Rumor smash: Windows 7 will keep 6.1 versioning

If you stare at this long enough, you'll see absolutely nothing. Yesterday, Neowin writer Michael Stanclift made some noise about possible versioning changes in Windows 7 after stumbling across an example INF on MSDN (actually sourced from the Windows 7 Beta WDK). Come on, seriously? No, there’s not going to be a last minute change. To even remotely suggest such is ridiculous.

Some points:

  1. The page in question is clearly marked as being preliminary, i.e. don’t be surprised if it’s wrong.
  2. No other pages in the WDK state this incongruity. In fact there are plenty of tables and notes supporting the fact that Windows 7 will remain 6.1. Surprise!
  3. Microsoft has already made the decision to ship Windows 7 code labeled as 6.1. There should be no shock here -- it’s the same action Microsoft took for Windows XP (5.1 vice 6).
  4. If Microsoft upped the number to 7.0, your precious Mavis Beacon applications may malfunction, inducing panic.

To serve as a sanity check, I pinged Microsoft for some sort of response. Here’s what I got back:

We learned a lot about using 5.1 for XP and how that helped developers with version checking for API compatibility.  We also had the lesson reinforced when we applied the version number in the Windows Vista code as Windows 6.0-- that changing basic version numbers can cause application compatibility issues. 

So we decided to ship the Windows 7 code as Windows 6.1 […].

Windows 7 is a significant and evolutionary advancement of the client operating system. It is in every way a major effort in design, engineering and innovation. The only thing to read into the code versioning is that we are absolutely committed to making sure application compatibility is optimized for our customers.