The first Beta of Microsoft Vista (formerly known as Longhorn) is rolling out. Here is some details I found :
"The long-awaited first beta for the Windows Vista client release, which was formerly known as Longhorn, officially goes live Wednesday, hitting some 20,000 technical beta testers. Microsoft also Wednesday released the first beta of the as-yet un-renamed Windows "Longhorn" Server to a limited number of participants..."
"This beta is designed for developers and IT professionals, since many of the end-user features will not show up until Beta 2," Sullivan said. "This beta is really about the platform, about the fundamentals; it is a kick-the-tires test release for developers and IT pros."
"Microsoft is also making the Windows Vista beta available to its MSDN and TechNet subscriber base, which number about 500,000, but they are not official beta testers and so the expectations regarding feedback are lower for them. "
"The beta does, however, contain anti-phishing filter technology that works against an established list of known phishing sites from law enforcement and industry groups. Users will be alerted by an icon that notes suspicious pages. A message will come up to inform them why this page is suspicious or blocked. However, users will be able to access blocked pages if they so choose, Sullivan said.
He also confirmed that Microsoft plans to have the final product generally available for the 2006 holiday season. While exact system requirements for the operating system will not be released before the middle of next year, Sullivan stuck to the guidelines previously announced of 512MB or more of RAM, a dedicated graphics card with DirectX 9.0 support, and a modern, Intel Pentium- or AMD Athlon-based PC. "
" The Windows Vista development team has spent a lot of time on security, and the beta will include features like User Account Protection, which lets administrators deploy PCs set up to give end users only the privileges they need to perform their tasks.
Windows Service Hardening monitors critical Windows services for abnormal activity in the file system, registry and network that could be used to allow malware to persist on a machine or propagate to other machines, he said. "
" The beta also includes anti-malware features to detect and remove viruses and other types of malicious software from the computer, while data protection technologies reduce the risk that data on laptops or on other computers will be viewed by unauthorized users, even if the laptop is lost or stolen."
" The Windows Pre-installation Environment enables administrators to configure Windows offline as well as diagnose and troubleshoot hardware problems before launching the setup process, while the Application Compatibility Toolkit helps administrators quickly identify, analyze and resolve any issues with non-standard applications being migrated to Windows Vista, Sullivan said. "
"A new Speech Recognizer feature due to be built into Vista will provide "speech recognition within Windows and any applications that choose to use it," according to the documentation. "
Vista Beta 1 also will include a driver protection feature that will prevent the operating system from loading drivers "that are known to cause stability problems." Microsoft is planning to include a list of problematic drivers in a Driver Protection List database that will be part of Vista.
"Driver Protection checks this database during Windows operating system upgrades and while the operating system is running. These checks are performed to determine whether to load a driver under this software," according to the privacy documentation.
A feature called "Network Location Awareness Service" is designed to collect network information, "such as the DNS suffix of your computer, bandwidth availability, and intranet connectivity," and make this information available through an application programming interface to applications that may require this information.
A "Games Explorer," designed to list all the games stored on a user's computer, also will be part of Vista Beta 1. The Games Explorer will keep track of the last time each game was played, allowing users to sort or filter the display of games.
Yay ! Now I will be able to sort my games better ...