Public testing of Microsoft's Office 2010 suite wasn't supposed to start until July, but a leak on Friday of the software onto torrent sites has sped up that process.
I first heard about the leak Friday evening from this site, which also links to the torrent files themselves. (A word of caution, though--in addition to facing possible legal entanglements, those who downloaded the Windows 7 release candidate from unofficial sites recently found themselves unwittingly making their PCs part of a botnet.)
The leak included both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Windows software.
For those who just want a peek without the risk, ZDNet Australia has a screenshot gallery of an Office 2010 technical preview that we have posted to our site.
At last week's TechEd conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft said it would begin official testing of the new Office in July, with TechEd attendees among the first to get access to the code. (I originally called the conference TechNet, the name of one of Microsoft's developer programs.)
Among the biggest changes in Office 2010 is the fact that Microsoft will also start offering Office Web Applications--browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. That means the software should eventually find its way onto Linux-based computers and even the iPhone.