Back in the fall of 2007 (see the comments from ShermB and me on this blog), or even earlier back in 2005 (see this blog from Andy), we were talking about making a Windows XP Embedded hobbyist SKU for our hobbyist community. It still hasn’t happened yet given all the complications surrounding this product. (You can find the general Windows Embedded hobbyist program “SPARK Your Imagination” though which is currently based on CE). The good news was, we had a spin-off from the investigation in that fall – I compiled the feedback from several university faculties and students on their experience of using our evaluation SKU; we understood overall it was painful for them because it timebombs in 120 days which is usually before their projects due; so we proposed making an Academic SKU for academia only instead which we can leverage the existing MSDN Academic Alliance (aka, MSDNAA) program as the distributing channel.
Several designing options, with factors such as engineering cost, marketing cost etc., were evaluated. At the end the team came to an agreement on what to implement: extend the current expiration date from 120 days to one year for academic users only. That should meet the needs of most academic users. I was very happy to see the buy-off from the whole team, both the engineering side and the marketing side. Andy was happy too! Due to time and resource constraint, the team was not able to include the Academic SKU development in the Windows Embedded Standard 2009 work. However, it was put on the team project “train” and scheduled to be developed right after Standard was out of the door. I was off the hook in general but I knew the PM/Dev/Test owners have been working really hard even during the snow storm or holiday breaks back in Dec.
Today, I am very pleased to share the news - the Academic SKU of Windows Embedded Standard 2009 is RTM’ed!
With the exception of the changes required to adjust the timebomb, this version is binary identical to the rest of the Windows Embedded Standard 2009 Evaluation version, the database has all the same components and the tools are the same too. They will soon be available on MSDNAA for download.
How exciting! Champagne please …