Windows 7 RC Free For A Year
The release candidate build that is currently distributed to both Technet and MSDN subscribers will not expire before June 1, 2010. It is very likely that the public release candidate on May 5 will come with the same expiration date. This essentially means that users who download the release candidate will be able to use it for free for the period of 13 months. The reason behind this rather large period in which the release candidate can be tested is unknown at this point. The Windows Vista release candidate expired on May 31, 2007 which meant an effective testing period of less than nine months.
The question remains why Microsoft decided to add another three months on top of that to give testers 12 month access to the release candidate of Windows 7. It could be because of the faster development pace which results in a smooth process from pre-beta to beta to release candidate cycle. This faster development process obviously means that companies will have less time testing the operating system than they had during the Windows Vista development. The first beta of Windows Vista was made available to MSDN subscribers in July 2005 which meant an effective testing period that began in July 2005 and ended on May 2007. A much longer release cycle compared to Windows 7 which saw the beta release in January 2009 and the release candidate release only 4 months later on April 30.
It is likely that Microsoft decided to extend the expiration date of the Windows 7 release candidate because of the faster development progression. What’s your opinion on the matter? Let us know in the comments.