As we wrote not long ago, Microsoft plans to hurry Windows 7's development along and skip straight to the release candidate stage for its next public build. Now, the guys at Neowin have gotten some dirt on Microsoft's Windows 7 RC schedule from a "trusted source:" they say the first Release Candidate will officially come out on April 10.
This purported deadline might slip, of course, but Neowin claims the Windows team "is right on schedule with development" so far. If things keep chugging along at this rate, it sounds like Windows 7 might be ready in time for the summer. At least, Vista took just over two months to go from RC1 to gold status—a similar schedule would pin Windows 7's completion in mid-June.
That leaves the question of whether the RC will be available to the unwashed masses. Ars Technica spoke to Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky about the subject, asking specifically whether Microsoft Connect, MSDN, and TechNet testers would get the build "before the public." Sinofsky replied that no, the build "will be available broadly."