Ian McDonald recently posted a retrospective in honor of the 20th anniversary of the release of Windows XP. Because Windows XP didn’t age well in the era of exploding Internet security threats we have a tendency to demean it. But if you are looking at it in 2001 is was a sea-change release that strongly met customer needs. It would take over 8 years until a worthy successor emerged in the form of Windows 7. It would still take years for Windows XP to fade from general use, and it is still used in some embedded systems. BTW, Ian was still one of the leaders of Windows, though on the separate Windows Server team that released Windows Server 2008 based on the same Core as Windows 7. He was still plugging away at Windows Server when I left Microsoft in 2010.
Since I didn’t start blogging until after leaving Microsoft I never got to write all the good things about Windows XP. My first real blog about Windows XP was decidedly negative. It was a decade after release and XP had become the whipping boy for bad Internet security. I’m not going to try to go back and give Windows XP the glowing review that it deserved at the beginning of the century. But let’s all acknowledge that Windows XP, more than any other software, signaled the transition to 21st Century client software.
To all my friends who were on the NT5/NT5.1 team, congratulations on the 20th anniversary.