Orcas beta2 is here for you. This is significantly ahead of beta1 and pretty close to the final feature set of Orcas for most components. The releases are available both as regular installs and as VPC images.
Now that Orcas beta2 has been released, it is time to look at what's new there. But first, a general sense of how beta2 shaped up. Beta1 released in spring was mostly productization of the May 2006 LINQ CTP. So those who played with it only a little bit did not see a big change over May 2006 CTP - just API tweaks, more robustness etc.
Beta2 is a different animal. This is the first time we are able to do substantial additional features and reorg of features after wrapping up the core functionality for beta1. So here is what to look for:
Now I just have to update the online LINQ to SQL paper by crazily writing stuff over the next few days and provide the gist on my blog.