Educated Musings on Beta 2 Release Date

If you are interested in Windows Vista Beta 2 and its rumored release dates, here are some general educated surmises taking into account previous betas for different products, information from Microsoft on the Vista builds, and some general ‘extrapolation’ (i.e. guess-work :P) First some background: People are looking forward to Beta 2 because it is rumored to be a public beta, meaning that it will be available via CPP to almost anyone interested in checking it out. Beta software means that it is not for use in a production environment, it is not guaranteed to be stable, or even to run at all, but that is an extreme. At Microsoft beta builds are fairly stable, especially compared to IDW/IDX CTP builds (commonly referred to as I-Don’t-Work/Exercises builds) and normally shows quite a bit of indication as to the direction the final program is going along, since all that hard work is rarely for nothing.. The December CTP (build 5270) was an almost code-complete build. It was released on Dec. 16th, 2005. The next build to be released is the February CTP, and is the final build before Beta 2. It will be the first look at a code-complete Vista for us Tech Beta testers. If we assume that the February CTP will be released on February 12th (a fair assumption, given previous timing models), we can say that Microsoft will give testers up to two weeks or so to bug anything major that Microsoft had not discovered. That is to say that anything bugged after these two weeks will in all likelihood not make Beta 2 (unless it is a big ugly security bug that is..). In these Microsoft employees will in all likelihood be debugging known bugs and others as they come in, and trying to make the general user experience as fast, snappy, and bug-free as possible. After these two weeks finish, we can give Microsoft another week and a half to finish fixing the bugs found. It is logical for them to then take time to pick one of their many builds (still in a code-base at that time) to convert it to a Beta. Converting to a Beta takes time, because Microsoft betas are expected to be more or less stable and definitely more bug-free than the CTPs, which on their own take quite a bit of time to become a CTP. This time would go to removing debug data for a snappier experience, optimizing code, replacing long winded sections with more to-the-point code, etc. Going with the pattern Microsoft might then release the Beta to TAP and Tech Beta testers 5-7 days afterward (in which time they ready MS Connect, the newsgroups, and their staff, for a tech beta release. We can guess that a week later it would hit the CPP (while they take the time to ready the CPP program and clean up their servers in preparation for an inordinate amount of traffic). So, Feb. 12 + 2 weeks + 1.5 weeks + 1.5 weeks + 1 week = 30th of March (Public CPP release) That was the first model… Now it is possible (though highly unlikely) that the February CTP itself will be the Beta 2 build, after optimizations.. Basically that would give Microsoft a but more time to debug existing bugs, and not worry about glitches in as-of-then undisclosed code, and put the CPP release date at or around the 9th of March. Remember, this is all based on (educated) assumptions. Microsoft may yet decide to do another IE6 and disappoint a majority of the testers by making Beta 2 a private beta! I just want to make it clear that Microsoft never actually came out and promised that Vista would be publicly available by Beta 2. If that is the case, subtract 10 days from each of the dates above; and you have the release date to Tech Beta testers. BUT, but, but, that would put the release date for Vista Beta 2 in the same month as the CTP in the latter model, which is highly unlikely. What this means is that the CTP will almost certainly lack certain frills, which in turns requires that Microsoft use the first model, or that Beta 2 is indeed a public beta.. you decide :D -CG

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