WinSuperSite.com has a new report on Longhorn status with three new pictures on the sidebars. According to WinSuperSite, Longhorn is going to quietly be passing a milestone tomorrow (March 16, 2005) as it enters platform code complete, the last deadline before the Longhorn development beta (Beta 1), occuring in summer. This is essentially an alpha that will be distributed widely throughout the Microsoft organization and possibly the WinHEC conference in late April. I suspect that the coming Avalon and Indigo CTP bits may come from this build.
Sometime shortly, we should be able to see a flurry of inside Longhorn information in sites like neowin.net , but the good eye candy probably won’t show up until Longhorn Beta 2, the consumer beta.
Longhorn is scheduled to be released to manufacturing on May 24, 2006, a date which has remained fixed despite repeated delays. I suspect that the date is a artificial date, designed to give management enough slack for the inevitable “slip” common in releasing software. (I predict that Microsoft will eventually miss the date, and ship in the absolute last possible day plus one week, causing the entire industry to bend over and break backwards to accommodate the new operating system.)