First up, let me give my usual warning about ship dates. Those who talk don’t know, and those who know don’t talk. I said just after we made the beta of Windows 7 available
Past experience has led me to a rule of thumb which says a beta runs for about 3 months, so with nothing else to go on that would suggest updating to next pre-release version around April (conveniently half way to the August 1st expiry date [for the Beta]
We made windows available to technet and MSDN subscribers on Wednesday January 7th (actually early on Thursday 8th European time) and to anyone on Friday January 9th. So if we release 3 months later, on a Friday, that would say April 10th.
So I was slightly amused to find that NeoWin story “Exclusive- Windows 7 RC set for April 10, 2009”. Hmmm… That’s still six weeks away. There’s a gap – typically two weeks - between getting the build you think you will release and releasing it (the Escrow stage), so that would mean we’re still a month from the RC build. A lot can happen in a month. Neowin’s post amounts to someone telling them that 2/3 of the way into the beta, the team say they are on schedule. I don’t expect to hear anything before the builds go into Escrow (at which point I won’t be able to say anything anyway).
What’s interesting is another comment in the NeoWin story
Sinofsky mentioned that, "recently we've seen people talk about 'RC Builds' and the like. First, all builds since the beta are RC builds since by definition that is the next milestone. But by far the most humorous element has been that the build numbers blogged about are higher than our current build. Today's build is 7046, but it hasn't completed yet :-)." See here for a story about build 7048 and build 7032: don’t be surprised if you see build numbers which move in steps of 16.