Sources at Microsoft told me that the eagerly awaited Community Technology Preview (CTP) build of Windows Vista will be delivered to beta testers on Monday. According to my sources, the CTP is build 5270 (5270.x86fre.winmain_idx03.051212-1830).
In various meetings with the Windows Vista team last week, I was told that the December CTP would be build 5276 "give or take one build." The Vista team demonstrated builds 5270 and 5276 at that time.
Microsoft recently altered its delivery schedule for Windows Vista to focus more on CTP builds, which might be released as often as once every month, but probably less often on major beta milestones. The company had originally planned to ship a public preview version of Windows Vista Beta 2 by the end of 2005, but that preview will likely be based on a future CTP build and will arrive in the first half of 2006.
Earlier this month, Microsoft promised two Vista deliverables for December. The first, the December CTP, is a dramatic improvement over previous CTPs and includes many new features. In late December, Microsoft will test a feature-complete build of Windows Vista internally. That build will form the basis for the next CTP, due in January or February 2006. After that, the company will focus solely on bug fixes and fit-and-finish concerns, and won't add any major new features to the product.