Beta software

Sometimes. Sometimes I read something that means I just have to have a little rant. Quite often they’re replies in forums (and possibly, because I’ve gone off-topic, it will end up being removed).

I’ve just been reading a discussion about the new Beta of IE8. Someone ended up recommending that because it was a Beta release, then nobody should try it.

Now, hold on. The idea of a Beta release is to get people “in the real world” (i.e. not just techies who work closely with the company involved) to try out their product. Or, as Wikipedia puts it

A beta version is the first version released outside the organization or community that develops the software, for the purpose of evaluation or real-world… testing

If we all follow this advice, we’d probably end up with far worse software as a result (and we complain enough about bugs as it is).

It’s like those who use ad-blocking software on their browser (which I’ve covered before) – they get all their favourite sites, probably email and a whole fist of Google-owned facilities, for free because it’s paid for by these adverts.

But then, I’ve just seen a useful piece of UK software being given up by its author because, although free, he asked for donations. He got next to none. The UK relevance is important though because we in this country are the worse for donating for freely given away software.

We’d all like to block adverts, pay for nothing and not get involved in any software the least bit risky – but it’s leading us to a different future for the internet.


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