Just been doing some more tweaking with various parts, and I'm thinking that release is actually nearer than I had originally supposed.
One interesting thing that's recently cropped up is that I've started getting the dreaded C2471 - unable to write PDB bug. Some searching around indicates that VS 2008 actually shipped with this bug present, and that it wasn't fixed until SP1 (despite MS apparently being well aware of it). Ugh, very bad form.
Anyway, I'm on VC++ Express 2008 RTM so I'm assuming - as it uses largely the same codebase - that it's also present there, but the odd thing is that I've been developing DirectQ on this platform for almost a year now, and it's never happened before.
I've an OS rebuild coming up soon, so I'm thinking that I may very well make the jump to SP1 at that time (unfortunately for SP1 Express requires a reinstall rather than just an upgrade). For now I've switched my debug info to C7 format, not really a big deal. I am however quite puzzled that it took a year to materialize, and then came totally out of the blue with no changes or anything having been made to potentially cause it.
All this, together with my previous experiences (multithread CRT issues, b0rked intellisense, etc) seems to confirm that 2008 was a pretty poor misstep in several crucial areas. I am however looking forward to seeing what 2010 has to offer.
Despite all it's quirks (and they are quirks which I am used to) I do believe that Visual Studio is probably the best IDE out there for certain kinds of development, and 2008 has some nice features which definitely and measurably enhance my own productivity, and which I would find it hard to live without. When all is said and done I'm a pragmatist rather than a purist.
All that aside, watch this space for release news!