Microsoft watchers turn to the ranks of the software company's employee bloggers for info that never makes it into the notoriously tight-lipped company's official communications. But they'd better hurry: Posts can disappear as quickly as they spread across the Web.

In one item posted and removed in Tuesday, a Norwegian Microsoft manager published an e-mail from Redmond to partners detailing its distribution plans for the service pack. In a separate blog, a Microsoft developer explains how the team honed its vision for what XPSP2 should encompass.

In his blog, Jan O. Kiese, partner group manager for Microsoft Norway, posts concrete details about the rollout for the service pack, released to manufacturing on Monday.

''This is a partner-ready mail, distributed internally in Microsoft to partner-managers so we can communicate with our partners,'' Kiese told

On Monday, according to the e-mail, the Network Install Package was posted to the Download Center and the main technical subscription programs. ''This SP2 package is intended for IT Professionals Developers and will not be broadly publicized,'' the e-mail states.

According to the blog, Redmond will begin a low-volume release in English via Automatic Update, initially limited to those who have downloaded installed pre-release versions.

Mid-August, business customers who use Software Update Services will begin to be prompted to do the download. By the end of August, Microsoft expects to make its downloads available to all, with a limit of 2.5 million downloads a day.

A Microsoft spokesperson couldn't confirm whether the low-volume release would begin today, but he said that the end of August target for full distribution is correct.

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