Microsoft just posted for download the first public beta of Longhorn Server. Anyone interested in trying out Longhorn Server can get the Beta 3 bits here.
The latest build follows on an unanticipated Community Technology Preview (CTP) build of Longhorn Server, which Microsoft made available earlier this month.
Microsoft is still tracking to release Longhorn Server to manufacturing before the end of calendar 2007. But the big official launch of the product is looking like spring of 2008, according to Softies with whom I've spoken recently.
So does that mean the product is likely to be christened Windows Server 2008? No word yet on that one.
Back to Beta 3. What's new in the latest -- and likely last -- of the full-fledged Longhorn Server beta builds? On Microsoft's short list:
* A "Go Live" license for the integrated IIS 7.0 Web server: The IIS7 Go Live license allows users to host Web applications and .NET 3.0 Web services on Longhorn Beta 3 in live production environments.
* Integration of the Windows PowerShell scripting environment into Longhorn Server.
* Active Directory Federation Services improvements that allow users to implement new policies and make it easier to set up a relationship between trusted partners.
* Support for eight Server Core roles (instead of the four previously announced).
* Additional remote administration tools to provide a more integrated management environment. * Windows Firewall is now on by default.
* Network Access Protection (NAP) is integrated with Microsoft Update and Windows Update, allowing administrators to decide which updates are critical and set policies accordingly.