In today's system, the role of customer while developing a system is very important. Typically, software goes through two stages of testing before it is considered finished. The first stage, called alpha testing, is often performed only by users within the organization developing the software. The second stage, called beta testing , generally involves a limited number of external users.
Alpha Testing:Alpha testing is simulated or actual operational testing by potential users/customers or an independent test team at the developers' site. Alpha testing is often employed for off-the-shelf software as a form of internal acceptance testing, before the software goes to beta testing--wiki
Beta testing comes after alpha testing and can be considered a form of external user acceptance testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the programming team. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Sometimes, beta versions are made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future users---wiki
A test for a computer product prior to commercial release. Beta testing is the last stage of testing, and normally can involve sending the product to beta test sites outside the company for real-world exposure or offering the product for a free trial download over the Internet. Beta testing is often preceded by a round of testing called alpha testing
Q: What does "Beta" mean?
A: Beta testing is the process of taking software which is in the process of development and giving it to a larger group of users to test. While the testing done in our laboratory is extensive, beta testing will expose many problems not found in our laboratory testing by exposing the software to a much broader range of uses and environments. We beta test software and services because no laboratory can possibly cover every use and set of conditions that will exist after the software has been released.
The free version software available to use from any company is Beta release.