The public release of Windows 7 beta is undoubtedly the most exciting thing to happen to PC users so far this year. But it’s only going to happen once, as Microsoft says that it’ll be the only public beta we’ll get.
Those who are enjoying the Windows 7 beta will have to stick with it until the final version ships, as the public beta released in early January will be the first and last of the public betas for the OS.
That it’s necessarily bad news, however, as the next major milestone for Microsoft will be a release candidate (RC) version, which means that a final release will be just beyond that.
Microsoft developer “Steven” wrote on the MSDN blog, “The next milestone for the development of Windows 7 is the Release Candidate or ‘RC.’ Historically the Release Candidate has signaled ‘we’re pretty close and we want people to start testing the release, especially because all the features are done.’”
While both the beta and release candidate are just unfinished, pre-release version of software, there is a clear distinction. Microsoft released the beta “to validate the quality, reliability, compatibility, and experience of Windows 7.”
The release candidate, on the other hand, will be Windows 7 as Microsoft intends to ship it. “This release allows the whole ecosystem to reach a known state together and make sure that we are all ready together for the Release to Manufacturing. Once we get to RC, the whole ecosystem is in ‘dress rehearsal’ mode for the next steps,” Steven detailed.
Now for the question everyone’s been waiting for, but probably not the answer we want: “The obvious question is that we know the Pre-Beta was October 28, 2008, and the Beta was January 7th, so when is the Release Candidate and RTM? The answer is forthcoming,” -- in other words, there is no answer.
“Believe me, we know many people want to know more specifics,” it acknowledged. “We’re on a good path and we’re making progress. We are taking a quality-based approach to completing the product and won’t be driven by imposed deadlines.”
As much as we’re all fans of a new and improved Windows, we’re even bigger fans of things that are finished and polished. The last thing we need is a rushed operating system that will eventually become the most popular on the planet, despite what some eager fan may be petitioning.