randomizer wrote:Public betas create support nightmares and also create a flood of useless bug reports with too little information. For a dev team of this size, it's better to keep the bug testing to people that know how to do it and know how to report bugs properly (not saying that you can't, of course). Ubuntu has a much larger dev team but also hundreds of open/incomplete bug reports.
Quite true, but how many distros that provide public betas actually take any notice of the testing results that they amass from them?
In a community distro an illusion of involvement is sometimes better than a certainty of non-involvement
Not only that but just occasionally your uniformed tester may well come up with something that your 'professional' has missed. But if you work from my second statement you won't read the gems that come with the dross anyway, so that argument holds very little sway I guess.
There is another slightly less cynical way of looking at this though. Sure if you just release a beta and say "What do you think?" You are going to get all sorts of nonsense back - "I don't like the wallpaper" , "When I installed the 'sherbert' kernel and switched to the 'Debian Deeply Dangerous' repos my Atari games console stopped working" etc. etc. But if you set up a public test arena the way Clem has the private one on the Community site where (to an outsider at least - remember I can't access it) he says - "This is what needs testing" "Does it work, yes or no?" Vote. Then the whole thing just becomes a numbers game. If your professional testers say "Yes" this item works 90% of the time and you then switch to your public site and the public says "No" this item only works 10% of the time then maybe it needs looking at again (or maybe you just ignore it - the choice is up to Clem/Kendall etc.).
Remember when you finally release the OS it is not going to be released into the hands of professional testers, just Joe Public, so maybe you cause yourself less grief in the long run by listening to his concerns earlier in the process rather than when it is too late?
Fujitsu Lifebook AH532 Laptop. Intel i5 processor, 6Gb ram, Intel HD3000 graphics, Intel Audio/wifi. Realtek RTL8111/8168B Ethernet.Ubuntu12.10 (Unity), Mint14 (Cinnamon), Manjaro (Xfce).