In all this gallavanting around the country and installing beta software on long-suffering laptops, I somehow missed the fact that SQL Server 2005 Express Edition has had its first Service Pack released as a Community Tech Preview.
There is a CTP release of SQL 2005 Express SP1, and also -- check this out -- a new flavour with advanced features, a new toolkit, and an update to the Express Management Studio:
SQL Server Express Edition with Advanced Services
SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services is a new, free version of SQL Server Express that includes additional features for reporting and advanced text based searches. In addition to the features offered in SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, SQL Server Express with Advanced Services offers additional components that include SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE), support for full-text catalogs, and support for viewing reports via report server. SQL Server Express Edition with Advanced Services also includes SP1.
SQL Server Express Edition Toolkit
SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Toolkit (SQL Server Express Toolkit) provides tools and resources to manage SQL Server Express and SQL Server Express Edition with Advanced Services. It also allows creating reports by using SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS).
SQL Server Management Studio Express
SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) provides a graphical management tool for managing SQL Server 2005 Express Edition and SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services instances. SSMSE can also manage relational engine instances created by any edition of SQL Server 2005. SSMSE cannot manage Analysis Services, Integration Services, SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition, Notification Services, Reporting Services, or SQL Server Agent.
You can download and install these CTPs from the CTP download page. Best place to discuss these releases is the SQL Express Forum. Report any issues you find in the MSDN Product Feedback Center. And more information at the SQL Server Express team blog.