Latest Action Pack came today with updated disks including SQL-Server 2008 CTP 5 (Community Technology Preview), Windows Server 2008 RC1, System Center Data Protection Manager 2007.
Changes to the Action Pack subscriptions are beginning to make this less attractive. For example, the current Action Pack subscription includes licenses for Vista client upgrades, (10 of them), so the presumption is that you are not using Windows XP at all, but in fact have upgraded everything to Vista. Note that under the terms of the Action Pack, the XP licenses are no longer valid. Also, since the units are only Vista upgrades, you presumably need to upgrade from an existing XP installation, which, if you haven’t had an Action Pack in the past, suggests that you have bought and paid for your XP elsewhere.
Just writing all that with the machinations involved gives me a headache.
On the positive side, The Action Pack provides licenses for multiple copies of current Microsoft products as well as a few betas, and CTPs of unreleased software. It is a pretty impressive list.
There are enhancements, variations and stratifications. For example, for software developers there is the Empower program, which includes 5 licenses for Visual Studio and MSDN Universal for $375/year. The kicker here is that you have to develop a shrink wrap application within 18 months of joining and market it as such. This looks like a very promising deal, especially when Visual Studio 2008 is launched in February. (And they let you use XP!)
The Action Pack Special Editions are targeted at two other specialties, Small Business Specialists, and Web Developers, Designers and Agencies.