The third service pack for Windows XP has hit "release to manufacturing" status, according to News.com. Those versed in software development jargon will know the RTM label implies Microsoft has completed testing and finalized the code for the service pack, and that a release to end users will follow shortly. In fact, News.com quotes April 29 as the day SP3 will be publicly available to download, confirming rumors that leaked out last week.
When SP3 finally hits Microsoft's public distribution avenues, News.com says installing the update will be a "quick, painless" affair for the majority of users. Vista's Service Pack 1 was also a painless update for many, but it was nonetheless postponed because of driver compatibility issues, and a few users ran into endless reboot loops and other miscellaneous problems.
A PDF file containing a complete list of the changes and new features in Windows XP SP3 can be grabbed from Microsoft's Download Center. According to the document, SP3 will bring the usual slew of security, stability, and performance improvements as well as new features like Network Access Protection, Microsoft's Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module, and a revamped product activation system.