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From "Roy T. Fielding" <field...@kiwi.ics.uci.edu>
Subject Re: 1.3a1 Status
Date Wed, 23 Jul 1997 17:27:12 GMT
>Um... Roy, we decided to release an alpha of 1.3 at least ten days ago,
>and we've been referring to it as 1.3a1 for at least a week.

Sorry, I missed that -- I've just been skimming the NT mail.  In any
case, it doesn't make any sense to announce an alpha release, since
alpha releases are not intended for use by customers.

>> Why don't we just number our releases like sensible folk and attach
>> a relative-quality attribute to the name, e.g.
>
>Because that's not how "sensible folk" have released software for nearly
>twenty years now? What we're doing is, AFAIK, what software engineering
>people have done forever. Your plan would be really confusing to people
>(myself included).

I'm not sure where you got that idea, but it is way off base.  Alpha
is a term that has been used by the software industry to indicate an
internal release (NOT for distribution to customers), whereas Beta has
meant a preliminary test release for bleeding-edge customers.  AFAICT,
NCSA Mosaic was the first significant program to use bN numbering for
unrestricted releases, carried on by Netscape and later Microsoft MSIE,
and those groups are not even remotely associated with good software
engineering.  NCSA httpd never used beta numbering for public releases,
and NO software is *publically released* with an alpha designation.
Alpha is commonly used as a derogatory term for software that should not
have been released at all.

....Roy

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