S. Somasegar, Microsoft Corporate VP of the Developer Division, has announced that Beta 1 of the Professional version of Orcas, the next version of Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team System and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, is ready for download.

This beta version also includes the .Net Framework release 3.5 and a first CTP pre-beta build of the Express version of Orcas for non-professional programmers and hobbyists. At this Channel 9 video, Somasegar talks more in depth about this new version and about the next release of Visual Studio Team System Tools post Orcas codenamed “Rosario”.

Orcas Beta 1 is available as installation media ISO images or as VPC images with the software pre-installed. In addition, you can download prerelease versions of Visual Basic Express, Visual C++ Express, Visual C# Express, and Visual Web Developer.

As Mary Jo Foley points out, “Microsoft execs said earlier this week to expect a Beta 2 of Orcas later this year. The final version of Orcas may be released to manufacturing by the end of calendar 2007, but could slip into 2008, they said.”