Today is Windows 7 day. How exciting! I began wondering why Windows 7 was called Windows 7 and started trying to count versions to figure out the numbering scheme.
Let’s see. If we consider consumer-oriented versions of Windows, then 95 could be version 4, 98 would be 5, ME would be 6, XP would be 7, Vista 8, and Windows 7 would be 9. Hm, that can’t be right. Maybe we should restrict our numbering to the versions using the NT kernel. Then Windows 2000 could be 5, XP could be 6, Server 2003 could be 7 — or maybe we should skip that and make Vista 7, so that Windows 7 could be 8.
I’ll say up front, that there are many ways to count the releases of Windows and it’s been both a trip down memory lane and quite amusing to read all the different theories about how we got to the number “7.”
Anyway, the numbering we used is quite simple.
Oh, excellent! Do explain.
The very first release of Windows was Windows 1.0, the second was Windows 2.0, the third Windows 3.0.
I’m with you so far.
Here’s where things get a little more complicated. Following Windows 3.0 was Windows NT which was code versioned as Windows 3.1. Then came Windows 95, which was code versioned as Windows 4.0.
But I thought Windows 3.1 was Windows 3.1, and Windows NT was a completely different beast! At least Windows 95 as Windows 4.0 makes a kind of sense. I bet Microsoft then counted Windows 98 as Windows 5.0 —
Then, Windows 98, 98 SE and Windows Millennium each shipped as 4.0.1998, 4.10.2222, and 4.90.3000, respectively. So we’re counting all 9x versions as being 4.0.
What the what what what? 4.10.2222? They’re just pulling numbers out of a hat now.
Windows 2000 code was 5.0 and then we shipped Windows XP as 5.1, even though it was a major release we didn’t’ want to change code version numbers to maximize application compatibility.
So Windows XP was a major change, but they gave it the version number 5.1. This is adding support to my Numbers From a Hat theory.
That brings us to Windows Vista, which is 6.0. So we see Windows 7 as our next logical significant release and 7th in the family of Windows releases.
Oh, man. This is the quite simple numbering scheme? Where you have a major release that you number as 5.1 instead of 6 just because? Though given this rule, I’m sure Microsoft will number their Windows versions consistently going forward.
So we decided to ship the Windows 7 code as Windows 6.1 – which is what you will see in the actual version of the product in cmd.exe or computer properties.
In three years I can’t wait for them to release the new version, which will also be called Windows 7.