Wow! It’s hard to believe but we’ve completed 5 weeks of “Ask Mode”.  Every day for the past 5 weeks, representatives of each product team in the Division have met daily for 2 to 3 hours reviewing each change that is going into the product.  We look first at the customer scenario that is being fixed, we look at why the bug happens (regression, test hole, coding error, etc.), and then we look at the source code changes.  It feels like we’ve read every line of source code (Visual C#, Visual Basic .NET, C/C++/MC++, and even a little Assembly for fun!) across the CLR, Framework, and Visual Studio.  The teams have done a great job keeping the quality of the Beta 2 tree high and we’ve had excellent build just about every day for the past 5 weeks.

We’ve got about 3 more weeks in March and less than 400 Beta 2 bugs to manage.  For a product this large, a few hundred bugs is a very small number if you consider 30+ teams and each investigating (but not necessarily fixing) around 10 apiece.  It is all about maintaining stability for Beta 2 right now and driving our Stress programs to hit their criteria.  We are moving into “recall class” only bug fixing this week, except for Stress, which we want to continue to take fixes for. Once we do the final build we will need a little time to produce media and verify it across the various SKUs, formats (DVDs, downloads, etc.) and platforms. 

Overall, I feel good about our ability to get Beta 2 out by the end of the month, with Stress being the "wild card".  At the same time, my Inbox is full of questions about the InfoWorld article last week on the “slip” of Whidbey Beta 2. Unfortunately, it looks like the Microsoft person who made the comments about Whidbey was misquoted.  He stated that Beta 2 was on track for the end of March, with general availability in early April, which is completely accurate. Once you produce the media, it then takes time to duplicate it and get it out to customers, which means the first week or so of April. The Express SKUs and .NET Framework redist will be generally available within a day or so of signing off on Beta 2.  

Again, things are looking up, but we're still not hitting our Stress criteria yet, which we will hold the release for until we do.  More updates the closer we get to shipping Beta 2...