OK, most techie geeks are equally Trekkie geeks (although you might also be a Star Wars fan too, which is equally acceptable but not applicable here). Ask any Trekkie which is better -- the first Star Trek movie with V'Ger or the second one, "Wrath of Khan" -- and even a novice can tell you that the second movie far outdid its predecessor. Although sequels are traditionally disappointing, this was not the case with "Khan" -- nor with Windows 7, the sequel to Vista.
First off, why am I calling it a sequel to Vista? Well, if you load it up (as I've done several times, thanks to the recent beta release), your first impression will be, "Hmm. Looks like Vista." (Or if you are a Vista hater, your first impression will be, "Urrggghhh! It looks like Vista!") That's because deep down it is -- Vista done right, that is!
According to Microsoft corporate vice president Mike Nash, Microsoft developers have built from what they've learned from Vista. "Our approach in Windows 7 is defined by that," he said.
[ Check out the first impressions of Microsoft's Windows 7 beta in InfoWorld's special report ]
After playing around with Windows 7 for about a week, I can see where the effort has been spent: not necessarily on major technical adjustments (so you application and driver developers can rest easy that your stuff, if it worked on Vista, will work on Windows 7) but mostly in making Windows 7 better, more usable, and more stable performer, one less plagued with problems. In truth, we could see that stability with Vista SP1 -- but Windows 7 builds on it, pushing forward enhancements on the business level to work better with Server 2008 R2.
And why would we expect an OS release to be anything other than better than its predecessor? Sure, we can point to the Windows ME debacle and say otherwise (although that OS brought with it some nifty enhancements for which it rarely gets credit). Vista, although a resource hog to match XP performance levels, was certainly a more refined OS than its predecessor. And now Windows 7 brings with it some visually appealing nuances as well as some minor revisions under the hood (in other words, the same architecture as Vista with minor kernel enhancements).