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Re: Netscape rewards are an insult

Josh Osborne writes: 
> Note well: Netscape is offering this reward for finding bugs in *beta*
> release code.  In other words the code that they *know* crashes, code
> that they susspect has security releated bugs, code that they don't think
> is (yet) good enough to charge a mesely $40 for!

Whoops, wrong.  BETA does not mean code "they know crashes."  In fact 
it is quite the opposite.  This is pre-release code that they are bug 
fixing.  most of the catastrophic bugs, they probably know about.  A 
BETA program is to increase the testing and quality assurance staff 
to find all of the bugs they DON'T know about.  Then, they will have a 
reasonable amount of time to fix those bugs before release.  It makes 
for a much more stable product.

Now, look at companies like SPRY/Compuserve or Logos Research 
Systems.  Both companies I have worked for.  SPRY didn't really have 
a BETA program that amounted to much until Internet in a Box version 
1.0.  Even that was a lame beta program.  Mostly internal use and 
testing.  Logos (a Bible software company) never even had a beta 
program.  As much as I like the guys at Logos, they released version 
2.0 recently and it's buggy.  Simple cosmetic things like not being 
able to "cancel" out of the options dialog, or "help" buttons taking 
you to wrong places in the help file, these are all things that would 
have been caught in a decent testing environment or a beta program.

Microsoft, who I don't necessarily like all the time, has a great 
beta program.  Usually it is several months to a year of intense 
testing, bug fixing, feature cleanup, usability testing, etc.  Their 
software may not be the best, but more often than not it is stable.

Anyway, I see Netscape's move to paying for beta testing will result 
in a more stable browser, and hopefully more secure software.

> If they don't get buried in bad press for this, I would guess that they
> may have a diffrent program with a diffrent set reward for finding bugs
> in their for-sale version.  

Why would they get bad press?

> Besides nobody said you have to report your bugs to Netscape just because
> they gave you free software and offered some sort of reward for finding
> bugs.  If you don't think the "pay" (including the posability of having
> the software fixed) is high enough, don't report the bugs.

Once again, Josh, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on this one. 
 Especially in regards to secure software.  I see your point, but...
Whether or not you have to report the bugs is immaterial.  Netscape 
is doing a service by making their app available for testing before 
saying "this is secure."  As a person who does business over the net, 
if I found out that my software was NOT secure, I would seek either a 
secure update or another company's software.  If  I'm happy with 
Netscape's software, I'll report the bugs to improve it's quality.  
In my humble opinion, improving the software is reward enough.  Very 
few companies have paid beta programs.

I'd rather see bugs fixed before release than getting the bad press 
after release for shoddy workmanship.

Sorry this was so long.  I didn't mean to ramble.  I'll get off my 
soapbox now...