Well here we go. The official word on Windows 8's general availability (you can pick it up at a store or buy a computer with it preinstalled) will be in "late October" according to a Microsoft executive.
As Mary Jo Foley (ZDnet) reported yesterday:
Tami Reller, Corporate Vice President of Windows, told partners attending Microsoft's worldwide partner conference in Toronto that Windows 8 is on track to be released to manufacturing the first week of August, and to be generally available by late October 2012.
The "release to manufacturing" (RTM) bit in there that references August is referring to the date when Microsoft hands fully completed copies of Windows 8 to computer makers.
So, with a massively different interface (no more Start button, for one), but a tiny price, at least temporarily, will you be one of the first in line come October or are you a wait-for-the-kinks-to-get-worked-out sort of person?
Update: According to an announcement by Microsoft on July 18th, Windows 8 will be released on October 26th, 2012.