I'm not a winter person. Things which one would normally take in one's stride become the end-of-everything at this time of year. There is nothing for it but to remind myself that the solstice is coming and read my Tennyson* to think on how things turn around with the obituary being written for one year and the birth notice drafted for another.
I've had to get through a couple of "time to quit blogging" episodes, most recently when someone important in Redmond told me off by mail for my earlier "Virtualization futures" post. He said
You should not be communicating product roadmap and futures... this post has created significant harm for us with press, analysts, partners and customers.
Ouch. My poor, sore ego did take some comfort from fact that Uncle Tom Cobley and all seem to read my postings. But significant harm ? I thought of the Microsoft legend of the country product manager for windows who blurted out a date for the release of Windows 95 (some versions of the legend have 3.1, some have Windows 98). He then answered his phone to the Chief Financial Officer calling from Redmond to explain the exact impact this had on everything from stock price to cash flow.
I went through that post line by line and could find places where just about all of it was public (for example we've published end-of-life dates for Virtual Server 2005, and Virtual Server 2005 R2). Jeff Woolsey, who often posts to the Virtualization team blog, keeps us informed internally either with "Microsoft confidential" in large friendly letters or "You may provide this information to customers." at the start of any news. That covered a load more. But not everything.
I do get asked about future versions of Virtual PC ... a typical question being "Will there be a desktop OS with a Hypervisor" (a sort of "Hyper-vista"). I don't know. Those people who do know aren't ready to say. One thing I do try to do on this blog is distinguish between "I don't know" and "I can't say", and I'll only get into either if I'm being asked, or in my audiences position I'd be jumping up and down wanting to know. So what possessed me to round up rumours I'd heard about System Center Virtual Machine Manager ? It is public knowledge that the next version is to support Hyper-V. It doesn't need Sherlock Holmes to work out that the SCVMM don't want a big gap between Hyper-V's release and their own.. after that well it's guess work really.
I didn't know until recently, that Rakesh Malhotra, a principal program manager for SCVMM and has a blog. The post SCVMM and the Hyper-V Beta, is well worth a read, it explains the situation with SCVMM releases far better than I could hope to. There's some other very good content on that blog so it's the first new one I've subscribed to in a while.
* Footnote. "Ring out Wild bells" is from In Memoriam, it's poem 105 of about 130, all to the same meter. At the Race of Champions over the weekend, during the tributes to Colin McRae the line "Ring out the grief that saps the mind, for those that here we see no more" wouldn't leave me.