Microsoft Corrals Longhorn Server

Private Beta testers get server build 5308.

While testers have been all over the newest Windows Vista Community Technology Preview build, the new Longhorn Server test build, which Microsoft also delivered at the end of February, has gotten far less attention.

Whats new in the latest Longhorn Server test build? According to the Longhorn Server 5308 release notes, a copy of which is posted on activewin. com, the latest server code has some rough spots.

Microsoft officials have said Longhorn Server will be customizable for specific workloads via role management and a role management tool. Longhorn Server will be role-based, allowing administrators to choose from among 20 "levels of functionality" (such as print server, DHCP server and so on) when configuring and deploying Windows Server systems for specific tasks, the officials said.

In the newest build, the role management tool wont allow testers to install the Rights Management Services subsystem of Longhorn Server, according to the release notes. And there is no workaround for the problem. There also seem to be problems around roles and the Security Configuration Wizard, according to the notes.

"With Security Configuration Wizard, you can configure security settings appropriate for various server roles. To ensure full compatibility, all server roles are disabled by default. However, you can still enable individual server roles manually," the notes say.

Microsoft officials declined to elaborate on these or any other changes made to Longhorn Server 5308.

In December, Microsoft released simultaneous builds of Windows Vista and Longhorn Server (Build 5270 for both).

Testers confirmed that Microsoft has posted on the Connect beta-download site the Windows Longhorn Server Build 5308 bits.

Microsoft officials acknowledged that the Redmond, Wash., company released Longhorn Server 5308 to a set of private beta testers late last month. "Because the Windows Vista and Windows Server Longhorn development cycles are synced, Longhorn code is also going out as part of the Windows Vista CTP but is accessible to private beta testers only," a spokesperson said.

Since Microsoft released a public CTP build of Windows Server Longhorn at the Professional Developers Conference in September, it has not labeled any of the test releases as either a beta or a CTP. In the same vein, Microsoft is characterizing the Longhorn Server 5308 build as neither a beta nor a CTP, the spokesperson said.

Microsofts current plan is to launch an "official" CTP program for Longhorn Server sometime after the server development team delivers Beta 2 of Longhorn Server, which is expected later this year, around the time Vista Beta 2 ships. The final version of Longhorn Server is due sometime next year.