Microsoft is hoping to reach a significant Windows 2000 milestone by completing Release Candidate 1 (RC1) of the system by the end of June, but many beta testers still are unclear about when they will get their hands on that issue.
James Allchin, senior vice president at Microsoft, who heads the company's Business and Enterprise division, said last week that Windows 2000 Professional, Server, and Advanced Server editions still are on target for a 1999 release, pending positive feedback from beta testers.
"I haven't seen anything that in any way makes me worried," Allchin said.
A high-end, scalable version, Windows 2000 Datacenter, is also in the works, but is not expected to be ready until several months after the other products ship. Windows 2000 Server is the upgrade to NT Server 4.0, and Professional is the update to NT Workstation. The NT 4.0, Enterprise Edition, has been renamed Advanced Server.
RC1 will be ready in late June or early July, Allchin said. He added that Release Candidate 2 (RC2) would follow the first release candidate by six to eight weeks, and then Microsoft plans to release the operating system to manufacturing. That final version, ready for gold code will include features and updates that will be in a yet-to-be-released Service Pack 6 for NT 4.0.
But most beta testers will not see RC1 until late July, said one developer, who requested anonymity.
"They will distribute RC1 internally, but then there will be a lag before it goes wide," the developer said. "That's extra time to work out problems."
Meanwhile, Microsoft moved to shore up Windows 2000's reputation with customers and third parties developing applications.
The company released specifications for Windows 2000-ready applications on both client and server sides. The specifications are available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/winlogo.
Microsoft also licenced Mission Critical's Domain Migrator technologies, which will be added to Windows 2000 as a snap-in to the Microsoft Management Console.
The tools will help IT managers migrate to Windows 2000 faster and consolidate the domain structures, a Microsoft official said.