Windows 2000 gets yet another beta

Windows 2000 gets yet another beta

Microsoft will lock down code for Windows 2000 later this month as it prepares the final version of the software that has been years in the making.

Company officials have been coy as to whether a third release candidate of Beta 3 Windows 2000 would be released, but company officials last week confirmed there will indeed be a Release Candidate 3 (RC3).

A release candidate is considered worthy of being final code and is sent to beta testers for evaluation. But Microsoft officials last week admitted to plans for an RC3 that will be sent to a reduced number of key beta testers. The Release Candidate 2 software was sent to 650,000 beta testers on September 15. Release Candidate 1 was shipped on July 1.

Dave Thompson, director of Windows 2000 development at Microsoft, told attendees at the company's Exchange Conference '99 this week in Atlanta that Microsoft would release RC3 this month. "It is our escrow build," Thompson said. "There will be no more changes in the code." An escrow build, according to Microsoft sources, means code development is ceased as developers and beta testers hunt for recall class bugs. The escrow code is considered the release to manufacturing code.

Thompson said the company is still targeting the year-end for release to manufacturing (RTM) of the software. With a Release Candidate 3, however, Microsoft is unlikely to ship the RTM until December. Microsoft reportedly hoped to make a big splash with the RTM at the Comdex trade show in mid-November.

The confirmation of an escrow build means that if Microsoft slips on this newest timetable for Windows 2000 that something major is wrong with the software. The new timetable also means users are not likely to receive Windows 2000 until early next year.

Just last month, Microsoft removed component load balancing, a piece of the clustering technology in Windows 2000, and added a number of device drivers when it shipped RC2.

Other changes are likely to be made as Microsoft prepares to finalise code with RC3.

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