Any Downside to VPC Based CTP Releases?

There are several positive comments in response to the VPC release of VSTS.
“Now this has got to be one of the most brilliant beta testing concepts i’ve seen in a while.”
“Yes!!!! This is the only way to go with VSTS saving your marriage and your weekends.”
“This is great!  Now you don’t have to install the tools to do a test drive.  Maybe the developer community could develop custom scripts for hands-on labs that can be shared with others since a standard base VPC image is now available.  That would be a great way to help others learn the cool stuff you dig into yourself.”
“Honestly I love this idea and believe MS should start doing this for other “larger” betas.  VSTS is somewhat of a pain to install although easier than Beta 1 the Beta 2 bits will still give you fits.  This makes it nice and easy.”
“This is a great thing for those who haven’t taken Team System for a spin because of the time and resources needed for installation and configuration.  No excuses now, so what are you waiting for?  Go download it!  =)”
“This really does rock. Good job Microsoft.”

The question of the day: Does anyone see the downside?  What if only VPC images where released for CTPs? 

Comments (8)

  1. MartinJ says:

    One downside is that you with only using VPC images is that Visual PC is required.

    While this isn’t a problem for most of us, some people can’t afford it (or corporate policy doesn’t allow it to be installed as a perceived security hole).

  2. Fred Beiderbecke says:

    I think this is great. Given the rather complex install of the VSTS, this reduces that complexity and gets people working with the product earlier. I would think that once the product is released, for evals you’d build a dvd with an eval of vpc and the vpc images on the disc. That would allow people to get working with the product without the hassle of the install.

  3. Philip Rieck says:

    I love it, myself. but I can think of two downsides

    1: speed – many of us bleeding edgers will have a spare good machine for testing that gets repaved regularly or has HDD’s swapped out so that we can run July CTP on the real machine, nice and fast

    2: x64, IA64: need I say more? I have an AMD x64 as my test box, so I can run windows64 bit eds, and 32 bit… but I can’t test or play with .net 2.0 64-bit or 32 on 64, or whatever inside a VPC. Feel free to fix VPC so it can run x64 machines virtually, though 🙂

  4. Actually, in reference to the VPC cost/availablity issue in comment 1 above, the image comes with a trial copy of VPC included.

  5. Joel says:

    Downside? Ok, anyone thought about this: the point of a beta is supposed to be to test a product, correct? So if everyone is having trouble installing the product, and the only solution is to give it to everyone pre-installed, how do the bugs ever get worked out of the installation process?

  6. MSDNArchive says:

    Joel: Good point. There is a balance between intall testing and making it easier for people to try out your sofware because they may have been reluctant with only one machine.

    Philip: Yeah, VPC should support 64 bit. 🙂

    Eric: thanks for the clarification

  7. Overall I am excited about releasing software as VPC images.

    Last summer I wrote about the issue and came up with four possible downsides.

    The salient points…

    1. No feedback to development team about install process.

    2. No feedback to development team about different hardware and software incompatibilities

    3. Bigger download. Total size of the five Whidbey ISO files (~3 GB). Size of Virtual PC image (~ 7 GB)

    4. Licensing issues.

  8. There are several positive comments in response to the VPC release of VSTS . “Now this has got to be one of the most brilliant beta testing concepts i’ve seen in a while.”