Windows 8 Not a Beta but a Consumer Preview
Windows 8 Not a Beta but a Consumer Preview
Written by Ian Elliot   
Thursday, 26 January 2012

The official line at CES was that the "consumer preview" of Windows 8 would be available "in late February". So what has happened to the beta? And what does this mean for developers?

Whatever happened to the software release lifecycle?

It used to be so easy - first there was alpha, then a beta and then a release candidate. OK, occasionally the process became confused by the issue of a pre-alpha, but that was more or less it.

Then along came community previews and other things that were difficult to place in any sort of development cycle.

Now Windows 8 appears to be breaking with tradition yet again and the reasons are, what else, commercial. Now the life cycle is renamed just to put a spin on what is going on.

You may have downloaded the Developer Preview of Windows 8 and concluded that this is just a name for a late alpha or at best an early beta. It is not so much that there are lots of bugs, there are quite a few, but there are a lot of missing features. Any software that is incomplete can't really be a true beta, but you can argue the point.




Now a number of sources are reporting the words used at CES to describe the forthcoming Windows 8 "beta":

“We haven’t talked about the release date and we generally don’t. We are talking milestone to milestone, so for us right now we’re talking about the next milestone being the consumer preview happening in late February.”
(Source: PocketLint)

Notice the use of the term "consumer preview". So it isn't a beta but something that is good enough for end-users to play with. It makes it sound as if the code is much closer to being finished and a release candidate than the term "beta" would.

So now, according to Microsoft, the release lifecycle goes:

  1. Developer Preview - let developers play with it and produce early prototype applications that probably won't work on later releases.
  2. Consumer Preview - let consumers play with it while the developers try to catch up with the changes to the APIs.
  3. Then what? Do we move to an OEM Preview or straight to the shipping version?

This has more to do with spin than anything else and it damages the communication between Microsoft and its developer community.

What are we to expect of a Consumer Preview?

Is it a buggy beta, feature complete or an almost ready to go code base? Are we to treat it with care, look out for another major release, expect changes, or what?

There are some real advantages in sticking to old fashioned well understood jargon.








or email your comment to:


To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Google+, Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook or sign up for our weekly newsletter.



Google's DeepMind Files AI Patents

When you see the list of patents that DeepMind has filed you will be shocked and not in awe. It reinforces not learning, but the idea that all software patents are stupid.

New Record For Simultaneously Dancing Robots

The latest Guinness World Record for the largest number of robots dancing simultaneously was set on February 1st 2018 during the San Remo music festival in Rome when 1372 sub-knee-high robots wer [ ... ]

More News

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 January 2012 )

RSS feed of news items only
I Programmer News
Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.