Releasing software is an interesting, entertaining and always complex process. Lots of things need to come together at once and I have a lot of respect for the release management folks who drive the team to delivery.  This time around, and almost everytime you release software, we had a few last minute hiccups and for a while it was looking like we wouldn't make it in time for TechEd.  Remember we are pre-beta driving for a community build.  Anyways now the good news - we are going to make it. We are literally burning CDs today and tommorrow and yours truly will carry a bunch of them on the plane to Orlando.

If all that works out you can get your CTP build from the LoadFest (6-9pm on Monday night) and from Tuesday on in sessions and at the cabanna until they run out..

There are a few of gotchas in the CTP build we know about so read the readme (like you always do?) and installation guide (like you always do?).  Anyways 3 of them I wanted to highlight are below:

1)  We found a bug where installation fails if you are disconnected from the domain but logged in as a domain user (like when you take your laptop to TechEd and are logged in as redmond\scottwoo but not connected to the redmond domain). The fix is to login as a local administrator on the machine and installation works fine.  We have already fixed that for Beta 1, but it didn't make CTP.

2) Likewise our support for SQL Server 2005 isn't quite functional (the code is there it just doesn't work yet) so you need to use SQL Server 2000.  That will also be fixed in Beta 1.  Side-by-side install where you have SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2000 installed on your machine and you are installing into SQL Server 2000 which is the default instance is also not supported.  The main reason for that is we have an issue where when installing BAM alerts that require SQL Server 2005 Notification Services our setup calls the SQL Server 2005 SQL Notification command on a SQL Server 2000 database (which obviously fails) - but the remainder of setup completes. We will fix this post CTP as well.  Technically I have it installed minus BAM alerts on my machine in this configuration and it kind of works, but we don't recommend you try it.

So in summary: Get a head start before TechEd and install Visual Studio .NET 2005 beta 2 and SQL Server 2000 on a VPC running either Windows XP or Windows 2003 that you take with you or install that stuff on your local box.  Then come along to the Loadfest on Monday night, add BizTalk Server 2006 and have some fun with the product team.  The LoadFest room is N329. We have some nifty loadfest Tee-shirts to distribute, as well as food and beverages.