Windows Vista Beta Begins
Beta copies of Longhorn server go out to a separate group of testers.
As expected and right on schedule, Microsoft released the first beta test version
of the newly-renamed Windows Vista on Wednesday. The company had promised it
would ship by August 3.
According to the Redmond, Washington company, more than 10,000 beta testers
will get their copies through the Windows Vista Technical Beta Program, and
thousands more will receive them through the Microsoft Developer Network and
Previously codenamed “Longhorn,” Windows Vista is currently scheduled
for release in time for Christmas 2006. Windows Vista will be the first major
release of Microsoft’s premier desktop operating system since Windows
XP shipped four years ago.
Simultaneously, Microsoft released beta 1 of the long-awaited IE7, which will
add tabbed browsing, among other features.
Meanwhile, beta copies of the server edition of Longhorn began going out to
a separate group of testers.
“The core foundation and APIs for ‘Longhorn’ Server components
are now complete and ready for testing in a private beta program,” a Microsoft
spokesperson said in an e-mail to ENT. “The objective of the private beta
program is to gather feedback from partners, including OEMs, hardware vendors,
system builders, independent software vendors and developers.”
Given Microsoft’s checkered history on security, Windows Vista adds a
laundry list of improvements over XP. These include user account protection
features to enable applications to run with limited permissions, as well as
the ability to monitor for abnormal activity such as malware attacks. Another
feature to be added in Vista beta 2 will be a “protected mode” whereby
a user can assign herself enough rights to perform most tasks but not enough
to enable a virus to be able to elevate itself to the administrator’s
role – largely by blocking the ability to edit the Windows Registry or
change user profiles.
Windows Vista will also support full-volume encryption to help prevent disk
access to files by other operating systems, and will add network access protection
to help prevent questioned computers from connecting to a user’s internal
network until security criteria are met.
The Windows Vista beta also includes Windows Presentation Foundation, formerly
codenamed “Avalon,” and Windows Communication Foundation, which
heretofore had been codenamed “Indigo.”
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.