There has been a fair amount of fanfare about Windows 7 beta that Microsoft released to the world to "tinker" with. I've held off downloading and tinkering, but finally the curiosity got the better of me.
So I headed over to the Microsoft Windows 7 page, used my Passport ID (I've got one because I have friends on MSN) and set to downloading the public beta which promptly fired up a Java downloader applet to perform the download :-) .
I have no idea how long this took as I left it running overnight, but a warning for those with caps on your broadband: it comes in at a whopping 2.44Gb.
This morning I installed it on VirtualBox (2.1.2 even has Windows 7 as an available OS type), allowed it to perform an automatic update (I don't normally allow this, but as I have actually registered for this beta test, I may as well), installed the Guest Additions (these ended up being just the Vista additions) and rebooted.
Initial observations: it looks a bit like a combination of Vista and a KDE desktop environment with smatterings of OS X. I've not really spent too much time on it, but can't say I'm too impressed. Here are some screenshots for your own amusement (I'm sure you've seen tons of these already).
Here's something that wont' surprise you: in my poking and prodding, I managed to successfully cause Windows 7 to crash:
Not your usual BSOD (could this be due to it running in VirtualBox?), but it certainly had crashed and I was forced to restart it.
All in all, coming from a person who hasn't used Windows as their primary desktop in well over 5 years, this looks like a small update to Windows Vista with ideas taken from other operating systems. I'm not really sure what all the fanfare is about.