I’ve been following the IE7 progress.
It isn’t an IE6 patch and it is far, far better than beta 1.
I’ve written some notes on my blog: www.tdrake.net about the launch.
For the most part, IE7 Beta 2 is pretty good. It’s not perfect, but pretty good. Think of it as Firefox 1.0.
You should seriously consider how you are doing your CSS right now and how you should begin planning for the not so distant future of IE6 being the minority browser. Microsoft wants to ditch IE6. IE7 will be part of a service pack upgrade to xp and as part of the fabled vista platform. I will put my neck out on a limb right now and say that the majority of your traffic by the end of October will have the ability to use :hover pseudo classes, first-child, alpha-transparency png graphics, attribute selectors, etc.
Further, they just announced their xmlhttp requests to match the other browsers. We will see better pages and markup very soon.
Consider this an open door. Remember the discussions about what true professional web developer is? Working towards an IE7 population is a true professional. Building pages with IE6 hacks is a 2005 professional.