April Release for Windows XP SP3 RTM?
Windows XP service pack 3 will have its release-to-manufacturing (RTM) debut in April of this year, according to the Tech ARP Web site
. Microsoft Corp. has said nothing at this point to confirm that schedule. The company still officially estimates that the RTM version will be released in the first half of 2008.
The Tech ARP site predicted this week that the release will happen in two waves, with the second wave occurring 21 days after the April date. No specific sources are cited for the information. The unspecified author of the article also claims to have broken the story about the release of Windows Vista service pack 1 RTM, which was officially announced by Microsoft on Feb. 4.
While Windows Vista is Microsoft's newest flagship operating system, demand for Windows XP has refused to wane. Windows XP showed signs of increasing sales even as Vista sales decreased, causing Microsoft to extend Windows XP licensing. The company even facilitated downgrades for new PC buyers.
The planned Windows XP SP3 RTM will contain the previously released functionality of past XP releases, plus a couple of improvements. It will include network access protection to support new features in the Windows Server 2008 operating system. There will also be an improved way to tell if routers are discarding packets, according to Microsoft's white paper (PDF) on the topic.
Windows XP SP3 RTM will also feature improved performance. One blog claimed that the release candidate version of Windows XP SP3 demonstrated a 10 percent performance advantage over Windows XP SP2.
Anticipation that Windows XP SP3 RTM would see an early release is not unprecedented. In 2007, Microsoft indicated that the RTM would occur at year's end. However, the release didn't happen, and Microsoft wrote off the misunderstanding as a "typo."
Support for Windows XP will eventually come to an end. Mainstream support for the product is scheduled to end in April of 2009. For extended support, the end date is pegged at April of 2014.
Currently, Windows XP SP 3 can be downloaded as a release candidate 2 product.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.