MICROSOFT WILL RELEASE the RTM edition of Windows 10 to its partners later this week, according to a report at The Verge.
It's a significant milestone, but it would be wrong to call this the 'finished product' as Windows 10 is designed to be a perpetual beta, constantly being updated and improved.
That said, the RTM will be the version that will appear in the PCs you buy in the shop, and will be bettered only by bug fixes that happen between now and 29 July when the rollout proper starts.
We may not be 100 percent sure it's going to work, as driver compatibility problems are still being talked about among Insiders, but the saving grace is that if something is broken it can be patched instantly instead of waiting for Patch Tuesday.
That said, a Windows blog post last week enthused: "In our testing of millions of systems, we’re seeing full compatibility today with the vast majority of Windows 8x and Windows 7x systems.
"We are not yet done. We will never be done. We will be continuing this application and device compatibility work every day as part of our ongoing commitment to Windows as a service."
We don't know how much Windows 10 will cost those who aren't getting it free, as Microsoft has not been entirely transparent about prices so far, assuring us that it is concentrating on getting the upgrade distribution right first.
And we don't know exactly when we'll get it. We were told that it will be available on 29 July, but it now seems that the rollout will be in stages, starting with the Windows Insiders (who already have it) and then rolling out in stages, with enterprise sales beginning on 1 August.
But what we do know is that any RTM is a huge deal for what is being described as the 'last' version of Windows as it moves to an 'as-a-service' model. It's the biggest experiment in Microsoft's 40-year history. µ
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