Windows Vista is the name of the latest release of Microsoft
Windows, a line of graphical operating systems used on
personal computers, including home and business desktops,
notebook computers, and media centers. Prior to its
announcement on July 22, 2005, Vista was known by its
codename Longhorn. On November 8, 2006, Windows Vista
development was completed and is now in the release to
manufacturing stage. Some editions were available to volume
license customers, MSDN and TechNet subscribers through
November 2006. Microsoft has stated that the scheduled
release date for worldwide availability is January 30, 2007.
These release dates come more than five years after the
release of its predecessor, Windows XP, making it the
longest time span between major releases of Windows.
According to Microsoft, Windows Vista contains hundreds of new
features; some of the most significant include an updated
graphical user interface and visual style dubbed Windows
Aero, improved searching features, new multimedia creation
tools such as Windows DVD Maker, and completely redesigned
networking, audio, print, and display sub-systems. Vista
also aims to increase the level of communication between
machines on a home network using peer-to-peer technology,
making it easier to share files and digital media between
computers and devices. For developers, Vista introduces
version 3.0 of the .NET Framework, which aims to make it
significantly easier for developers to write high-quality
applications than with the traditional Windows API.
Microsoft's primary stated objective with Vista, however,
has been to improve the state of security in the Windows
operating system. One of the most common criticisms of
Windows XP and its predecessors has been their commonly
exploited security vulnerabilities and overall
susceptibility to malware, viruses and buffer overflows. In
light of this, then Microsoft chairman Bill Gates announced
in early 2002 a company-wide 'Trustworthy Computing
initiative' which aims to incorporate security work into
every aspect of software development at the company.
Microsoft claimed that it prioritized improving the security
of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 above finishing
Windows Vista, significantly delaying its completion.
During the course of its development, Vista has been the
target of a number of negative assessments by various
groups. Criticism of Windows Vista has included protracted
development time, more restrictive licensing terms, the
inclusion of a number of new Digital Rights Management
technologies aimed at restricting the copying of protected
digital media, and the usability of new features such as
User Account Control.