All Software Is Beta
from the let-it-go dept
Dave Berlind is responding to stories about how Google plans to keep some of their offerings officially designated as "beta" for at least five years and notes that all software is beta, because it's never bug free. However, the difference between beta and non-beta software should be whether or not you a can receive phone support for the offering to help deal with the bugs that (inevitably) will arise. What he doesn't note, which is just as important, is that part of the changing nature of "beta" is that the nature of software itself is shifting somewhat. It used to be that you shipped a software product, and early versions were beta until you shipped the final shrink wrapped version. However, with web-based applications, there is no shipping of versions, and you can (and you do!) keep modifying the actual product all the time. So, having the extended beta label is more a function of the fact that the product that people are actually using is still being modified all the time by the company offering it. That wasn't the case with packaged software.