Bad Beta Software

Ryan Sonnek bio photo By Ryan Sonnek

I think the term BETA has got a bad rap. Microsoft has tainted the term so that when people hear the word “BETA” they think it is software that will crash their computer with a nasty “blue screen of death” and corrupt their filesystem, leaving them penniless and without friends. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but the general consensus is that BETA software has no place in a production environment. No matter the tool, I have felt considerable pressure against using beta software in my environments.

I use a number of tools that were labeled BETA and worked great (eclipse, maven, jdom). Both maven and jdom were labeled as BETA for so long, not because they were’nt ready for use, but because they were subject to change. I say that if software is labeled as BETA, but does what you need, you shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Sure, it may have advertised bugs, but if they don’t impact your work, it doesn’t hurt to start integrating the software before it hits the magical 1.0.