At long last, Microsoft is ready to roll out Beta 2 of Windows NT 5.0 at a technical workshop this coming week in Seattle, if weekend work on the latest release candidate has gone as planned, according to sources close to the company.
"If what you see (at the Windows NT 5.0 Technical Workshop) isn't Beta 2, it'll be very close," one beta tester who requested anonymity said.
One Microsoft official would only say that Beta 2 -- which is coming almost a year after the first test version of NT 5.0 -- will be released "this summer".
However, another beta tester said the current build is not ready for Beta 2 status, and that Microsoft could use the extra time.
"Although it looks similar to NT 4.0, NT 5.0 is really a completely new OS that happens to have backward compatibility with NT 4.0 and Win9x," this beta tester said. "Some of the things Microsoft has done, such as adding Device Manager, are welcome changes. But other things, such as Network Connections, are really a step backwards. And the big things Microsoft has promised -- Terminal Server services, IntelliMirror, etc. -- aren't working as advertised."
Beta 2 is expected to add more of NT 5.0's Active Directory features, IntelliMirror technology providing roaming user capabilities, and Windows Terminal Server, among other features. When completed, NT 5.0 will have almost twice as many lines of code as NT 4.0.
The final ship date of NT 5.0 is cloudy, and Microsoft recently added a third beta phase, which will be public.