The speed with which beta 2 has been withdrawn (what happened to the old "beta's will be quality releases" mantra?) as yet another "much improved" CTP build gets rushed out shows what a farce the whole Vista release schedule has been.
Sorry, but that's not true. Beta's are higher quality releases, and 5456 is neither a CTP (it's your usual interrim build) nor a replacement for beta 2 (as it's not public). The time between the beta 2 and 5456 releases is also not any less than I have seen
in previous betas between milestones and the first interrim after.
Typically what happens is that the code in the milestone gets frozen (relatively) and only high-priority fixes get put in to achieve that milestone quality. More broader changes that had been deliberately put off until after the milestone show up in the next
interrim build. This is also what happened with Vista beta 2 and 5456.
And 5456 isn't anywhere near the quality of beta 2. Sound stutters (again), microphone input doesn't work (on any PC or sound card), many visual glitches (some old, some new), x64 uses 64 bit IE by default and sometimes refuses to launch 32 bit IE, changing
the sort order in explorer doesn't work, I can't open any folders in the favorites in IE, connecting my Windows Mobile device doesn't work, and more. Beta 2 was far better. But that's why beta 2 was a milestone and 5456 was not.