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Releasing Beta Software


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#1 Elendil

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 11:51 AM

Hello everyone! I was just wondering if there was a place where programmers and software developers distribute their BETA products/programs without fearing a lawsuit or something of that nature against them. Also, is there a place where BETA software are authorized and deemed "semi-safe" to distribute? Thanks!
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#2 Harry83

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 04:00 PM

I was under the impression that beta software is almost always distributed by the actual company through their respective websites. Generally, you have to sign up to test it and, if you're lucky, you'll get selected as a beta tester. Or, as is the case with IE7, the program will be made available to everyone and you have the option to provide feedback. There always seems to be disclaimers and policy agreements for such programs and I'm pretty sure beta testers assume all liability for their system...comes with the territory.

Are you talking about small time or independent developers/programmers (who don't have a lot of resources/legal power) who want to beta test one of their products and would rather give it to a third party (with more resources/legal power) to distribute for them with all of the proper legal shielding? In that case, I've never heard of such a site, but one may exist. And if it doesn't, it's an interesting idea...
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#3 Elendil

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:41 AM

I'm talking about the small program developing companies or software engineers that want to put one of their products up for BETA testing and distribute it to the public.
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#4 Harry83

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 03:28 PM

Well, everyone has lawyers these days...If you want to beta test a program and release it to the public you're going to need disclaimers and policy agreements...a lawyer can draft those...if you're a company or development team at that stage, chances are you're going to need a lawyer anyways.

Honestly though I don't even know how much legal action is even possible in beta testing scenarios...or even with potentially dangerous tools and programs we use without disclaimers and policy agreements. For instance, if I use HijackThis and totally screw up my computer I'm not so sure a lawsuit would get anywhere...

Hopefully someone with more legal experience in these scenarios, possibly even someone who has developed a program or tool, will enlighten us...

To answer your original question, I have never seen any central location or website that small developers can release their beta programs from...

Almost everyone has their own website for self promotion and information purposes and that is a logical place to release a beta from...

Hopefully someone who knows more about this will post some more helpful feedback for you.
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#5 raw

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 06:13 PM

I don't know the legal aspects, but I just put software up on my site or
here on BC and let the public try it out. If it's buggy someone will tell me
and i'll fix it. BETA software is after all "not finished" to some extent.
What sort of lawsuit would you be expecting? Just about any software comes
with the standard "we are not liable for anything this software does or does not do"
disclaimer.Even with paid final versions the same disclaimer stands.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

1. NEITHER ADOBE NOR ITS SUPPLIERS SHALL BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, COVER OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR THE INABILITY TO USE EQUIPMENT OR ACCESS DATA, LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOSS OF PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION OR THE LIKE), ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SOFTWARE AND BASED ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY INCLUDING BREACH OF CONTRACT, BREACH OF WARRANTY, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), PRODUCT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF ADOBE OR ITS REPRESENTATIVES HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES AND EVEN IF A REMEDY SET FORTH HEREIN IS FOUND TO HAVE FAILED OF ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE.

FLUID DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT IS ERROR-FREE OR WILL OPERATE WITHOUT INTERRUPTION, NOR THAT IT WILL REPAIR ANY ERRORS IN THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT.


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#6 Harry83

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 06:20 PM

With how unregulated the internet and almost everything on it is, I doubt any lawsuit would go far. If you run a website and make a beta of your program available for download, you're not really responsible for the people who choose to actually download it and use it...just like you're not responsible for the people who navigate to your site and may or may not be offended by its content. Standard liability disclaimers should be good enough...It's the software giants that have to really worry about covering their butts because they've already got bullseyes on their foreheads...
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#7 jgweed

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 07:31 AM

Small companies or even individuals seldom publish their Betas on the Internet, preferring to keep testing "in house" - - - among friends, family, and associates. Most of the tentative programmes are relatively limited in scope and have a focused set of end-users, so a large Beta publish is not needed.
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John
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