Embedded XP Seminar Notes

I attended the one day Microsoft seminar on Windows XP, hosted by Sean Liming. A bit of confusion at the start, according to Sean, The Big M had extra marketing money in the budget toward the end of the fiscal year, and hired him to do several of these one-day sessions. His company charged $99.00 per session, so apparently of the 22 or so people who had signed up, all but three or four of us dropped out after realizing they were supposed to actually pay something. Too bad. It isn’t often that you get to have a session with a top authority and consultant for that price. He has written several books, and also publishes software tools to help enable the process of building XPe images.

I covered Windows Embedded XP last year about this time and mostly the platform hasn’t changed. Several new points of interest emerged:

1. Windows Embedded is a teeny-tiny portion of the overall business at Microsoft. Changes and updates are infrequent, and the crudeness of the tools reflects this…they don’t put a lot of resources into Embedded.

2. Working with XPe is not particularly fast or facile. The problem does not lie with the programmer, it is just the nature of the software. (but, have you ever recompiled a Linux kernal?)

3. Vista embedded which was announced vaguely many months ago, is currently way off into the future, not least because the footprint will be larger.

4. The marketing people are making a name change, which seems really stupid. If I’ve got this right, XPe becomes Embedded Standard Edition, and Windows CE becomes Windows Mobile. Or something like that. Stupid.

5. Windows CE, is designed for hand-helds and cell phones and is really a different animal from Windows Embedded. People who have attempted to use CE when they should use Embedded, because of the lower licensing cost have been disappointed. The incentive is there, however, as the runtime for an instance of Windows Embedded is $90.00, where with CE it is $3.00.

6. XPe is really a componetized version of Windows…you can pick and choose which pieces of Windows that you really want.

7. If you include the Windows installer component, then you can perform a install of application software after generating the XPe image. This was a revelation to me….I thought you had to have everything componitized from the get-go. This knowledge was worth the price of the seminar to me, and it has caused me to take another look at attempting to generate a base OS for installing our applications.

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