I had a bunch of people internally ask me why Windows Server shows it's version as Windows Server 2008 SP1 (for brevity - WS08).  I will explain it, but I wanted to use the Writer feature that allows me to insert pictures.  Who says anything beyond notepad is a waste of time.  Actually, that's me usually...

about screen

The history here goes back to problems we had form the split we had when we broke Windows XP from Windows Server 2003 (WS03) way back in 2000. 

At the time we had Windows 2000 (Win2k) out in the market & it was being very well received. Especially on the client side which was doing well with corporate desktops.  At the same time in the consumer side, we had Windows ME.  I never worked on WinME, I have never installed it, & I know nothing about it except what people have told me.  <I removed what i really think. If you meet me, feel free to ask>. 

Mid 2000, we had a combined release on the rails but the pressure to do a client release for consumer got high.  So we forked WinXP from what was to become WS03.  On one side, I think we did exactly the right thing.  We met the dates required from OEMs for WinXP & closed down the server release in exactly the right way.  I believe the longevity of WS03 in market was because we did a load of right things in the end game.  I sill think what we knew when we released WinXP in august 2001 it was a great product.  It's just that the world changed 2 weeks later...

One aside here - in WS03 we created the Security Development Lifecycle & ran the first one in early 2002.  For WinXP we did it for SP2.  I've always believe WinXP sp2 was equivalent to a full release of Windows.  I really had nothing to do with SP2 - Todd Wanke who had worked for me on WS03 ran it & his main dude on SP2, Mark Harris, came to work for me after that on WS03 R2. None of this security stuff was fun when we first did it.  I have always believed it was a 10 year job & 6 years on, i still think so.  It is a cultural change that had to go very deep.

Anyway, back to the story. This meant that WinXP & WS03 were totally divergent codebases.  They had to have separate patches, GDRs, Service packs blah blah blah.  The matrix of releases became a nightmare. 

After WS03, I took my sabbatical & moved to Server.  We looked at what was happening, realized we had some stuff that we wanted earlier than Longhorn was going to be released & decided to do WS03 R2.  That was a different type of release because we had a rule that if you were changing something in the core (ie in what had already shipped), it had to come in via a service pack - you can't go changing stuff willy nilly.  So changes fro WS03 that required core changes were made in advance in WS03 SP1.

At the same time other people wanted to get the client out earlier than server.  ...again.  So the folks doing Vista closed the client release down.  My guys ran server as a project kinda on the side until Vista released. After that, Alex Hinrichs along with the servicing folks drove the WS08 release out.

This means the that the Service Packs are shared, that patches get released at the same time, etc etc. I believe it is incredibly simplified for customers. The other thing is the servicing stack is now smart enough to not download stuff you don't need. This means if you have a Vista system & the service pack has fixes to Active directory, the Vista system does not get the directory update downloaded to them. Vice versa - if there was ever the need for a fix to media player (shock horror, who ever heard of the need to fix security issues there), you don't get it on server unless you install the Desktop Experience pack. 

So, it's called SP1 - in retrospect i should just say its called that so you don't have to wait for SP1 for it to be right like people have before.  The first Service Pack for WS08 will be called SP2. 

Finally, I am looking forward to the launch in LA on Feb 27.  It'll be awesome. http://www.heroeshappenhere.com