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In the News

- Windows Vista Beta 2 Released to the Public
- Google Admits It's Evil

by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Windows Vista Beta 2 Released to the Public

Late Wednesday, Microsoft made Windows Vista Beta 2 available to the public, letting anyone download or order a DVD of the pre-release version of Vista. Microsoft expects more than 2 million people to test Vista Beta 2.

"The Windows Vista Customer Preview Program \[CPP\] makes a pre-release edition of Windows Vista Ultimate broadly available to the public for the first time," a statement on Microsoft's Web site reads. "Beta 2 is intended for developers, IT professionals, and technology experts to continue or begin their testing of Windows Vista. This is beta code and shouldn't be used in a production environment or on a main machine in the home."

That's for sure. In my testing of Vista Beta 2 on various desktop and notebook computers, I've noted an alarming number of reliability problems spanning a wide range of hardware. In my opinion, Vista Beta 2 isn't ready for the public, and only those with extra PCs and the ability to handle the problems that will inevitably pop up should consider installing it. Vista Beta 2 shouldn't replace Windows XP on anyone's main PC yet.

Microsoft says it will later make a Release Candidate 1 (RC1) build of Vista available through the CPP. Hopefully, by that time the product will be more reliable and stable. According to the company, Vista Beta 2 and Vista RC1 will expire in June 2007.

You can order Vista Ultimate Beta 2 on DVD, or you can download a 3.5GB ISO version (4.4GB for the x64 version). To access the Vista Beta 2 CPP, use the following URL:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/preview.mspx

I've been reviewing Vista Beta 2 on an ongoing basis on the SuperSite for Windows. The next part of my review will be available this week.

http://www.winsupersite.com/

Google Admits It's Evil

Well, that took less time than expected. This week, Google cofounder Sergey Brin admitted that his company compromised its "don't be evil" mantra when it bowed to pressure from the Chinese government and censored the Chinese version of its Web site. However, Brin's mea culpa wasn't followed by a reversal of that decision: As of today, Google is continuing to censor its Web site in China. But Brin hinted that Google might reverse course.

"We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference," Brin said during a meeting with reporters on Tuesday. "Perhaps now the principled approach makes more sense." He described the Chinese government's requirements as "a set of rules that we weren't comfortable with."

The timing of Brin's comments might not be coincidental. This week, China began blocking several of Google's nonsearch services, including Google Mail (Gmail) and Google News. Now, Google is reportedly considering pulling out of China completely. What a notion. Perhaps it's something the company should have considered a year ago, when it agreed to comply with a human-rights-challenged government and censor its own Web site.

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