The wait is over. Late on Nov. 16, Microsoft posted Windows Vista to its developer Web site. The software is immediately available to MSDN subscribers. Microsoft also posted Office 2007 earlier this week.
The products availability to developers —less than two weeks before the official business launch—is essential for partners getting out applications updates or customers beginning serious deployment testing. In a MSDN notice earlier this week, Microsoft had indicated that Windows Vista wouldnt be available until Nov. 17.
Developers have access to separate 32-bit and 64-bit downloads of Windows Vista. The single downloads contain seven different Windows Vista versions: Starter; Home Basic; Home Premium; Ultimate; Business; and, as mandated by Microsofts adverse European antitrust ruling, Home N and Business N. Another version, Windows Vista Enterprise, is only available to Microsoft volume-licensing subscribers. While developers can download the "N" versions, Microsoft hasnt yet released product keys for installing and activating the software.
The single ISO images reflect changes to operating system distribution. With Vista, Microsoft has introduced Windows Anytime Upgrade, which would let users buy license keys to upgrade to another version. A small business with, say, Windows Vista Home Basic could purchase an upgrade to Windows Vista Business without obtaining a new DVD. Windows Vista also changes media type, with Microsoft moving distribution to DVD from CDs.
Developers have had access to Office 2007 Professional since Nov. 12. Microsoft also released new versions of Groove, InfoPath, Project and Visio this week. As of Nov. 17, the Office System products were available in English, German and Japanese and Windows Vista only in English.