On December 5, Microsoft made available for download the Release Candidate (RC) 1 version of Windows Server 2008.
Microsoft is making the RC1 bits available for download from the Windows Server evaluation site on Microsoft.com.
Microsoft made the RC0 build of Windows Server 2008 available in September and a subsequent Community Technology Preview (CTP) build in November. The RC1 build released today tweaks the group policy code -- specifically, Group Policy Preferences, formerly known as PolicyMaker Standard Edition and Policy Share Manager.
Depending on customer feedback, Microsoft may do more release candidates and/or targeted test builds before it releases the product to manufacturing in the first quarter of 2008, officials said.
"As the code approaches final sign off, RC1 is one of the last opportunities for customers and partners to evaluate it and provide feedback," said Microsoft in a press statement issued today. "So far, Microsoft more than 1.8 million customers have obtained Windows Server 2008 evaluation code."
Microsoft is holding the marketing launch of Windows Server 2008 on February 27, 2008, in Los Angeles. Microsoft also will launch officially Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 at that event.
Microsoft is planning to spend $150 million to market these three products, company officials said on December 5. The theme of the marketing campaign around the products will be "heroes Happen Here," a celebration of IT professionals and developers, according to Microsoft.