Friday, December 7, 2007
Microsoft Releases New Windows Server, Vista SP1 Test Code
Microsoft on Tuesday said that it has reached the "release candidate" with the first service pack for Windows Vista, with plans to make the test software available publicly next week.
It is releasing the test code this week to the 15,000 or so people who have been beta testing SP1 already, and will also make it available on Thursday to those in the MSDN and TechNet developer programs.
"We feel really good and we look forward to receiving feedback from our larger set of testers," said David Zipkin, a senior product manager on the Windows Client team.
Microsoft also said on its Vista blog on Wednesday that it will make available a "blocker" that will allow customers who have Vista and use Windows Update to block SP1 upon its final release to allow for further testing. Microsoft offered a similar option with Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Microsoft also revealed partner resources to prepare customers for the release of the server OS, which the company plans to release to manufacturing on Feb. 27, 2008, the same day as a joint-launch event that also will promote SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. Combined, the three mark Microsoft's major product release cycle for the year, although the products are not scheduled to be released simultaneously.
Vista SP1 is expected to be available around the same time, but in a two-part release, the company said on Wednesday. According to a post on the Windows Vista Team Blog, a stand-alone installer will be released to the Web in both x86 and x64 versions for the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese. About eight to 12 weeks after this release, all of the remaining Vista languages will be released in both x86 and x64 versions.
Both Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 are key releases for the business adoption of the Vista client OS, as many companies have been awaiting the release of both its complementary server OS and first service pack to upgrade their desktops. Windows Server 2008 is an especially important technology for enterprise and business customers, who have been waiting for a major update to the OS for nearly five years.
Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 1 (RC1), the follow-up to Release Candidate 0 in September, can now be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site. According to the company, more than 1.8 million customers have acquired the evaluation code for Windows Server 2008 to date. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC1 is available to users through the Microsoft Connect Web site.
More information about the releases can be found on the Windows Server Division Weblog and on the Windows Vista Experience Blog.
Microsoft also has made changes to its Windows Server 2008 software certification program for partners, creating a "Works with Windows Server 2008" program and offering test tools so ISVs can test their applications to ensure they work reliably on the product. The program and tools are available online. Microsoft ran into trouble with Vista because many third-party software vendors didn't have applications ready for the OS in time, causing compatibility headaches for customers.
Partners whose applications pass the "Works with" tests can then submit test results to be validated for "Certified for Windows Server 2008" status, which has higher technical bars for achievement.