Speaking today at the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2006, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced the immediate availability of beta 2 versions of Windows Vista™, the 2007 Microsoft® Office system and the next version of Windows Server™, code-named Windows Server “Longhorn.” It is the first time that Microsoft has simultaneously released the test versions of all three of the company’s flagship products.
At CNET, the latter part came out as:
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates called the release of the three test versions a milestone, noting it was the first time that all three products had been at the same place in the development cycle.
Apparently it was said with a straight face. If you can’t fix it, feature it, I guess.
Back to the press release:
Windows Vista Beta 2 and Windows Server “Longhorn” Beta 2 are available now to developers and IT professionals with MSDN® and TechNet subscriptions, as well as to members of the Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and the TechBeta program. In coming weeks, Microsoft will start the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) to allow developers and IT professionals who are not a part of those programs to obtain the code and begin their own testing. Also as part of the CPP, Microsoft will invite a broader group of technology enthusiasts to receive a build of the operating system to begin testing the various consumer scenarios that Windows Vista enables. WinHEC attendees will receive DVDs of the Windows Vista and Windows Server “Longhorn” Beta 2 releases. The 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 is available via free download in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish languages at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview.
As for what was delivered, there will be many reviews, I’m sure, but a good starting point is eWeek who already has slide shows and quick looks:
While you’re there, note this confidence builder in the Vista quick look:
In particular, Vista’s new 3D Aero Glass user interface, the one causing most of the are-you-Vista-ready ruckus, tends to flake out at times. As our tests with Longhorn Server illustrated for us, however, Vista manages to deliver the goods without Aero Glass enabled at all.
We”ll mark that one down as another feature and not inquire too closely into the nature and novelty of the “goods.”
Finally, Bob Muglia has a Q&A describing what’s happening with Longhorn and unsurprisingly, a Certified for Windows Vista logo program was also announced.