Microsoft has decided to delay the release of SQL Server 2005 from the first half of 2005 until later in the summer of that year. A Community Technical Preview will be released as an interim beta with possibly more to come before the final beta and the product’s eventual release.
On the www.asp.net forums (the architecture section), a person asked in the 'Your favorite O/R mapper' thread, why someone would use a 3rd party component for data-access and why would that be an O/R mapper and if so, which one? I've tried to answer these questions in that thread, but because I think it can be of benefit for more people than just the readers of that long forum thread, I've reworked the text into an article you'll find below. Keep in mind I've tried to keep things simple to understand, so perhaps I've left out a detail here and there, however I don't think these details will matter much to the overall conclusions and descriptions. As I've addressed a couple of questions, which I think are related to each other, I've re-written the forum response as a Q & A.