Microsoft has just released the first public version of its new OS, Vista. It's called Windows Vista Beta 2 and it's a preview of Windows Vista Ultimate - "the most comprehensive edition of Windows Vista". Ultimate is one of a reported six different versions of Vista that will eventually be released.
The Beta 2 is of course aimed at developers and here are the download links:
Be warned though, these are (obviously) very hefty downloads - around 3 GB. You'll also need a key to run Vista Beta 2 - and here is the information to do that. For all the official details, here's the official Microsoft webpage and the Preview Program blurb:
"We invite you to be among the first to experience the clarity that Windows Vista can bring to your world. The Windows Vista Customer Preview Program makes a pre-release edition of Windows Vista Ultimate broadly available to the public for the first time.
Note: This is beta code and should not be used in a production environment or on a main machine in the home. Beta 2 is intended for developers, IT professionals and technology experts to continue or begin their testing of Windows Vista. Before you decide to use Beta 2, you should feel comfortable with installing operating systems, updating drivers, and general PC troubleshooting. Some risks of using beta operating systems include hardware and software incompatibility and system instability. If you have concerns about installing this beta software on your computer, we encourage you to obtain the final release version of Windows Vista when it is available in 2007.
If you decide to install Windows Vista Beta 2, we would like to thank you for taking the time to test the product. Your feedback is an integral part of our development process. Thank you for being part of the Windows Vista team!"
I'm keen to get some early feedback from ZDNet readers on Vista's capabilities, particularly relating to Internet functionality.