We already know quite a lot about Windows 7: it has a distinct Office 2007 feel to the UI, it is likely to feature some kind of instant on fast booting process, and the OS itself should scale to some 256 processors. The launch of an official 'Engineering Windows 7' blog has helped with this knowledge, as indeed has the fact that early pre-betas were given away freely at the recent Microsoft Professional Developer Conference and Windows Hardware Engineering Conference.
What we have not known, and what has kept us all guessing, is when the first actual beta copies would become available. There have been plenty of informed rumours around that point to December, but Microsoft has always maintained that January 2009 was the month that matters. Now it seems that, surprise surprise, Microsoft was right.
We are led to believe that a Windows 7 beta will go live on January 13th in fact.
How so and who is doing the leading towards this date? None other than a Microsoft employee called Keith Combs who, in his blog, drops mention that if you go to the January 13th Microsoft Developer Conference you will get a copy of the Windows 7 beta on DVD. The official Microsoft Developer Conference site is also now confirming the Windows 7 beta DVD giveaway for the 13th January, so it looks like a done deal.
Of course, that still does not answer the big question: when will non-developers be able to download the Windows 7 beta? Although Microsoft is remaining quiet on that one, once the DVD has gotten into the hands of developers it will not be long before the public download is activated.