BrentBlog reminds me of the constant effect that we redmondites are always dealing with. Windows XP was a sureal experience, all the new features and experiences were well grooved familliar friends when it finally came out.
Since then, the feature work seems to have gotten “completed” further and further from when it finally ships. All the feature work we did for Windows XP sp2 was done for almost a 3/4 of a year before it was released, and the Windows Server 2003 sp1 work was done even earlier then that. Even now as Longhorn Beta 1 marches to completion, my team has finished all of our big features months ago, and Longhorn still has a way to go before shipping. Some of this is a measure of Window’s not quite speedy code velocity, and some of it is that my team works on infrasturcture peieces which gets done much earlier then a lot higher level/user facing OS components, but most of the time is integration and stabalization.
I also agree about how fustrating it can be to have fixed so many customer pains that we hear about, but only in a product that you haven’t shipped yet. Working on IIS6 was the most extreme version of that feeling I’ve experienced. It’s a feeling I’ve seen mirrored by MVPs when they tells us about a product problem and we tell them that we have fixed it in the next version.
However, even with the pain it can be to dogfood pre beta software, working here is an experience of living a couple years in the future.