Microsoft has flung open the door for anyone interested in getting their mitts on release candidate 2 of Windows XP SP3.
The software giant had made RC2 of the final service pack of XP already available to several thousand beta testers a few weeks ago. Now, it feels brave enough to pump it out to the masses.
Redmond has pushed back the release date of XP’s final service pack several times, and is withdrawing the operating system from the market in June. Of course, it must support legacy XP software customers for many years to come, and so must patch the OS, as new vulnerabilities and bugs are uncovered. Only, not in service packs.
Will XP's official retirement encourage conservative corporates to mosey over to XP's successor, the much-lauded Vista? No, but they will upgrade in due course.
Microsoft will sort out the more egregious performance issues - Vista SP1 is pencilled for release next month (although with Microsoft, as this story from today illustrates, you never can tell). And corporates will be happier to dovetail upgrades with their PC hardware refresh cycles. ®