Windows vs Linux: Duelling betas launch

Summary:It's scary stuff: Whistler beta 1 and the near-final beta of Linux 2.4 are both released on Halloween

Software testers are going to be busy in the next few weeks as new Windows and Linux betas make their way into the marketplace. Microsoft officials said the company Tuesday had posted the first official beta release of Whistler -- which is the successor to Windows 2000 -- to the private Whistler Web site for beta testers.

Starting this week, the company will begin shipping CD versions of Whistler to an additional 200,000 testers via its Microsoft Developer Network subscription service.

In an unusual move for the company, Microsoft is planning a phased launch for Whistler, company officials acknowledged on Tuesday, delivering desktop versions of the operating system first, followed by server versions.

For most of the prior releases of Windows, Microsoft has launched desktop and server versions simultaneously. The company said the multiple desktop and server versions of Whistler will ship in the second half of 2001.

"[With Whistler beta 1] we are focused on the delivery of Windows 2000 foundation [technologies] and dependability to the consumer space," said Shawn Sanford, Microsoft's group product manager for the Windows client.

With Windows NT 4.0 and the other Windows 2000 releases, Microsoft has made a conscious decision to hold off from releasing its client versions before its server ones.

He said later betas will include more of the visual design and other changes planned for Whistler.

Sanford denied that the phased launch represented a departure for Microsoft, citing Microsoft's phased release of Datacenter Server 2000 as an example. But with Windows NT 4.0 and the other Windows 2000 releases, Microsoft has made a conscious decision to hold off from releasing its client versions before its server ones.

Microsoft also said Tuesday that Whistler beta 1 will be the 64-bit version of Windows that will be made available to early evaluators of Intel's Itanium systems.

Microsoft said Build 2296 is the release that it has christened "beta 1".

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, Linux godfather Linus Torvalds has posted to the near-final release of the Linux 2.4 kernel. In making available to developers the so-called 2.4.0 Test10-Final release, Torvalds noted that this beta has no known "showstopper" bugs. If testers discover no serious bugs, Torvalds could release the final 2.4 kernel some time in November.

Linux 2.4 is running about a year behind the delivery date originally targeted by Torvalds.

"We're still waiting for the Vatican to officially canonise this kernel, but trust me, that's only a matter of time," Torvalds joked in an 31 October note to testers. "It's a little known fact, but the Pope likes penguins too."

Take me to the Linux Lounge

Take me to the Windows Special

Take me to ZDNet Enterprise

To have your say online click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.

Topics: Developer


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.