Lots of stupid people
Right, lets clear this up.
The RC/Betas were *always* time limited - anyone who has an IQ greater than that of a cup of tea knew this before installing. It's not an issue
Data loss can be caused by *any* unscheduled shutdown, not just dirty shutdowns where you rip the power cable out. Unsaved documents etc will be lost. As those of us with a greater than double-figure IQ know this, it's not an issue.
Also, those of us who have been going through the beta/RC process with more than a tiny sliver of wit have known how to modify the version control so that upgrades from betas to RCs work without a hitch. And as it's an RC version an OS, we haven't been keeping our data in the system default folders - instead keeping them on network drives or seperate partitions. Not an issue.
Anyone who actually gets caught out by this deservers it, frankly. I'm no MS apologist, but they have gone by the book on this one as far as I am concerned.
That's not going to stop me dragging my machine downstairs so that I can wang Ubuntu, or more likely, Debian, on my Big Box [wireless requires drivers which require internet to get - d'oh - and I'm too lazy to compile the driver offline] on it, and possibly dual boot it with my [valid] XP install for things where I *need* a physical Windows box - firmware upgrades on the phone, stable MSN videoconverencing, etc. Which is less and less these days as I find more and more FLOSS alternatives, it must be said.
Hell, I might even look into an OEM install of Win7 Ultimate, once I find a job - it's a vast improvement over XP/Vista on my hardware [which is fairly decent spec] so probably worth the bother in terms of security over older versions.
There isn't any controversy here, at all. This idea of people class-actioning MS for data loss is just utter shite, and the sooner those spouting that idea pull their head out of their arse and realise, the better - it's tiring to read such utter, utter tripe.