Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!
To paraphrase the great writer Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!” Okay, so I am the guy who is responsible for bringing Knowledge Network (KN) to market. KN will be released as a technical preview, which is a way for us (Microsoft) to provide a long-lead time to our customers to look at future technologies that Microsoft is working on. The code is just at the stage where we are ready to make it available to the public as a "release candidate" or RC. The function of the RC is that it serves as the almost ready for primetime release and many times actually becomes the RTM (released to manufacturing or retail version) or in our case the RTW (released to web) version. Those of you not familiar with KN it has been in our information worker incubator group for more than three years, it is home-grown technology designed to allow a company to expose and leverage their combined intellectual assets and social capital. Essentially who knows what and who knows whom (both internal and external to an organization). Our original plan was to release KN as an add-on to Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 and provide it for no additional cost to customers who had any valid client license for SharePoint. The longer term goal is to incorporate the technology into a future release of SharePoint. So what has changed? Only this, the support model, so instead of releasing KN as a v1 supported product we made the difficult decision that at this time it makes better sense to release it as an unsupported Technical Preview. Why? Because KN in its current form is English only, it uses a separate client install and has a separate indexer. By making it an unsupported Technical Preview we give freedom to the SharePoint team to rewrite how these features are architected for future releases without the concern of breaking something that we know we need to change and without the constraint of supporting the add-on version for 10 years. Having said that we are still very enthusiastic about KN and where the technology can go and grow in the future. We openly encourage customers who are willing to evaluate emerging technologies to go ahead and deploy it and try it out and give us their feedback, feedback that will be used to shape the future of Knowledge Network. So expect to hear an announcement in the next week or two about how to get your hands on the technology and to check it out in your own environment.