Microsoft put a happy face last week on its decision to delay the release of Release Candidate 2 (RC2) of Windows 2000, insisting the move would not hinder the company's efforts to ship final code by the end of 1999.
While Microsoft continues to leave the door open for an early 2000 release for the upgrade to Windows NT 4.0, and sources say a January RTM (release to manufacture) is a serious possibility, the issue of when it ships is little more than a matter of pride for the software giant.
Other than some participants in Microsoft's early deployment program, most IT shops have no plans to adopt Windows 2000 right off the bat anyway.
"We're still not done converting Windows 3.1 workstations over to NT yet, though most of that is done, and there are much more serious issues coming up over the next several months, such as the year 2000 and 9/9/99 concerns," said Richard Steiner, senior applications analyst in the IS group at a major airline.
"I suspect we don't care at all about Windows 2000 at this point in time, and won't until independent software vendors force us to upgrade again by discontinuing support for their Win32 product lines," Steiner said.
Another IT expert said Windows 2000's Active Directory still has significant problems with issues such as Domain Name Services (DNS).
"We don't want to bet on the server yet," said Al Williams, director of distributed systems services for Academic Computing at Pennsylvania State University. "We have had some problems with DNS and Active Directory will have to behave better than it has.
"They finally did get Active Directory to work with an NT 4.0 domain (in RC1)," Williams said. "But I don't think they are out of the woods with it yet."
RC2 was due out last week, but now the release will not surface until September 15, at the earliest, sources said. Microsoft has scheduled a "Developer Day" event, which will centre on Windows 2000, for that day.
Keith White, marketing director for Microsoft's Business and Enterprise division, said "nothing significant" was behind the delay, although he would not elaborate. He said RC2 would be released in September, but a planned Partners Day for original equipment manufacturers and software makers would be postponed at least until October.
"We are still on track for '99," White said, "but if the quality is not there people will not mind it slipping a little bit."