Whistler's status as a Win2k point release looks even more assured, if the latest secret files to fall into the clutches of Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet are to be believed. Actually they're not anything like as good as the leaks she used to get (did somebody leave?), but it does seem highly significant that Microsoft has already set a date for the software to go gold - April 18, 2001.
As we've remarked in the past, Microsoft develops two kinds of operating systems; big, ambitious monsters that overshoot the target ship date by years, and simple service pack type efforts whose launch dates can easily be shifted around so they don't interfere with Bill Gates' prior dinner engagements. Windows 95, NT and 2k are the first kind, all subsequent versions of Win9x the second. Whistler's significance is that it'll be the first OS to use the Win2k code as a base for 'annual refresh' approach we've seen with Win98, 98SE and WinME.
Mary Jo reckons it's unlikely MS will hit the target date, but given the nature of the project we reckon it'll be difficult to miss it by much. Other significant dates from the leak are October 11 for beta 1, and December 6 for beta 2. Last month Microsoft started recruiting for the October beta, and in the past few days it has asked WinME testers if they'd like to participate. ®
ZDNet: Delivery date set for next Windows