Anyway, prior to this week I had accepted this fact and also that I'll probably not get an evaluation copy anytime soon (since I don't have the server OS or Hyper-V). Anyway, I found out this week that the RTM version of SharePoint actually supports Windows Vista and Windows 7. Imagine my joy. So today, I tried to install it on my 64-bit Vista laptop and the instructions I found are on this page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869(office.14).aspx
Take a minute to open that link and just peruse the instructions. I'll wait....You back? Can you believe that? Microsoft really expects people to jump through all those hoops just to install SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7/Vista? Wow! How hard would it be for them to create a OS specific installer? Instead they want us to extract the installer, change a config file, install 5-6 separate components, turn on a bunch of features in IIS and then run the setup file.
BTW, I went through the steps, install all those components and the end result? The freaking installer is asking for a product key and there isn't one for the trial (not beta) software. What a waste of time.