Microsoft today is celebrating the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc does the honors for Windows 7:
I am pleased to announce that Windows 7 has RTM’d!
As I mentioned previously, RTM officially happens only after sign-off occurs. What happens is a build gets designated as a RTM contender after going through significant testing and meeting our quality bar for RTM. Then, it goes though all the validation checks required for RTM including having all languages of that build completed. If all the validation checks have passed – sign-off for RTM can occur. Today after all the validation checks were met, we signed off and declared build 7600 as RTM.
Not only is RTM an important milestone for us – it’s also an important milestone for our partners. Today’s release is the result of hard work and collaboration with our partners in the industry to make Windows 7 a success. We delivered Windows 7 with a predictable feature set on a predictable timetable that allowed OEMs to focus on value and differentiation for their customers.
I’m sure everyone involved is breathing a big sigh of relief and hoping that Vista will soon be a dim memory. LeBlanc earlier this week detailed all the many ways to get Windows 7, but for most consumers it will be in stores and on PCs on October 22 and for large enterprises with volume license agreements, it will be available August 7 for System Assurance customers and September 1 for the remainder.
As for the RTM of Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft’s Oliver Rist provides the details:
The acronym stands for Release to Manufacturing, and it means this latest release of Windows Server 2008 R2 is now blessed by engineering as ready for the manufacturing process. We’re talking final code. Sun shining, birds singing, children dancing in the streets.
With evaluation software available for download in the first half of August and the full product available to customers with Software Assurance in the second half of August, RTM is more than just an engineering milestone. Occurring in lock-step with the release of the Windows 7 RTM, these two platforms are now ready for our partners to start testing and installing on their hardware. And that lock-step isn’t a coincidence, it’s a design goal.
Follow the link for some feature highlights, but bear in mind that the R2 signifies that Windows Server 2008 R2 is a "minor" release. Still, it is Microsoft’s first 64-bit only Windows Server release, or for that matter first 64-bit only operating system.
Microsoft today announced that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be available ("generally" and "broadly" respectively) on October 22. The Release to Manufacturing (RTM) of Windows 7 will be in the latter part of July.
This means that the first time you can buy a new Windows 7 PC will be October 22 and while that date misses the back-to-school shoppers, there will be some unspecified upgrade program to hopefully bring them in:
“Microsoft has been working closely with partners to help our mutual customers be able to enjoy the many benefits of Windows 7,” he said. “With that in mind, we’re excited to say that there will be a Windows upgrade program available. Consumers can buy that new PC, whether for a student heading off to college or just because they need a new one, and know they’ll get Windows 7 as part of the deal.”
The actual start date for the program will be announced when it is ready for consumers, and partners are ready to provide details to customers.
I have a profound dislike for OS upgrades for general consumers, but it may serve as a modest inducement for the hesitant whether or not an upgrade is ever installed.
It was rather overshadowed by the Windows 7 RC, but last week Microsoft also made available the release candidate for Windows Server 2008 R2:
As many of you know, Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) is made available today to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, with broader availability from Microsoft.com on May 5th. As our final broad test milestone before RTM, this really is the best chance for you to download Windows Server 2008 R2 and put it through its paces while we continue our march to RTM.
There’s more on the new R2 management features by following the link and you can also check the full pitch on Windows Server 2008 R2, but bear in mind that the R2 means it is an interim release between major Windows Server releases, so don’t expect earth shattering enhancements. The biggies to my mind are the improved management and the new release of Hyper-V virtualization.
Today at its Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC2008), Microsoft Corp. rallied software developers by sharing the first full public demo of Windows 7. Windows 7 extends developers’ investments in Windows Vista and encourages the creation of new applications and services for the Windows platform. The company also delivered a pre-beta build of Windows 7 to PDC attendees and announced plans to release a full Windows 7 beta early next year.
In addition to Windows 7, PDC attendees received a pre-beta developer release of Windows Server 2008 R2, which will deliver many enhancements to Windows Server 2008, including live migration of virtual machines, power saving capabilities, and developer features to build and host next-generation applications and services.
Developers should go to http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/windows to learn more about developing for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
If you would like to kick Windows 7′s tires vicariously, Peter Bright has an overview of the user interface changes.