Feeds

WinXP beta 2 slides a week – a marketing thing?

RTM still mysteriously unharmed, so go figure...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The release date for beta 2 of Windows XP has slipped another week, to March 21st, according to Paul Thurrott of WinInfo. The latest delay however doesn't seem to be because of any major 'gotchas' - the XP beta code has been pretty solid for some months now, so mightn't the delay be more about the people Microsoft will be allowing to access the code soon, rather than about bugs as such?

By all accounts the look, feel and performance of the beta code hasn't changed significantly in the three or four most recent builds of WinXP beta code that have been released externally. The latest of these, build 2446, was according to Microsoft released specifically for hardware testing and bug-fixing, and as the internal build 2454 that escaped at the end of last week did so via (and what an appropropriate word that is*) a major chipset outfit, its purpose was probably more of the same.

The reality is almost certainly that Microsoft already has the base code it intends to ship as beta 2, and that it's marketing rather than development that's holding it up. If you check back to the grand unveiling of XP at Seattle's Experience Music Project on February 13th, you run across a statement that might now be inoperative. Microsoft then intended to ship beta 2 within a couple of weeks, but only to a fairly narrow set of technical testers. Instead of that we got the 2446 interim 'this is not beta 2' build, which seems to have gone out to the full range of testers.

Then, the idea was that beta 2 would go out to the narrow set of testers first, then this code would form the basis for the widespread public beta Microsoft simultaneously started advertising. The two now seem much more likely to be run fairly closely together (note that licence changes in anticipation of the public beta were made in 2446), or even as just one big public beta 2/RC1, the point of which will be to achieve greater market momentum rather than to shake out problems in the software.

Which makes the widespread beta, the "Windows XP Preview Program," pretty much shipping code, with all that entails in terms of driver support. Obviously if you're going to have hundreds of thousands of people getting the code, you want to make sure even the newbies have a positive experience, right?

Whatever, it's now tricky to see how Microsoft can fit a genuine Release Candidate 1 into the schedule, and as for RC2, well... An email concerning the previous delay (to March 14th) leaked to CRN last month set down a schedule for this, and it really doesn't work now. Says the email: "When we hit RC1, we have a solid eight-week program to RTM... The RC2 release is a short milestone where we can fix any final big things."

Eight weeks ahead of RTM puts RC1 at the beginning of April, which gives ten days, maybe two weeks, between beta 2 and RC1, and of course there's a preview program to slip in there somewhere as well. The fact that this can happen without RTM slipping as well does kind of make you suspect that the code out there already is more or less RC1 anyway, which is more or less RTM. This is not beta programs as we know and love them. ®

* It has been suggested to us that the chipset outfit that goofed over 2454 was indeed the one beginning with V. Meanwhile although we've also had it claimed to us that the escaped 2454 code is fake, someone claiming to be Dennis DaMenaCe himself hotly disputes this in a discussion thread on neowin.net. We at The Reg are inclined to agree with Mr DaMenaCe on this one. We're told that build 2454 was released internally from Microsoft's main build lab at 4.53pm on March 6th.

Related stories:
WinInfo story
More WinXP code leaks onto Web, with pix
Cracks appear for latest WinXP protection tech
Early death for 98 as MS pushes WinXP - public beta confirmed

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.