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Windows 7 alpha released next month

Developers to receive 'pre-beta' code for Windows 7 at end of October

Microsoft will begin distribution of Windows 7 alpha code to developers from next month.

Redmond announced that 'pre beta' versions of Windows 7, the successor to Vista, will be distributed at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC), held at the end of October, in Los Angeles.

According to the announcement, Windows 7 includes enhancements to many key areas of the operating system, including the kernel, networking, hardware and devices, and user-interface.

The event will also include sessions for developers on the new Windows OS, and a keynote address from Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group.

(Software development usually passes through several stages - 'alpha', for the initial code; 'beta', for more complete software that is released for widespread testing; then 'release candidate' for the near-final version followed by 'gold' for the final product.)