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Limited Group Testing 'R2'

Microsoft is doubling the size of the group conducting private tests of the Windows Server 2003 "R2" release, but the test group remains tiny compared to the scope of Microsoft's public betas for operating systems.

R2 is like a second edition of Windows Server 2003. Its packaging will consist of two discs -- one containing the base operating system; the other containing a number of optional enhancements and features, some of which have been available previously as free Web downloads. Once R2 becomes available, it will be the default version of Windows Server 2003 to ship with new systems.

A public beta of R2 is planned by June. The operating system depends on the release of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, which is currently in the Release Candidate 2 testing stage.

Early private testing of Windows Server 2003 R2 is underway with about 1,500 testers. A Microsoft spokesperson said earlier this month that Microsoft will add 1,300 testers, bringing the total number of testers to 2,800.

While that's a sizable test group for most software companies, Microsoft pre-release software can reach test pools of tens or hundreds of thousands of users. For example, the RC1 version of Windows Server 2003 SP1, a relatively minor item as previews go, reached 86,000 customers by the end of January.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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