Yes, Microsoft is delivering Windows Vista Business as a free download. There has to be a catch to it, right? Well, not really, users can simply download the Business SKU of Windows Vista and test drive the operating system without dropping a single cent. And, to sweeten the deal, Microsoft has also thrown a little extra on top of Vista Business, namely Visual Studio 2008. The next generation of VS development resources, Visual Studio 2008, scheduled for availability on February 28, 2008, is tailored on Vista and the Office 2007 System.
And courtesy of Microsoft, users will be able to test-drive the development tool on top of Vista Business via a Virtual PC image offered as the Visual Studio 2008 Rhythm Training Virtual PC (Vista). "The Visual Studio 2008 Rhythm Training VPC contains a pre-configured installation of Windows Vista, Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite, and the Visual Studio 2008 Training Kit. The training kit includes 20 hands-on-labs, 28 presentations, and 20 scripted demos for technologies such as LINQ, C# 3.0, Visual Basic 9, WCF, WF, WPF, ASP.NET Ajax, VSTO, the .NET Compact Framework, and more. The training kit is installed in the C:VS2008TrainingKit directory in the Virtual Machine image," Microsoft revealed in the overview of the download.
But on top of Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Vista Business, Microsoft has also thrown in Office 2007 Enterprise. Theoretically, users will be able to enjoy a trial period of no less than 90 days; however, Microsoft revealed that the virtual machine image is time bombed and as such will expire on December 16, 2007. In this context you would better hurry up and grab it while you still can. Just remember that you will need Virtual PC 2007 in order to load the virtual hard disk. Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 will also do nicely.
Visual Studio 2008 Rhythm Training Virtual PC (Vista) can be downloaded from here.