The Microsoft World: The stability of each Windows Software Version
An enthusiastic programmer will be quite happy to accept software that has a few bugs, and will be keen to play with the leading (and bleeding) edge software as soon as it becomes available. A large bank, on the other hand, will take a much more conservative view, and will require software of proven quality and stability.
Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) want to use and sell the latest software technologies. This is in contrast to enterprise management, which needs to take a much more conservative view. To ensure stability and administration functionality, software will only be used when it is completely safe to do so.
The Software version chosen is dependent upon what is deemed to be an acceptable level of risk. Can a company live with the anticipated level of bugs? Here are views on the stability of each Microsoft Software Version:
Here are my conservative views on the stability of each Software Version:
Software Stability: Community Technology Preview (CTP)
This is a preview of the proposed technology. It is a way to get feedback from the technical community, customers and partners during the development of a product.
Software Stability: The Beta Version
The Beta Version is not suitable for general users, and it should never be used in a production environment. Beta Versions are meant only for testing, training or authoring purposes – besides the bugs, the features are subject to change. By the time the Beta 3 version is available, the content should be reasonably firm.
Beta versions have a habit of corrupting older versions (including Beta releases) of the software. Load the Beta version onto a computer that does not contain any work of importance. For each new Beta release, be prepared to reload the Operating System, and start from scratch.
Software Stability: Release Candidate (RC)
The Release Candidate version is more stable than a Beta version – it is unlikely that any new features will be added. Most bugs will have been eliminated, but it is still subject to change. The Release Candidate Version should not be used by the general public, and definitely not in a production environment.
Software Stability: The Go-Live Version
This is a new category of software version. The pre-release can be used in a production environment - but there may still be a few bugs. The "Go-Live" release can be upgraded to the final RTM version.
Software Stability: Official Release – Release to Manufacture (RTM)
This is when all the advertising ballyhoo starts. The product is now fully supported and reasonably stable, but there are still countless things that can go wrong. There could be problems with printers and devices, drivers, upgrading from older operating systems, inadequate hardware, software incompatibilities, etc, etc.
Software Stability: Service Pack (SP)
Due to the pressure for an early software release, a large number of problems usually need correcting in the first Service Pack.
It is a wise manager that will wait until the dust settles, and the feedback and fixes become available.
By the time Service Pack 3 is available, the software will be stable – if you can wait that long. And sometimes there will be no Service Pack 3 at all (let alone a Service Pack 2), as the next newest, shiniest and brightest (and buggy) software creation will be on offer instead.