Ambitious goals or did they bite off too big a challenge when it comes to Windows Vista?
Microsoft is desperate to get the next Windows Operating System out into the hands of consumers by Christmas of 2006 - a year later than their original target.
Now even after Microsoft axed the vast majority of the major new features, the beta dates are slipping further and further away...
As betas go, Beta 1 is usually 67-75% feature complete. Beta 2 is usually 90% complete and from then on until the date a software release is called complete, final, RTM, gold, or one many other such adjectives, it is only usually polishing and bug fixing between those two milestones. Not so with Windows Vista...
Beta 1 was released almost 5 years into its development cycle (by which time most other releases have already hit store shelves) and was called, almost miserably, only 33% feature complete.
For those brave or foolish enough to install it, many a hard drive was corrupted - yet in Beta 1 there were glimpses of just what Microsoft is preparing to release to the world next Christmas.
If you have a high definition screen, prepare to enjoy the eye candy! If you don't, you can add one to next year's Christmas gift list - it's very much worth it. Graphics have been significantly enhanced, but for the most part, not a lot more is visible to the vast majority of those who will use it.
What is Vista then compared to Windows XP ?
A pretty evolution. Not the promised revolution, but a prettier, slightly easier to navigate, ummm, copy of what has been on sale for the last 5 years.
Given the modest progress over the last 5 years, there is still a buzz on the technology scene surrounding any new announcements or revelations of new Windows Vista builds.
And to this end we now turn our attention. Beta 2 was to be released in the Nov-Dec '05 timeframe but alas, this has slipped significantly to at least March '06.
Microsoft sources confirm that indeed the target launch date slipped almost 6 months but were tight-lipped when WinBeta.Org questioned them on a new target date. All we were told [on the record] was that it would be a few months later than previously planned.
Sources at Microsoft also confirmed that the November CTP (Community Technology Preview build) tagged as build # 5259 should be available to TAP and beta testers [only] (sorry MSDN subscribers, no Nov CTP download is planned at this time) this coming Friday, Nov 18th. Having said that, it appears likely sources confirm that the release may now slip until Monday or Tuesday of next week. This is not certain as yet and no final decision has been made at this time.
There are currently no plans to release any more interim builds after the November CTP until beta 2 although Microsoft said that that is open to change if they feel there are builds beta testers should receive.
With the beta testing program for Windows 2003 Server R2 coming to a close today (Thursday) it may provide Windows Vista with more in-depth testing from the very admins who are going to have to support and manage the product once it starts appearing in corporations and offices in early 2007.
We look forward to following the parallel progression of Windows Vista and also Microsoft Office 12 which yesterday hit Beta 1 - to the delight of testers everywhere.