There will be two general categories of Windows Vista editions, which map closely to the two that exist today for XP...
In Windows Vista, the two categories are Home and Business. In the Home category, Microsoft will create four product editions: Windows Vista Starter Edition, Windows Vista Home Basic Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition, and Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.
In the Business category, there will be three editions: Windows Vista Small Business Edition, Windows Vista Professional Edition, and Windows Vista Enterprise Edition. In all, there are 7 product editions planned for Windows Vista...
Look on the bright side. Windows XP Home was crippled, and Windows XP Pro crippling expensive. Maybe one of these editions will be somewhere in between.
This might be the start of a nightmare for my organisation's testing team, though. Windows XP Home and Pro had a number of very significant differences; I wonder how much these new editions will vary at the API level?
I like the way they've broken these versions down. Let's face it, different users will only use certain features of the OS. The ability to offer limited versions of the OS to the general public may keep a lot of the zombie makers at bay for a bit.
MS can more competitively price their OS now with these different feature sets. Hopefully they won't price themselves out of the reach of the average users. If done correctly the Ultimate version could be a big draw.
Some of the proposed features like the Cornerstone full volume encryption security would be a nice addition if they can pull it off.
I agree that its probably a good idea to offer many versions of the new windows; however this may prove a slight problem for me/others that hold the job as IT system administrator - this may now mean I have to get to grips with each version, learn the differences, test which version works best throughout the office and generally spend alot of time (which I haven't got) getting to grips with all of them..
According to the article they are referring to supersets. You've still got a Home and Business track it seems with supersets of those building upon one another. Technically if you could work with the Ultimate Edition wouldn't you be able to easily handle any of the subset derivatives? (I'm just playing devil's advocate here...I know that in real life things probably won't work that smoothly.)
Technically yes, real world - no; All external sales agents\clueless PC users expect on phone walkthroughs of certain tasks they need to carry out - at the minute I usually walk them through most things while doing it myself to know exactly what the user is seeing. If the differences are large between each version (UI slightly different\control panel\limited operations) it could prove difficult over the phone - also if different versions say don't support remote desktop etc setting this up in the first place could take 20minutes with an in-experienced user. I just know when Vista gets pushed out I'll be having dream\nightmares about the big V for months to come...
According to the article Vista Enterprise Edition and Vista Ultimate Edition will include single-session Virtual PC (for backward-compatibility with legacy applications). That indicates that Vista won't run some things natively. I haven't seen a compatibility chart yet.