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Beta 1 Release Candidates Released for Avalon, Indigo and InfoCard

Microsoft released more pre-release code for some core elements of the Longhorn operating system in advance of the general Longhorn Beta 1 scheduled for this summer.

Microsoft on Monday posted what it dubbed "Beta 1 release candidates" of the Indigo communications subsystem, the Avalon presentation subsystem and its InfoCard technologies.

Avalon and Indigo have appeared as public previews on several occasions. Community Technology Previews of Avalon came out in November and March, while a CTP of Indigo also appeared in March. Both technologies were also included in preview builds of Longhorn distributed at Microsoft conferences as far back as 2003.

Indigo is Microsoft’s unified programming model for building connected systems. It provides APIs to the .NET Framework 2.0 for building secure, reliable, transacted Web services, and Indigo is supposed to cut development time.

Avalon is a unified presentation subsystem, consisting of a display engine and a managed-code framework. Avalon is supposed to standardize how Windows creates, displays and manipulates documents, media and user interface.

While Indigo and Avalon were originally supposed to be exclusive features of Longhorn, Microsoft has since committed to supporting the technologies on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 as well.

The Beta 1 release candidates are the first technology preview for InfoCard, which is the code-name for Microsoft's latest technology attempt to make it easier and safer for end users to manage their digital identities.

The idea of a release candidate for technologies to be included in a beta release testifies to the importance of the Longhorn beta and to the general state of flux of Microsoft's pre-release code naming conventions. In the past, Microsoft reserved the release candidate label for the post-beta phase, when a product was about to be released to manufacturing. In addition to the odd new label of beta release candidate, Microsoft has been experimenting with CTPs, a sort of alpha-beta hybrid.

The Windows Longhorn client operating system is supposed to be generally available by the 2006 holiday season.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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