It's something lots of people here on OSNews have been waiting for. It's something we've talked about, something we've theorised about, and something we've declared as the future for Windows' backwards compatibility - and now it's here, and official. Over a month ago, Microsoft bloggers Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott have been briefed by Microsoft on a technology for Windows 7 called Windows XP Mode. Available as a free download for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate users, it's a fully integrated and licensed copy of Windows XP SP3 in a VirtualPC-based environment, with full "coherence" support. In other words, it's Microsoft's variant of Apple's Classic environment, and it's coming to Windows 7, for free. Near-instant update: The Windows 7 RC will indeed be available publicly on May 5. TechNet/MSDN will get it April 30.