After seeing a post about the timing of the Whidbey release on Benjamin's blog, I emailed Scott Guthrie to get some questions answered directly. Just like at the PDC, he was really responsive to direct questions and was nice enough to let me post his answers to my blog.
Chris Garty: I just read a blog entry from Benjaminm saying that the Whidbey beta would be out in June. Could you possibly clarify on this in a blog posting?
Scott Guthrie: It is looking like the official beta will now be more June timeframe (the dates have moved recently), although we will also be publishing interim beta builds before then for people who want early access to the bits. These interim builds will have the beta feature-set - although obviously won't have all of the stability and quality of the final beta.
Chris Garty: How can people get hold of the interim builds?
Scott Guthrie: We are planning to start publishing some interim builds in the next two months. These will have the beta features implemented, although not all the quality we expect from a beta (that will come later).
Chris Garty: When will these interim builds be available?
Scott Guthrie: We are still finalizing the exact list of people who have access to the interim builds - and don't yet know whether it will be available to the entire public. But the number will definitely be in the thousands. If so send me mail again in about 6 weeks time I can make sure you definitely get access to it.
Chris Garty: Is the beta in June the 'public beta'?
Scott Guthrie: Yep -- June is the month we are pushing for to release our official blessed beta release with what we consider "beta quality". It will be public for everyone to use.
Chris Garty: Is the beta in June the one that people will be able to obtain a support license for if early production work is required? If not when might that beta come out?
Scott Guthrie: We won't have a go-live license available with the first beta -- instead we are going to wait for the second beta (once we fix all the issues identified with the first beta) before we release a broad go-live license. Anyone will then be able to sign-up for it and deploy production applications on it.