The news about Vista, the next release of Windows, has been filling pages of the general computing press. Betas released. Features pulled, features put back in. Outrageous hardware demands for frivolous features, such as 256MB graphics boards to display vector-based icons. Release dates delayed. And then delayed some more.
The most recent news: seven versions of Visa, apparently, from a basic one through to the gamer's edition (to be marketed to teenage boys whose testosterone makes them desperate to boast they have the hottest system, funded by their parent's allowance). No prices yet, but presumably the cheapest will be as "cheap" as XP Home, which features monopoly pricing.
Seven editions from a company that condems Unix-based Linux for having variations. Apple's Unix-based OS X has two editions: desktop and server.
Are these the actions of a bureaucratic corporation mired in obsession over its primary source of profit -- forced bundling schemes? Or the brilliant machinations of its contracted marketing firms, who are "creating news" along the lines of the pop culture weeklys: another actor divorced, another actress gone fat, another feature pulled from Vista.
Marketing people are fond of convicing themselves that any news (even bad) is good news. There is a difference: the lives of re-divorcing actors is entertainment, at all levels. The confusion over Vista affects people's livelihoods, over which brows will furrow and decisions be made. Perhaps Windows 2000, with its 1999 copyright date, will continue to be the dominant operating system ten years after.