WinFS beta 1 released

Robert Scoble has uploaded the WinFS video to Channel 9. Haven't seen it myself yet, only just heard!

Check out the WinFS team blog too - this post is by Quentin Clarke the director of program management for WinFS.

"It’s a big milestone shipping WinFS Beta1 and being able
to reconnect with a broader set of developers on what we are building.
WinFS is alive and well, and with Beta1 we are anticipating lots of
feedback to help us continue to refine WinFS."

CNET, Slashdot and Beta News are covering the news.

The bits are available for download at MSDN Subsciptions. The MSDN WinFS newsgroup will get lively again, no doubt. Also, searches for WinFS on Technorati will be worth subscribing to, at least through to PDC.

Update i: Mary Jo Foley covers the news.

Update ii. You might be asking what this WinFS thing is all about. Here's one good answer from Peter Spiro, General Manager in SQL Server responsible for the WinFS team:

"A few years back Ray Ozzie came to
Microsoft to speak at an internal workshop we have called WHiPS (Workshop on
High Performance Systems). Ray talked about Groove. It was a pretty cool app
trying to be a platform (tough to do for a small company). As we were talking
after his presentation he described how he had to first build a platform on top
of the operating system, which then enabled him to build the app that he had
envisioned. He said he needed storage beyond just a file system; he needed
synchronization capabilities to share information between different
machines/users, he needed advanced security mechanisms, he needed a way to model
his particular schemas in the storage system, he needed to search on the
information. So he built a richer storage system that incorporated these types
of concepts and then he built the Groove app on top of his platform. His comment to me was that Microsoft should
build such a platform and stop selling the same old operating system and storage
capabilities that we as an industry have been polishing for 20-30 years. He felt
this richer platform would create a new ecosystem that allowed a variety of new
apps to be developed.

He was right; and I told him we had already started on it, and that it was called WinFS