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Windows.NET RC1 preview offered for free download

But possibly not for a couple of weeks...

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Windows.NET is nearly, finally, with us, as is evidenced by the appearance of one of those now traditional Customer Preview Program (CPP) Microsoft giveaways for RC1. The Ts & Cs, as far as we can make out, are that you can give them some money to get the CDs sent or download it for the price of filling in the reg form. Then you can run it for 360 days, after which it turns into a pumpkin, but there seems a reasonable prospect of you upgrading to RC2 as and when it's available.

However, we have some slight doubts. Fired with enthusiasm for Internet instant gratification we registered our usual Microsoft doppelganger, William H Spam III, filling in the fields with the usual random bollocks, then waited with bated breath by Bill Spam's inbox.

"Thank you for your interest in the Windows .NET Server Customer Preview Program!," the email said. "Your request to download Windows .NET Server Release Candidate 1 is being processed. Requests will be processed in the order that they were received.

"You will receive an e-mail notification which covers full download instructions and information on newsgroup support within 2 business weeks."

Two weeks? Plus, you're cautioned not to bother hassling until you haven't received your download instructions for three weeks. It occurs to us there's some slight possibility that Microsoft has decided to insert human-based checking systems into the process, in which case William H Spam III's utterly spurious company details will inevitably be rejected. It also occurs to us that three weeks delivery time is more than a little humorous, considering what .NET is supposed to be about. But we'll wait by the mailbox anyway, offering prayers to Sir Clive 'Allow 28 days for Delivery' Sinclair. In the interests of balance, we should point out that our Solaris DVD has yet to show up, almost two months later... ®

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