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NT 5.0 enters second test round

Microsoft will release the second test version of its Windows NT 5.0 Workstation and Server operating system this week in Seattle.

    Microsoft will release the second test version of its Windows NT 5.0 Workstation and Server operating system this week in Seattle, according to sources close to the company.

    Executives from the software giant promised delivery of an essentially feature-complete second beta version of the operating system upgrade sometime this summer after an end-of-June deadline passed without a software release.

    The second beta of the system upgrade arrives after several technology consulting firms advised corporate customers to delay implementing the software once it eventually ships--a hazy date that Microsoft executives refuse to nail down in interviews. Some industry analysts predict that the final version of NT 5.0 will be available in the second half of next year or early 2000.

    Revisions to NT 5.0's release schedule reflect the difficulties surrounding the technologies being built into the upgrade, basically a platform shift for the operating system because of an entirely new directory services component and an increasing focus on cost-of-ownership management software enhancements, among other new features.

    Availability of the second beta will be announced at a technical workshop for NT 5.0.

    Release of the second beta also comes amid reports that Microsoft has redirected the efforts of company developers from other projects to the NT 5.0 program. The massive upgrade, expected to consist of a whopping 35 million lines of code once completed, will eventually serve as the software code base for all future releases of Windows, underscoring the importance of the release to the Redmond, Washington-based firm.