Microsoft has posting the final beta and first publicly available and feature-complete version of Windows Server ‘Longhorn’, marking the final time the product will be available for testing and feedback before the long-awaited server update is available later this year.

Microsoft has posted Longhorn beta 3 code on the Longhorn beta 3 Evaluation site. It's the first time anyone who's interested can get their hands on the product, which has been in private beta release only until now.

Longhorn is due for final release sometime in the second half of the year, a time frame that, in typical Microsoft fashion, was revised several times.

In fact, Ward Ralston, senior technical product manager for the software, said the Longhorn team is "proud" to have got beta 3 out on time; its release was scheduled for the first half of 2007, which means it was due by the end of June and according to Microsoft's schedule is actually out the door early. The company is well known not only for pushing back software release deadlines, but also for meeting them at the last minute.