Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interesting developments

The Windows 7 Release Candidate build was made available to developers today, with a public release following next week. This surely means that a Release-to-Manufacturing build is only a couple of months away, despite Microsoft's official shipping projection of "early 2010".

I'll be evaluating the build myself in the coming weeks and am curious to see how it differs from the beta. The most interesting addition to the RC build was revealed a couple of days ago - XP Mode, a fully virtualized Windows XP environment running within Windows 7. Assuming this works as advertised, this should be the killer feature that will finally prompt businesses and enterprises that have up to now not upgraded to Vista to make the jump. It's far less of a leap of faith to move to a new OS if you know that, at very worst, you'll still be able to run certain contrary applications in native-XP mode thereby preserving full backwards compatibility.

It's a really smart move on Microsoft's part. For this and other reasons, I think that Windows 7 is going to be an enormous, Windows 95-size, hit. I'll post more here once I get a good look at the RC build.