You can at least offline service a lot of them into your images, I could also automate the build a fresh image with patches etc and recapture process with sccm 2007.
I also wonder if they will do smaller service releases like Windows 8.
When you need 40+ hotfixes just to get the basics working properly (kernel (BSODs and cache management), NDIS, tcpip, dchp client, smb (client and server), ntfs, csc, wmi, userprofiles, folder redirection, printing, usb (BSODs), shell32.dll), you know that another SP is required. We've got a large amount of services and componants running on the LDR branch - which is crazy for a production environment, with new fixes still being released on a regular basis... most of our deployed fixes are not available through Windows Update....
Have people forgotten how much random stuff that doesn't quite work right (but never gets to the top of your things to look at) gets fixes in service packs? If this rumour turns out to be true, Microsoft will have in my view, lost the plot......
Windows 7 SP1 + all Windows Updates is not a relaible platform in 'corporate' environment.
Windows 7 SP1 + a lot of GDR/LDR updates, + all Windows Updates is, almost.
SP2 would provide end users/developers/systems support teams with a 'known good' configuration standardised across the world. Hotfixes as you need them ensure that every site is different. How on earth can this be a good thing.
The rule used to be 'never deploy before Service Pack 2'..... somehow that got morphed into 'never delpoy before SP1'. I'm afraid to say that original rule still holds.
Meh, the last XP install I did had something like 105 updates, it wasn't a big deal. After the image was taken it was forgotten about. An SP is needed (would be nice though). You just need to think again about Patch Management. Do you use a WSUS server and continually role out updates so you don't get to the 100 at once stage? Do you look at how you keep OS images so you only need to update the patches from the last image?
Personally, I'm happy building fresh images once a year and putting all the patches on it then, regardless of how long it takes. We have a fast(ish) broadband connections and I can walk away and do other things while it is going on.
The point that most people seem to miss is that Windows 7 SP1 has serious data loss, data corruption, and performance issues in pretty common configuration corportate/enterprise scenarios, requiring the deployment of a selection of non-WU hotfixes. Depending on your configuration depends on which you NEED. This leads to a situation that different organisations are running significantly different versions of components, with significantly different performance characteristics.
This is hard for developers, hard for support, and leads to confusion and problems. For example a lot of the the problems of 'a nameless value-added provider in education' were/(are?) due to bugs in RTM/SP1 components. Much of what they say 'isn't possible' or doesn't work reliably can be resolved with the LDR releases - but they would disavow you if they were installed, and furthermore in some cases they have had to re-write/abandon features because the fixes have not made it into WU or a SP. If MS released SP2 (and then maybe even SP3) it would provide a new (better working) development target - which the VAP could use as their baseline requirement, finally delivering on their promises.
The ongoing lack of SP2 is BAD FOR EVERYBODY who interacts with 'corporate' IT.