Re-thinking the Windows development cycle

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Re-thinking the Windows development cycle

Posted on June 19th, 2020 at 06:55

Ed Bott has a(nother) great piece out on ZDNet: Microsoft, stop
feeding bugs to a billion Windows 10 users. Here’s
[1]. He wraps a
cogent argument around what we’ve all been bellyachin’ about
for… six?… years now.

I’d like to go one tiny step further, and suggest that
Microsoft revamp the outward face of its development cycle.
It’s simple, really. Here are the buckets we should have to get
Windows from the dream stage to hard, cold reality:

Canary (or Developer)
Channel – the primordial stew, not necessarily
associated with a specific version

Beta Channel – for testing a new version
before it’s released, just as you would expect

Preview Channel – combines the new “Release
Preview Channel,” the current “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)”
half-baked status, and the new “Preview Cumulative Update”

Stable Channel – when the product’s ready.

I don’t see much distinction between “Release Preview Channel,”
“Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” and “Preview Cumulative
Update” levels. There’s a lot of tongue-wagging going on, but
in the real world it’s a simple choice – do you want the new
stuff early, or are you willing to wait until it actually, you
know, works?

A lot of people inside Microsoft spend a lot of time (and a lot
of money!) splitting hairs on all of the distinctions. What
Microsoft’s customers care about is much more straightforward.