WinInfo Short Takes: Week of December 13

SOMEONE SENT AROUND a rumor that Microsoft had sent out non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for Neptune, the Windows 2000-based Consumer Windows that will follow Millennium. Based on what I've been able to verify personally, this is not true. And even Microsoft has piped in with a denial: "We are not accepting any testers for Neptune, as it is not yet in Beta." Normally, when something of this nature occurs, I hear about it from several places and I see a copy of an NDA. That hasn't happened yet in this case.

ON THE OTHER hand, Microsoft did send out an email requesting testers for its Office Online beta. Apparently, this is going to be an invite-only closed beta with 200 participants.

SANDY OVER AT Beta Bites wrote with some interesting info about Microsoft's stance on for OpenGL support in Windows 2000. Apparently, some people have speculated that Microsoft was pushing DirectX in favor of OpenGL by including video drivers in the box that had DirectX only support. Indeed, I have been able to verify this report: The drivers that ship with Windows 2000 will not support OpenGL/Glide games such as Quake, though they work great with DirectX games. Indeed, even Microsoft admits this to be the case: "Historically, OpenGL ICDs have been provided directly by \[hardware makers\]."

MICROSOFT CEO BILL Gates actually demoed a few new features of Millennium, the next Consumer Windows that will follow Windows 98, this week. Did anyone else notice? During his keynote address at the Streaming Media West '99 show, Gates showed off Windows Movie Maker, software for making movies on a Millennium PC and transmitting them over the Internet, similar to the software Apple offers on the latest iMacs. Windows Millennium will also include voice interaction commands, Gates said.

MICROSOFT'S EXCELLENT HARDWARE Update site, which I mentioned Tuesday in WinInfo, won't work with Netscape Communicator, go figure. The resulting blank screen caused confusion for a couple of readers. I guess the question I have goes like this: Does anyone get angry about this kind of stuff anymore?

MICROSOFT IS OFFERING a way to preorder Windows 2000 Professional from its Web site, though they haven't said yet what the price will be. Head on over to Microsoft's online store and they'll notify you when it's time to preorder.

I HAVEN'T BEEN able to verify these dates, but then that's what makes this fun, isn't it? According to a Microsoft Premier Channel mailing, Windows 2000 will RTM on Wednesday, December 15th. Windows 2000 Directory Synchronization will be completed in February 2000. And Windows 2000 DataCenter Edition will RTM in March. Also, Commerce Server 4.0 (code-named "Plutonium" if you can believe that) will RTM on March 3rd. Other interesting dates: SQL Server 7.5 "Shiloh" Beta 2 in February 2000 and Windows Media Video SDK on December 17, 1999

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