As expected, Microsoft made available for download on February 19 the final version of SQL Server 2005.
The new update makes SQL Server 2005 compatible with Windows Vista. It also adds a few new enhancements in the data mining and data analysis areas, plus enhanced reporting compatibility with Oracle and Hyperion products.
Microsoft tucked at the very bottom of its SQL Server 2005 SP2 press release a related item, pertaining to SQL Server standardization. (Maybe all the recent furror over Microsoft's attempted ISO standardization of Office Open XML has the Redmondians taking the cautious route on anything to do with standards).
On the SQL Server front, the standardization involves Common Criteria certification, which, Microsoft described as "a procurement requirement of many governments and a preference for several industries and customers."
"In related news, Microsoft announced that the Common Criteria evaluation of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 has been submitted to the German Federal Office for Information Security for certification and that SP2 is undergoing EAL4+ evaluation. The Common Criteria evaluations of SP1 and SP2 will be formally recognized by the governments of 24 countries that signed the Common Criteria Recognition Agreement, including Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, and informally recognized by as many as 30 additional countries."