Vista's looking better with every test build, as it should, according to many of those banging on the product. Is it ready to be released to manufacturing in a matter of "days"? Microsoft officials say yes; testers say ... mostly.
A number of Windows Vista testers -- including a number of Microsoft employees -- spent at least part of the past weekend downloading the Release Candiate (RC) 2 build of Vista and posting screen shots and initial feedback to their blogs.
RC2, which "was expected to be skipped" (by the confident Vista team, I'm assuming), according to Microsoft consultant David McGhee, has fixed many existing Media Center glitches. And boot time is getting faster, another good sign.
While the latest release, Build No. 5744, doesn't look very different from recent test builds, it is behaving better, in terms of stability and performance, testers said. But there are still system lock-ups, performance lags and other problems, as my blogging colleague George Ou noted, that demonstrate Vista's still not quite ready for the masses.
Microsoft also released on October 6 a new test build (Release Candidate 3) of the Windows Mobile Device Center. RC3 of the Device Center works on RC1 -- not RC2 -- of Vista. Mobile Device Center, like Vista's new Security Center, is designed to be a one-stop shop for customers to monitor and sync up their Microsoft- and third-party-developed wares. Unlike Security Center, which, at least for now, is bundled into the base Windows product, the Mobile Device Center is a downloadable Vista add-on.