<syd> beta - bugs exist try again.
<stolen from the jargon file>
- Mostly working, but still under test; usually used with `in': `in beta'. In the RealWorld, systems (hardware or software) software often go through two stages of release testing: Alpha (in-house) and Beta (out-house?). Beta releases are generally made to a small number of lucky (or unlucky), trusted customers.
- Anything that is new and experimental. "His girlfriend is in beta" means that he is still testing for compatibility and reserving judgment.
- Flaky; dubious; suspect (since beta software is notoriously buggy).
Betas are usually released in the OpenSource and FreeSoftware world; for commercial betas, check http://www.betanews.com/.