Windows XP SP2

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Been getting a lot of queries the past few days on XP SP2 and its impact, etc. My basic impression on the release is simple: it’s necessary, but apt to be unpleasant at times. In that respect it’s sort of like giving cough medicine to a child; they may fight it, but in the end it’s probably good for them.

Initial feedback from the /. crowd seems to be pretty good – no real show stoppers yet, but that’s no guarantee that Mom’s and Pops won’t have issues. /. of course is not your typical audience, and I’m curious to see what the longer term impact is to XP usage, and on home networking in particular. But thus far, kudos to the XP team for not breaking massive volumes of applications; given the scope of what they had to do, that must have been hard.

I’ll also be very interested to see what the XP SP2 traction is within enterprises. IBM has reportedly told its users to hold off on installing the patch pending further compatability tests, although in my view too much is being made out of this. Few if any organizations of their size would roll out an extensive update like this without the benefit of extensive internal testing.

Given the more extensive client server application base in the enterprise, XP SP2 will undoubtedly break some applications, as it already has Microsoft’s own CRM application. For consumers, who in many cases lack even a basic firewall despite the presence of a broadband connection, XP SP2 that’s probably a necessary evil. For enterprises, however, it’s likely to be a more difficult question. I’d expect most enterprises to hold off at least for a period of weeks, if not months, to assess the applications overall compatability before they start rolling out new images. That’s what we’ll be doing here.

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