Windows 7 Bits To Be Released at PDC'08

Microsoft hopes to draw crowds to its upcoming Professional Developers Conference by making Windows 7 bits available to the public attending the event. The venue will be the staging ground for the first public release of the new operating system.

Microsoft plans to provide a "pre-beta copy of Windows 7" at the Los Angeles-based event, which will be held Oct. 27 to 30. The copy can be installed and tested on your PC, according to Microsoft's announcement.

The company's latest operating system has so far been kept closely under wraps, although a private group of testers has been checking out build versions of it. Veteran Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley, citing leaked information, has identified one of the builds as "M3" or "Milestone 3."

One Microsoft blogger suggested that "mostly faked Photoshop renderings" of Windows 7 have been circulating so far.

PDC attendees will get a 160 GB portable USB 2.0 drive with the Windows 7 pre-beta on it, along with software development kits and other Microsoft materials. Microsoft also plans to have compatibility labs at the PDC so that attendees can test their applications by running them on the new OS.

Panel sessions on Windows 7 have been increased to about 21 so far at the PDC. The other venue where Windows 7 will figure prominently is Microsoft's WinHEC event, to be held in Los Angeles on Nov. 5 to 7.

The actual beta release of the operating system is unclear. Foley's sources tell her that Windows 7 Beta 1 "is due in December 2008" with the final release expected in the second half of 2009.

Microsoft's "software plus services" concept will be the other major theme at the PDC event. The concept, which envisions a software world that combines Internet cloud-based services with installed software, has been much discussed by Microsoft officials, but the PDC will be its "coming out party," according to Gianpaolo Carraro, Microsoft's director of SaaS architecture.

Microsoft plans to launch "a comprehensive service platform" for its software plus services vision at the event, according to Mike Swanson, the PDC 2008 content owner.

Microsoft will have one edge in ushering in this software plus services world, and it's associated with how supplementary programs will be offered with Windows 7.

For instance, unlike earlier Microsoft operating system releases, Windows 7 will lack e-mail, movie making and photo-editing programs, according to Microsoft officials cited by CNET's Ina Fried. Instead, those programs will be offered as services. They will be available as free downloads through Windows Live, Microsoft's services portal.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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