Whether you like it or not, Windows 7 is in the making, and you can fetch your free copy of the release candidate evaluation version RIGHT NOW. The license key you receive will be valid until the 1st of June next year. Micro$oft.com writes:
Watch the calendar. The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, you’ll need to install a non-expired version of Windows before March 1, 2010. You’ll also need to install the programs and data that you want to use.
THERE BE DRAGONS!
You may think this goes without saying, being Windooze and not a stable and open operating system, but there is extra need to use caution. For those of us in the *nix world, the word "release candidate" means there are bound to be pitfalls, bugs and glitches ahead, as opposite to what you’d expect in a quote unquote stable release. This is a testing version, and you contribute to the M$ empire by using it, because they need user input to make it better. An open source model adopted by the dark lords in these troubling financial times. And probably a smart move too. Please note that although this version is free (for a year) it isn’t free software. It is proprietary software, though with a nice price tag. For truly free software see the Free Software Foundation!