Last night, I got the following question in email and it seemed like a good one and worth sharing the answer more broadly.

I'm just a bit curious about why you have an NDA for your SLCTP's. The purpose of NDA's is to prevent people talking about all the new great stuff in upcoming releases. I would imagine at this stage the products are feature complete; only performance and bugfixing left.
You yourself have gone publicly out and said that performance kind of sucks in the Beta releases. So it's not something anybody else will trumpet on their blogs and use as an example of how crap Microsoft products are. The only thing I can see is that people will say that performance is great; and I would have though that was a message you would want to put out as much as possible.

No, it has nothing to do with that.

Let me start by saying I am not a lawyer.  I’m passing on the legal advice we’ve been given and I haven’t drilled into it to really understand the reasons behind it.  When we are given legal advice that I think really compromises our business decisions, I do sometimes drill into it and will put pressure on the legal team to find better solutions.  In this case, I didn’t feel this was an onerous issue, and we had bigger fish to fry – like actually working on the perf issues being reported, so I let it go.

Our goal is to turn out the SLCTPs quickly and with very little overhead.  We generally start delivering them to customers within a few days of the build completing.  In order to do this, we have to bypass a lot of our release verification – some security verification steps, legal compliance steps, etc.  We still do some – like code signing and virus scanning but a bunch is skipped.  The legal team has told us that to distribute builds that have not gone through the full release process like these, the must go to a limited number of people and they must be under NDA.  By distributing SLCTP1 to >50 people, I think we’re pushing the limits of “a limited number of people” but not too bad.

In general, I don’t care if you talk about the perf or not.  In fact, if you have constructive feedback, even if painful to read, I want to see it.  But, unfortunately, you can’t talk about it relative to the SLCTP builds for the reason I gave.  We’re working on a plan for a more broadly available, non-NDA build.  I’ll let you know when we know more.

Thanks,

Brian