OK, so now it’s official. Tons of sources (see this Google search) confirm the General Availability (GA) date for Windows 8 as October 26, 2012, thanks to remarks from the company’s annual sales meeting according to a Brandon LeBlanc post to Blogging Windows yesterday (“Windows 8 will be available on…“). Now that we know, what does this mean?
1. It means that the OEM Release to Manufacturing (RTM) date is probably still some time this week or next.
2. It means that, to all intents and purposes, whatever we see for RTM and early customer release (to enterprise customers, and then through TechNet and MSDN, all of which usually occur before GA) is the final, final, final version for Windows 8.
3. It means that MS stole a few days back for pre-holiday Windows 8 PC and OS sales (I’d started to think they’d hold it until Monday, 10/29/2012, or Tuesday, 10/30/2012, so they could keep it in October but give themselves as much time as possible).
My best guess is that we’ll see RTM some time next week, if it doesn’t drop tomorrow, and that copies will start filtering out to the bold and unabashed shortly thereafter. I’m going to wait until the MSDN release hits, unless MS offers me “early access” to the official bits. I did the BitTorrent thing for Windows 7, and personally experienced (without ill effect, thank goodness) the pervasive presence of malware in such packages before the official bits become available. “No thanks!” says I.
I’m also convinced that Windows Gadgets will be gone, gone, gone when the RTM/GA bits become available. I blogged about this on Monday, but Woody Leonhard has since written a very good piece on this subject for the latest Windows Secrets newsletter. It’s entitled “Kill those Vista and Win7 gadgets now!” and is definitely worth a read.