Later today we will make Windows 7 beta available to anyone who wants it . “Anyone” is stretching the point, because there will only be a finite number of downloads/ product IDs available – 2.5 Million. Some of my fellow evangelists saw red over this, one arguing that with an installed base of 700 million PCs providing only 1 copy per 300 PCs out in the world and we’d have 299 angry customers for every happy one. That’s a pretty extreme view and I hold an opposite – and perhaps extreme view.
As far as the number goes the official PR quote from the product group goes
“we’re setting the download cap at 2.5 million - higher than the download limit set for any previous Windows Beta release. 2.5 million downloads should satisfy strong customer demand, while providing the breadth and depth of feedback we need to finish Windows 7.”
I don’t think everyone should run beta software. In fact licenses for the software say it is for testing only and not for production use – although the best test for a client OS way is to copy what you would do in production – and the only to do it reliably is to use it as a production OS. I wouldn’t put my parents on beta software for example. Nor would I put anything business critical on it – in fact given the trouble of getting people to move to a newly released OS gives a pretty good idea of who won’t want a beta.
A Beta is there to prepare for the real product. If you want to get the skills to work with it or test the software you deploy (or develop) works with it or both. It’s not there for people who want to run something new and exciting to get a way to do it sooner – that’s a by-product. My argument is that anyone who is doing a job where they need to do that should have Technet – or if they’re developing software MSDN. If I fly on a plane – that’s a complex system and I expect the people who work on it to have access to all the documentation from Boeing, Airbus or whoever. If I consult a lawyer I expect them to have a shelf full of books about their area of the law (another complex system). If you work, professionally, with Microsoft software you should have technet (or MSDN if you’re a developer). Any organization which doesn’t have technet probably doesn’t have the resource to put into doing a proper beta evaluation.
Back when a few people complained that we closed the office 2007 beta after a huge number of downloads, I said that if you don’t have a subscription to get the software AND you can’t manage to be one of the first couple of million to download a beta then there probably isn’t a very convincing case for you to have it (but if you can make such a case , I’ll make it my business to get the beta for you).
Incidentally if you’re thing that you should get a subscription to TechNet Plus you can get a discount of 20% if you enter the promotion code TNCARE09 at the on-line order site.
I must admit my TechNet subscription has been invaluable... It helped me start my MCSE training (but keep getting side tracked with all the other things I keep wanting to look at). But also so I can try new products, to evaluate for myself.
I used Vista as my main OS from Beta until now (and on the Beta for SP1) and found the OS to be fine. The UAC doesn't bother me as I know why it's there, and how to minimise it asking from for a username or password. (But I blame Steve for this, from the many years of him repeatedly telling me [well actually everyone at large] to log onto a computer with only a user account without Administrative privileges). I never came across any major short coming caused by Vista (other than a manufacturer not releasing Vista 64 bit drivers for their PVR TV card for about a year from RTM).
I'm looking forward to giving Win7 a full road test, and to learn of its new feature in full (will be keeping an eye on the Windows Blog, and of course the UK evangelists).
Oh and James, I was expecting your Batman utility belt story here to support any IT Pro having TechNet.