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Re: Netscape rewards are an insult

In message <[email protected]>, "Brad Shantz" writes:
[the stuff with ">>" is mine]
>> 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.

I would agree that they know about many catastrophic bugs, perhapse
even most, perhapse not.  That doesn't mean they have been fixed.

I have been involved in a fair number of beta test programs (as a
tester for the compony relasing the product, as a programmer for
the compony relasing the product, and as a user recieveing the
product to be tested).  Most had catastrophic bugs (varying from
crashing for programs written in C, to kicking you out of the run
time enviroment for programs witten in APL) that were known about
when the product was shipped to testers.  The others we had absoultly
no doubt that such bugs would be found by testers.

Perhapse Netscape is diffrent, but I don't see why they would be.
Certinally I can make Netscape 2.0b1 crash, and I doubt people at
Netscape were foolish enough to think that it wouldn't.

>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.

Yes the principal reason for having a Beta is to find bugs you don't
know about.  That does *not* mean you need to remove all known bugs
before you start the Beta ('tho it does cut down on the number of
duplicate reports - many testers fail to read the known bug list).

There are also some less noble reasons to have a Beta (like the
PERT chart says the Beta starts October 8th or the project will
start to slip, and many more).  There is no real evidence that
this applys to Netscape so I won't go into them.

[...talks about SPRY/Compuserve and Logos Research and Microsoft's
beta programs...]
>Anyway, I see Netscape's move to paying for beta testing will result 
>in a more stable browser, and hopefully more secure software.

Yes, and this would be diffrent from my point of view in what way?
(i.e. I agree and wonder why you botherd to mention it)

>> 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?

Well a number of people on this list seem to be pooh-pooing the reward
program.  Rightfully or not that could gennerate bad press.  Also
reporters have their own set of thought processes and may decide this
is bad for some reason.  Or not.

>> 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. 

Ok, go ahead.

> 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, 

(I'm not sure they have ever gone out and said the Beta software isn't
secure.  Hopefully people realise that beta code doesn't allways do
everything it hopes to, and will not assume it is secure just because
it has a goal of being secure.)

>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.

Again I agree.  In fact I think the $0 they were paying before the
reward program was enough that I sent in reports on anything I could

You havn't done a very effictave job of disagreeing with me.  I
said Netscape offers you X in exchange for Y, and if X isn't enough
for you do want to do Y, then don't do Y.  You said X is a very
good offer for Y, and you intend to take them up on it.  The two
are not mutually exclusave (in fact the two views are somewhat
supportave of each other).  

Which ones of us doesn't understand the other?