Beyond Windows 7: Geneva, Hawaii and Dublin

Windows veep Steven Sinofsky isn’t one for fancy codenames. During his reign as head of Microsoft’s Office team Sinofsky willingly adhered to the convention that each edition of the suite would be known only by its version number until an official marketing moniker was chosen – for example Office 12 became Office 2007.

One of Sonofsky’s earliest decisions when he was elevated to the role of Senior Vice President for Windows in Microsoft’s post-Vista cleanup was to axe ‘Vienna’ the cypher which was to represent the next version of Windows.

Vienna was to be followed by other OS codenames based on what Microsoft initially described as “cities and locations around the world known for great ‘vistas’ – the kinds of places we all want to see and experience and that capture the imagination. Vienna fits with this concept.”

As Vista was based on the Windows NT 6.0 kernel Vista’s successor would be tagged as Windows 7 – that name stuck of course and there’s no good reason to assume that the subsequent OS won’t be both developed and launched as Windows 8.

Meanwhile across the campus Sinofsky’s old Office team are set to transition from Office 14 (they chose not to tempt fate by skipping 13) to Office 2010 after which Office 15 will inevitably follow.

Does this mean an end to a roster of colourful Microsoft codenames which sounds more like an episode of the TV travel show Getaway? Perhaps not.

Microsoft has long used city names in the past – Windows 95 was Chicago Windows 98 was Memphis and between them sat the abandoned Nashville aka Windows 96 (Nashville was downgraded to Internet Explorer 4.0).

Microsoft looked closer to home to the nearby ski-fields of Canada for Windows XP (Whistler) and the earliest versions of Vista (Longhorn) but then hopped across the Pacific Ocean to ‘Fiji’ for a 2008 update to Vista’s Media Centre.

While Windows itself appears to have done back to the humdrum of unadorned version numbers there’s still plenty of globetrotting going on. Istanbul and Budapest were the cyphers given to the PC and Web versions of Office Communicator 2005 (following the clever use of Greenwich for the Office Live Communications Server) and a peek at Microsoft’s roadmap shows a few other stamps primed for the virtual passport.

Quebec is the working title for the ultra-compact Windows Embedded 7 a small footprint version of the Windows OS designed for embedded systems such as kiosks and lifts (maybe their oft-seen blue screens of death will be repalced with a slideshow of photos from the picturesque Canadian province?).

Geneva is an apt name for Microsoft’s open platform for user access and credentials which includes the Geneva Server and Windows CardSpace Geneva. Dublin covers extensions to Windows Server’s inbuilt application server while Hawaii is what we’ll see as Visual Studio 2010.