There's no easy way to write this but SQL Server 2008 won't be released (RTM) until Q3 of 2008, which is a couple of months later than the provisional date shown on many slides and blogs (including mine) to date. This isn't really that surprising, many of you have noticed the CTP releases have been later than expected; for example CTP 6 was already supposed to be out according to the timetables being talked about last summer.
The product team would rather get it right than stick to a schedule to maintain the secure and reliable reputation that SQL Server has built up over the last 4-5 years, and I have to agree with that.
The only ray of sunshine I can offer is that the next CTP(6) will have all of the functionality of the final product and will be available for the worldwide launch event on February 27, leaving a 5-6 month period to ensure it all fits together.
If we are currently running SQL Server 2008 R2, will we have to re-install SQL Server 2008 when it is finally RTM? Or will "upgrading" to RTM be more like installing a service pack?
You can defintiely upgrade but it is more than a service pack. You could do this as an 'in place' upgrade (i.e. over the op of SQL Server 2008) if you are not chnaging edition (standard to enterprise etc.) or changing across x64 to x86.