"It's time," blogged Microsoft Windows chief Jim Allchin. Vista is ready to be released to manufacturing (RTM). Build number 6000.16386 is the gold version of Vista, and it actually RTM'd around 10 a.m. PST today, Allchin said.
"MSDN subscribers and TechNet subscribers are encouraged to download the bits as soon as possible," a Microsoft spokeswoman said on Wednesday. "They are restricted to a license that allowsthem to test, develop and build only. MSDN will make bits available inthe coming days."
Retail availability of Windows Vista will, indeed, be on January 30, Allchin told press and analysts on a conference call on Wednesday. The actual big-bang Vista launch is slated for that day, as well, although Microsoft still has yet to say publicly where that event will occur.
My ZDNet blogging colleague Ed Bott has a review and screen shots of the near-final Vista bits. And Robert McLaws has a great podcast with Allchin over on his Windows-Now site.