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Guest artmartin

Need a separate Beta Program Library

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Based on my recent experience trying to post a beta program in the FS2004 Utilities library, I think I've uncovered a real need to separate the beta stuff from production utilities and programs. First, many developers like myself need a service like Avsim to host large distribution packages like my recent program. We're doing this on the side as a free service and in my case, I have no distribution website, my home internet connection is over a modem, and that precludes me from sending a 5 mb install pack to the dozens of people that want to participate in a beta evaluation. Secondly, the only way one can distribute a file on Avsim is to put it out as a full library addition. The file is advertised along with every other piece of scenery, airplane, repaint, etc. Judging from the number of downloads I had of the 2 versions I released, there are not that many scenery designers in this world so I have to assume that many of the downloaders are simply opportunistic people who download anything that's free. When releasing a beta program, that's the last people you want having your program. Avsim seems to retain old versions in their libraries even after a new version is uploaded. When I first uploaded my program to the library, it became apparent quickly that it was fatally flawed. I quickly fixed the major problems, contacted the users that emailed me and uploaded a new version asking Avsim to replace the flawed one with the fixed version. My guess is that those opportunistic downloaders often simply grab the first library file they find and often don't scroll down to find the update. Another nightmare for someone trying to get beta evaluation. Finally, a separate beta area could have additional requirements for users wishing to download - a page clearly stating that no correspondence on program problems should be sent to the forum management but directly to the developer, that there is an inherent risk of using beta software, and that there's a huge responsibility of the user to actively communicate problems and suggestions to the developer. Please don't get me wrong. I'm truly greatful Avsim exists and the library has been a wonderful source of addons to my own enjoyment. I also understand that library managers also have limitations on their own time and a few whiny users can create chaos in their own lives. I think these suggestions go a long way towards alleviating those concerns.Art Martin

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Art,Thank you for your comments. They are definatley not construed as anything provoking. You have to remember that we don't necessarily support the fact that there are beta files in our library so there is not much we do to encourage them. This is because in the past we got a lot of whiney e-mails and complaints lodged towards us because of flaws in a beta and what not.Your idea is definatley something I will pass on to my superiors though.

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Thanks Chase. I think it would be a win for all to provide that service and probably cut down on the number of complaint emails you have to process.Art

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