By Patricia Resende / Top Tech News. Updated January 30, 2009.
Now that a beta version of Windows 7 has been released to the public, Microsoft is letting users know what to expect next. Instead of moving on to a release candidate as in the past, Microsoft will first resolve problems reported by users.
Windows 7 beta was released Jan. 7 at the Consumer Electronics Show to MSDN, TechNet and TechBeta subscribers, and then to the rest of the world shortly thereafter.
"As we have said before, with Windows 7 we chose a slightly different approach which we were clear up front about and are all now experiencing together and out in the open," said Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's senior vice president for Windows, in a blog post Friday.
Worth the Wait
Microsoft is working with PC makers, hardware engineers, and software vendors to get the operating system ready, echoing CEO Steve Ballmer's call to make it simple, reliable and fast. To do that, Microsoft said it is collecting performance telemetry and application compatibility data, as well as information on usage.
"Think of all those Web sites, download pages, how-to-articles, training materials, and peripheral packages that need to be created -- this takes time, and knowing that the release candidate is the final code that we're all testing out in the open is reassuring for the ecosystem," Sinofsky said.
The release candidate will be the final Windows 7, since Microsoft plans to make it available to PC makers.
Once ready, the release candidate will be a refresher for the beta version. Users are supporting Microsoft's new course, telling the Windows 7 team to take its time and give users a quality product.
Microsoft is doing just that by not offering any release dates and saying the company will not be driven by "imposed deadlines." Sinofsky, however, did say that Microsoft is making progress and echoed Ballmer's promise to deliver the best release of Windows yet.
So Far, So Good
"Based on how the beta looks, it makes sense that the nest version is considered a release candidate," said Michael Silver, vice president of research at Gartner. "The difference is in Microsoft's perception of how far along in development the product is. The quality of Windows 7 beta is probably better than Vista RC1."
"Then there can be multiple RCs, and there can be a month or more between RCs," Silver added.
Once Microsoft has completed its development process and fixed any glitches, Windows 7 will be preinstalled on new PCs and also be offered as a packaged product, according to Microsoft.