Since at least 2003 we've been stuck in a quagmire of missteps, indecision, beta releases, and release candidates. Some of us feared it would never end.
But the .NET Framework 3.0 is now officially released, and that's cause for much rejoicing. Let the balloons drop and the dancing begin! It's a new age. (Here's my XAML contribution to the festivities.)
Of course, finding the proper downloads means dealing with the ever-shifting and hopelessly confusing MSDN web site. A significant page that seems focused on .NET is this one:
The top link on that page brings you to what seems to be the main portal for all things Vista and .NET 3.0:
From there you can go to the page to download and/or install the .NET Framework Redistributable Package (also known as the Runtime Components):
The Runtime Components are not needed if you're running a Vista beta. If you'll be doing development, you'll also need the SDK, which you can download as a burnable ISO image:
Or, you can get the SDK as a Web install:
Finally, if you'll be doing Windows Presentation Foundation programming, you'll probably want the extensions to Visual Studio 2005 to support the WPF:
These links seem to be consistent with those posted by Rob Relyea and Chris Sells, who both provide some additional links of interest.
If you'll be doing WPF programming, you'll probably also want one of the several fine books that will introduce you to the exciting new world of dependency properties, routed input events, and XAML. This one has been well received:
I will be installing all of these final .NET 3.0 pieces on my main work machine today, and then attempting to test out the programs from my book, updating my Web site, etc. I don't anticipate any breaking changes, but you never know.
Meanwhile, congratulations to everyone on this momentous occasion! We are all winners today.