Microsoft still hasn’t shipped a public “release candidate” for Windows 7 – that’s expected next month – but another preliminary version of the code has leaked to BitTorrent sites.
A release candidate, RC for short, is the final test version of the code before Microsoft releases the product to manufacturing and delivers the final product to vendors.
The latest build to leak purports to be Windows 7 build 7057. The most recent leak occurred less than two weeks ago, and was numbered 7048.
According to screen shots of 7057 on the Web, the latest build’s licensing terms page clearly reads: “Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System Release Candidate 1” – although that build is likely not the final RC. The 7057 build was dated March 5, according to screen shots.
Microsoft released a public beta in mid-January numbered build 7000. Even that release was bootlegged to BitTorrent sites before the formal start of the public beta.
Microsoft routinely warns users of downloading any code that doesn’t come directly from its own servers due to the threat of viruses and other malware slipping into the code. That is, it’s hard to know whether the code from a BitTorrent site is authentic or some kind of scam or hoax.
“Microsoft cautions consumers and businesses that downloading software from a non-genuine source can pose risks to their environment,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.
However, some users, and likely plenty of pirates, can’t blunt the obsession to want to play with the early bits.
Indeed, the pre-beta code distributed to Windows developers at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October turned up online quickly as well.
Microsoft’s developers currently have their heads down, fixing all the bugs that were identified in the public beta test, which ended February 10. Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Windows and Windows Live Engineering, has so far declined to give dates for the next steps as Windows 7 inches closer to store shelves. He has said repeatedly, however, that he’s got his eyes focused on the RC.
The latest leaks may indicate that date may come sooner rather than later. InternetNews.com has reported that Microsoft is aiming to release the public RC in mid-April and has targeted June 3 as the deadline for release to manufacturing.