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chromatic (983)

chromatic
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Journal of chromatic (983)

Wednesday November 07, 2007
04:28 PM

When Numbers Get Ridiculous

[ #34853 ]

At around 4am PST today, the last of the Firefox 3 Beta 1 release candidate builds appeared on our public FTP. This was mistakenly reported on Digg as the official release of the first Firefox 3 Beta.

Mike Beltzner, We’re happy that you Digg us, but...

Numbered beta releases have numbered release candidates now? C'mon MozCo, just stick the phrase Street Fighter in there somewhere so we all know that this is satire. It is satire, right?

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  • … version numbers mean something?!

    • Having release candidates for betas means you lack confidence in your ability to produce releasable software. This is a sign of quality deflation. This is not good.

      • Having release candidates for betas means some of any number of things.

      • Not necessarily.

        Suppose that you have an official goal that betas will work on some fairly large set of platforms. Suppose that your key developers do not use all of those platforms. Suppose that the people you have who can test those platforms are not interested in testing all of the experimental versions.

        In that case you should have release candidates for betas. The fact that it is a release candidate is a sign that your key testers should test it to be sure that it meets the official goal for a beta r
        • I thought the point of releasing a beta version was so that people could test it.

          I thought the point of releasing a release candidate was so that people could test it.

          I thought the point of releasing a nightly build was so that people could test it.

          If you're going to gripe that too many people tested a version of the software you released for people to test because it wasn't ready for people to test, you have a problem completely unrelated to people outside your organization testing your software, and

          • you didn’t prevent the release of a version of your software that wasn’t ready for external people to test.

            This isn’t the first time they put RCs of betas on their nightly build FTP, it’s the norm. It has always worked in the past. Now consider how much heat without light would be generated by trying to regulate access to these builds. And then consider that the source code they’re built from can be checked out of the repository via a tag, anyway, since, after all, they

            • (Where did you “quality deflation” argument go, btw?)

              Thanks for reminding me--it's actually a very important point related to my whole line of thought. The best place to start reading about it is Better Testing, Worse Quality [testobsessed.com], by Elisabeth Hendrickson.

              Just how do you suppose that Mozilla should fix the problem they’re purportedly having?

              There's no general fix for the problem where someone sees an empty directory show up on the master server for a new version and posts that link t

          • Yes, I know that you've helped developed Perl, and I know how widely deployed Perl is. But there are a couple of orders of magnitude more Firefox users than there are Perl programmers. While in your experience people don't show up to test software that isn't ready, Firefox expects tens of thousands of people to download and try out a beta. Many will use it as their primary browser.

            Take a look at http://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox3/Schedule [mozilla.org] and see the difference between alpha and beta software. As you see,