COMMENTARY: For the first time, Microsoft has posted a free public preview of a 64-bit OS, opening up the Windows XP 64-bit Edition for 64-bit Extended Systems for one and all.
Although the company has been testing the software since last fall (Microsoft distributed an earlier beta at October's Microsoft Professional Developers Conference--PDC--2003 in Los Angeles), this is the first time the company has broadly released this type of preview software.
"Microsoft is now making Windows XP 64-bit Edition for 64-bit Extended Systems available through a Customer Preview Program [CPP] on the Microsoft website to customers with AMD Athlon 64 or Opteron hardware," a Microsoft representative said. "This [CPP] enables customers interested in realising the 64-bit capability of XP to begin developing on and working with the platform today."
XP 64-bit Edition for 64-bit Extended Systems requires a PC based on the AMD Athlon 64 or the AMD Opteron (ie: it won't run on 32-bit AMD chips or the more common Intel-based hardware).