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Eric Hammersley <insert impressive list of technology to blog about here>

Ok, I just started a new beta with Microsoft and I forgot how utterly painful an open public beta can be.  Here’s the setup, post your feelings. 

*While this is worded as though it is my own product this is in fact a Microsoft beta project*

I have beta product A that I need tested on the following platforms:

  • Windows 2003 RTM and SP1 (Not SP1 w/ R2)
  • Windows XP Pro and Home RTM, SP1 and SP2

Ready, set…. Go test!

Now, what do you think will happen?  All that time you spent on the spec for the beta gets thrown out the window because half the people don’t read it or even worse don’t give a crap about it. 

First there’s discussion of bugs when installing on Windows 2003 SP1 w/ R2?!?!?!  WHAT?  I didn’t ask for that.  The spec specifically says, NOT SP1 w/ R2.  Never the less my bug database is now full of these bugs.

Next there’s discussion of bugs when installing using IE 7 Beta 1!?!?!?  WHAT?  Beta code with beta code… I love that.  People act like it should work.  Never the less my bug database is now full of these bugs as well.

Finally there’s the post, the one you are all familiar with.  “I just installed it successfully.  Thanks, Bob”  WHAT?  That’s it?  What did you install it on?  Give me more, please!!

Now, out of 5000 or so people how many useful bug reports do you think you might get?  I really don’t know but I bet the signal-to-noise ratio is deafening!

Posted on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 11:00 PM Software , Internet | Back to top


Comments on this post: The utter PAIN of public beta testing!

# re: The utter PAIN of public beta testing!
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I agree with you, but I think the "problem" exists because the open source community (whom I love) and smaller software companies have released so many stable beta releases. Perhaps M$ should stay in the Alpha stage longer in the early stages of some of this software. Betaware is too common and too good to pass up for the most part these days.
Left by Steve on Aug 18, 2005 10:36 AM

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