Microsoft is monkeying around with its various websites again, suggesting the release date of the final-ish version of Windows 7 is close.
With the original release date of the Windows 7 Release Candidate erring toward late May, its good news that a new posting on the Microsoft Partner site
(Partner registration required - Firefox not supported if you wish to sign up) confirms that the date will now be the 5th of May, or around then to allow for last minute hitches. A good couple of weeks earlier than expected.
Partner with Microsoft, but not with Firefox
The update did state that the RC could be downloaded "now"
on the Technet
(a Windows Live and TechNet membership subscription required) site. However, this has not been updated since the middle of February and all the refreshing in the world hasn't changed that over the weekend. The update continues, "However, you can download Windows 7 RC starting May 5, 2009"
which is good news for testers and those companies looking to migrate from Vista as quickly as possible.
A public release candidate will probably follow shortly after, allowing us great unwashed to enter the fray and find all those remaining hardware and software problems that the current mass of testing has yet to uncover. Requests to interview the Windows 7 team to get a sense of how the final stage of development has been going have been turned down by Microsoft with a polite "At this time we are unable to setup interviews for this."
So, put a tentative pencil mark on your calendars and prepare for testing to find out how the near-as-dammit final code will work in your environment and to find what, if any, late-breaking changes have been made to the OS.