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A Tongue in cheek look at Software development Status generally
Alpha Software

Generally this is the stuff you should download with care. Expect it to crash and possibly even hang your system. Alpha means "one" or "first" and that is exactly what it is - a first attempt! Alpha Software is likely to hang your Computer, has poor error trapping and generally needs a lot of work before it is ready to be shipped as a final product. It is also unlikely that Alpha software will have a Help file or any documentation worth reading. The worst Alpha software has a Help file for a totally different Application!


Beta Software

Better than Alpha software but still not complete. It usually has some bugs in it the Programmers know about and some they don't. It may or may not have a Help file. Beta software is generally better than Alpha software but this point is debatable as it depends entirely on the Programmer and how he feels. A university Professor who heads up the Computer Science Faculty at a well know University once told me: "One day programming will be a science and Programmers will have rules to which they work - just like Engineers. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen in my lifetime!" (Rob still has about 5 years to go before retirement). (I know this will annoy some "Computer Scientists" but what the heck - the truth is the truth :-)


Full Release

Unfortunately "Full release" has nothing to do with "will not crash your Computer". One has only to look at some well known Operating systems to see just how true this is! A full release typically has a Help file (however convoluted and misleading this might be) as well as a revision history and is supposed to be pretty stable. However, I have yet to see the all illusive "Unconditionally stable" Application.


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