Following a "Vista pattern", some features previously announced for the next version of Visual Studio (code named "Orcas") have been striped from the first release of the product.

Mike Pizzo, Data Architect at Microsoft writes on his blog that LINQ will not be fully supported on the first release, and that Microsoft is committing to define a migration plan for customers that start with LINQ to SQL and require additional functionality of LINQ to Entities.

"A few months after the shipment of Orcas, and within the first half of 2008, Microsoft will release the ADO.NET Entity Framework as an extension to the Orcas version of the .NET Framework.
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LINQ to SQL supports rapid development of applications that query Microsoft SQL Server databases using objects that map directly to SQL Server schemas. LINQ to Entities supports more flexible mapping of objects to Microsoft SQL Server and other relational databases through extended ADO.NET Data Providers."

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Microsoft has released the ISO images for Visual Studio "Orcas" Beta 1 on MSDN Subscriber Downloads. For more information you can visit Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" Downloads.

Here's an overview of the new release: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=6625887

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