave experiement re-affirms). Vista has a number of UI warts, and is facing strong competition in the consumer arena from OSX [disclosure: I bought a Mac mini last friday- I like it, but wasn't blown away by how much better the usability/look and feel is].
Microsoft seems to do well in the face of strong competition - remember when people derided the reliability of windows (pre Win2K)? Then Win2K professional and Server came out and knocked the ball out of the park WRT reliability. Remember when windows was laughed at for being so insecure? Server 2003 and IIS6 have a great security track-record, with Server 2008 continuing to follow that trend. Security-wise things aren't quite so peachy on the client, due partly to the culture of runnig as admin (which Microsoft tried to curb in Vista), and to the inherent problems surrounding providing secure computers to end users who would gladly trade a reliable system for the chance to see dancing bunnies, but still Windows has made great improvments in the security arena. This leaves usability. Will Vista be the last version in its lineage to be so brutally cudgelled with the “ugly” stick? That's probably too much to hope for, but I'm still anticipating (hoping for?) a much cleaner, more useful and well-polished operating system in Windows 7. Go team.