I am totally stoked about seeing SFU 3.5 ship. I'm even more stoked about the price - zero. Yep, that's right, Microsoft is giving away "Services For Unix". Free as in "free beer".
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/sfu has all the product stuff, but that's only half the fun. Take a gander at SlashDot; this thread is about the least negative stuff I've ever seen about Microsoft posted there. Given that the /. gang tends to think that Microsoft is a bunch of... well... read it yourself.
As a technogeek, I think the coolest thing about SFU 3.5 is the pthreads support. That feature was #1 with a bullet on the list of “stuff SFU 3.0 didn't have but needed”, and getting it into the product is going enable a whole mess of really cool stuff down the road a bit. And, yes, there is a “down the road a bit” for SFU; this zero-cost-of-acquisition release is not the end of the line.
As someone who has had business conversations with customers who wanted to use the stuff, the “free beer” aspect of the release is kinda cool. There's a small amount of “pucker factor”; the Microsoft sales force might be a little harder to motivate now that there's no revenue to their pocket, but let's face it - with a retail cost of $99 in no volume, they weren't excited about selling 3.0. Now that they can give it away, perhaps they'll be less reluctant to tell their accounts it exists.
And that's probably the best thing about releasing the product this way. Services For Unix has been Microsoft's “best kept secret” for years; too many of our customers have no idea we make this, and I've seen MS sales guys beaten up by their accounts for not telling them about it.
Dang, I'm excited. And I don't have to keep this a secret anymore.