State of the Beta

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Dirtyharry50, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    #1
    Yikes. The broken apps thread all reads pretty nasty for beta, particularly all the Apple apps I just read have issues like Time Machine?

    I was interested in trying this but I think I will leave it to those braver than myself. It's just my home iMac but still, there are apps I use often that I don't want to be without, etc. In fairness, I really should not consider using beta as such anyway and I haven't. I've been following it here instead.

    Is it me? Are OS X beta releases this bug laden typically? It seems to me like some of this stuff really ought to have been caught and squashed internally before beta releases but maybe my expectations are too high and Apple doesn't operate the way I would expect them to. I also still question annual updates and wonder if this would happen on a longer development schedule. I would hope not. I guess that last point doesn't matter. It is what it is.
     
  2. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #2
    I think you might misunderstand what a beta is. Your expectations are not too high, they are just misplaced. The very purpose of the beta is get people access to unfinished, bug-laden software to let them detect the bugs and other problems so that they can be fixed. Apple has an internal list of issues and they are working on them based on the priority. Some cosmetic stuff (like Finder sidebar width) is very low on the priority list, so these things might be fixed very late in the development process. In addition, they are constantly changing and tweaking the internal APIs and the system libraries, so things break down all the time. It does not matter. The most important thing is that the OS is reasonably stable at the release.

    It is interesting that 'beta' nowadays is interpreted solely as some sort of PR for companies to show off their product early and attract customers. Of course, betas do accomplish that, but thats not the primary reasons why beta-level software exists. I blame game industry for this.
     
  3. Scary Spice macrumors regular

    Scary Spice

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    British Columbia
    #3
    This beta stream is the worst from Apple that I have experienced. Previously the betas have had bugs and unfinished features, but were useable. I have never been forced to reformat or reinstall to restore a machine to a functional state until now. I have reformatted my development machine 3 times this week alone to try and get some control on this chaos.

    This beta has so many HUGE bugs I caution any hobbiest to think twice before using it on any regular machine. Safari has been extremely broken, Mail and outlook have major problems running under 10.11 betas, copy and paste pretty well broken (how can this happen? this feature has been around since System 1.0), and on and on.

    I am astounded on how many areas have gone backwards in the 10.11 betas. I understand new features having issues, but normally existing code doesn't get broken to this extent. And when you consider this version is suppose to be a stability/reliability focused upgrade, it is very troublesome.
     
  4. Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    #4
    Actually, I am a retired senior software engineer and I am aware of what alpha, beta, etc. software is and in my own opinion ought to be. I will agree that beta is defined somewhat differently from one company to another in terms of how stable the code must be, etc. before it gets called that.

    At the minimum public beta software should be feature complete and again in my own opinion should have largely passed rigorous in-house quality assurance testing in internal beta form before being released to a larger, sometimes much larger external audience. The purpose there historically has been to find issue with various hardware configurations not present in the QA lab for one thing. This should be a relatively minimal issue for Apple given they make the hardware and the number of options is fairly limited compared to the jungle that is the PC world. On the other hand, they cannot possibly test every app or combination of apps under the sun available for OS X and that is where a public beta is probably or at least should be most useful to them. Well, that and obviously finding bugs that QA missed. End users are good at doing things developers never anticipate or QA engineers either for that matter.

    I am just surprised at how they make changes that break so many existing apps I guess. I was under the impression that the focus of this release was on bug fixing and performance enhancements with a minimum of new feature introductions. Whatever they have been fixing and enhancing sure has broken a lot of stuff, a real lot.
     
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
    #5
    The term beta does not have a definition when it comes to software. So what you expect it not necessarily what Apple expect for a beta.
     
  6. fisherking macrumors 601

    fisherking

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Location:
    ny somewhere
    #6
    have been having a pretty amazing experience (since PB1). a few issues (of course), but nothing that's kept me from working. installed on my main-and-only mac (i like to live dangerously :cool: ). all my main apps (logic x, affinity photo, dreamweaver, & the apple apps...with a caveat here & there with Notes) work. just some quirks. so, ultimately, better than i'd expect. still, it's a beta, and, by releasing it 'in the wild', it's a chance to see where the issues are for everyone. so, don't expect too much, and file those feedback reports!
     
  7. Ritsuka macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    #7
    El Captain beta is no worse than all the previous OS X beta. Apple just added the term "public" in front of it.
    The real public beta starts when they release it to the public, and the whole OS gets stable around the .3 minor update. It was the same when they had longer release cycles too.
     
  8. hojx macrumors 6502

    hojx

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    Jan 18, 2014
    Location:
    Singapore
    #8
    I was on Yosemite Public Betas and now El Capitan Public Beta and I find them to be pretty stable enough. I'm okay with a restart or minor bug and I have never gotten to the point of needing to reinstall or downgrade. I definitely see less dropped frames and transitions are well optimised (I now enter and exit Mission Control just to see my windows scale and slide around when I'm bored.)

    It is true though that in El Capitan there are a few apps that crashed (for me previous Rhinoceros, now After Effects CC 2015) and menubar plugins just don't work but it improved as new betas came out and developers were committed to supporting their stuff. I suspect the crashes were the result of 1. Java legacy support in El Capitan, 2. Rootless, and 3. a general rewrite of ages old accumulated code.
     
  9. MrNomNoms macrumors 65816

    MrNomNoms

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    #9
    The thing is that there are a lot of variables and if developers are insistent on using private API's then the risk they have are moving targets not to mention bad coding practices that Microsoft bend over to accommodate Apple just plain well says, "tough, you shouldn't have done it that way in the first place" as seen with the move to a rootless system. How much of these broken applications are due to regressions vs. third party developers doing something stupid? My experience is that those applications run that I bought through the App Store haven't had too many issues where as those outside that probably link into private API's have more issues - it all comes down the collision between what Apple does and what third parties do, it isn't all on the shoulders of Apple to bend over backwards to cater for bad and lazy programmers.
     
  10. Scary Spice macrumors regular

    Scary Spice

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    Jul 31, 2015
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    #10

    Actually most of the problems I am encountering are at the OS level or with apps bundled with the OS that worked in 10.10....
     
  11. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #11
    Sorry, I didn't mean to sound patronising :) I just haven't discovered that many bugs in 10.11 so far, so in my eyes it is a proper "beta". But I know that some folks seem to have serious issues.

    Some things with legacy apps I was using was broken in DP1-2, but now they work again. After all, they seem to rewrite the entire WindowManager, I'd be surprised if there are no serious problems :)
     
  12. Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #12
    Well, yes it does but as I mentioned that definition does vary by company quite a bit I've noticed particularly of late. A good example of stretching the definition to its limits in my own opinion is GOG's Galaxy client which is nowhere near done and infested with bugs and in my mind is easily alpha software but they have it out as a public beta.

    Come to think of it, maybe you are right. Anything goes apparently.
     
  13. Dirtyharry50, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015

    Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    #13
    Oh, that's okay and I by no means know everything of course, not even close. Like most engineers I was specialized in the stuff I worked on and that did not include operating systems. I appreciate how complex that has to be so the issues are not that much of a surprise. I was just surprised public beta would have as many as i was reading about here.

    Someone made a very good point above though. The real public beta is the 1.0 of something. I imagine by a second or third point release things will be in very good shape again overall.

    I have to confess, I am tempted to try it. I could roll back if things didn't go well with a few key apps. I wouldn't mind contributing to the process some. I'll have to give that some thought. It might be nice to do something productive for a change. :)
     
  14. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #14
    have to agree....
     

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