The point at which a brand-new version of Exchange attains the necessary level of quality to allow the development group to sign the code off as being suitable for “Release to Engineering” (RTM) is a cause for celebration in Redmond. And so it was on October 11 when the Exchange team concluded, based on internal measurements (bug counts, etc.) and lots of feedback from its customer Technology Adoption Program (TAP), that Exchange 2013 was ready to go. Along with its counterparts from the rest of the Office 15 Wave (SharePoint, Lync, and the rest of the Office applications), Exchange 2013 has been dispatched to manufacturing where the bits of build 15.00.0516.032 (for those who track version numbers) will be lovingly polished before being made available to customers at the “General Availability” (GA) date some few weeks away.
Of course, “manufacturing” has a very different meaning in a world where software is largely distributed via downloads rather than the physical media that we used to have to deal with. I had a reminder of this recently when I found a 6-diskette kit for Word 6.0. The joys that frequent insertion of magnetic media bring to IT administrators are long gone.
But alongside the general level of happiness and contentment that surrounds the release of Exchange 2013, is it just a symptom of my level of grumpiness that I am bothered by Microsoft’s constant references to Exchange 2013 as the “new Exchange”? As in the EHLO post “Introducing Data Leak Protection in the New Exchange” or the many references scattered around with little care during various talks at MEC.
It might well be that Exchange 2013 is the bright, wonderful, improved, sparkling, overhauled, and generally refurbished version of Microsoft’s enterprise email server, but is that any reason to keep on hyping it as “new”? I think not.
After all, if we accept that we must use “new” each time we wish to talk about Exchange 2013, then it surely follows that we must now adjust the names given to previous versions. Accepting the inevitable, here’s my list of suggested nomenclature for your consideration.
|Exchange 5.5||The not even worth mentioning Exchange|
|Exchange 2000||The positively archaic Exchange|
|Exchange 2003||The decrepit and antique Exchange|
|Exchange 2007||The showing its age but still acceptable Exchange|
|Exchange 2010||The quite recent and still pretty good Exchange|
I’m not the only one to notice. Paul Thurrott wrote a piece called “The death of version numbers” on September 25 and concluded that this is probably linked to Microsoft’s desire to sell tons of user subscriptions to cloud-based versions of its products, all of which run on “the service”, aka Office 365 or maybe soon “the new Office cloud platform”.
Clearly it’s in Microsoft’s interest to tie people into monthly subscription payments and I assume that increasing emphasis will go on the purported advantage of early access to new features that you gain by using “the service”. Of course, you gain no advantage whatsoever if the new features are meaningless to you, but that’s not the point. You get bragging rights as a potential user of the new features and isn’t that important? Or perhaps not.
Thinking up some appropriate names for legacy versions of Exchange gave me some enjoyment. Perhaps you can do better? In the meantime, we shall now settle down and await for Exchange 2013 to reach the next stage in its development and become “generally available”.
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