Microsoft has left the door open, if only a crack, to a change in how it gets SP1 to users.
Early Monday morning, Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management, announced that Vista SP1 had reached RTM, or release to manufacturing, but he then added that the update would not be available to users via Windows Update, Microsoft's online Download Center, MSDN or TechNet until mid-March. Nash said the delay was due to an unspecified - and unnamed - number of device drivers that could stymie the update or give users problems.
Nash said that Microsoft will take the intervening weeks to identify as many of those drivers as possible prior to blocking SP1 updates from reaching PCs with any of those drivers installed.
Within minutes of Nash posting to the Vista team's blog, users began labeling the move as "stupid," "unbelievable" and "one of the all-time worst moves."
"[This] must be the stupidest announcement I have ever read," said a user identified as "Fredik70." "[Five] years to get Windows Vista ready, almost 1 1/4 years to get Service Pack 1 ready ... your pace at getting out new products must be the slowest in the industry. And now you are artificially making it even slower by just waiting, doing nothing, for six weeks. Unbelievable."
"Did you even run this past one person outside of Microsoft for input?" asked a user dubbed "ntpro." "This is going to be wildly rejected by your user community and most loyal supporters."
A few who left comments correctly predicted the future. "What do you think's gonna happen today/tomorrow?" asked a user tagged as "bn420" on Monday morning. "It will be on BitTorrent and other sites leaked." That's exactly what happened. Later Monday, Vista SP1 RTM, as well as Windows Server 2008's final code, started showing up in searches at BitTorrent tracker sites such as The Pirate Bay.
Others were incredulous that Microsoft was making them - the technically astute - wait while SP1's rollout was prepared for the masses. Many claimed that they knew what they were doing and that if they encountered a baulky device driver, they'd be able to handle it. Release Vista SP1 to Microsoft's download site, they said.