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Microsoft has made available the first Windows Vista beta to developers and IT professionals, following the announcement of the name of its next generation operating system, Windows Vista (previously code-named 'Longhorn').
Windows Vista Beta 1 is an important milestone on Microsoft Corp.'s path to releasing the final version of Windows Vista, the company said in a statement.
Beta 1 will provide thousands of developers, IT professionals and Windows enthusiasts with an opportunity to test the operating system's infrastructure and provide Microsoft with valuable feedback.
Looks like it was released July 27th
Some discussion here