AppleSeed program puts pre-release copies of OS X Lion in hands of non-developers

Thu, Apr 7, 2011

News

With OS X Lion planned for a Summer release, Apple is increasing its efforts to garner user feedback on its next-gen OS. While Apple has long given pre-release copies of OS X to developers who subsequently inform Apple of any bugs or issues they come across, Apple is also seeking the input of non-developers as well through a program called AppleSeed.

AppleSeed is an invitation-only program¬†where the lay Apple users can get his/her hands on pre-release software to “provide Apple Software Engineering with real-world quality and usability feedback.” Apple notes that the program isn’t for everyone as users have to be comfortable running an OS that isn’t fully polished. And there is always the risk, Apple warns, of data loss.

That said, the official invitation for OS X Lion seeding recommends that users not use the upcoming OS on personal-critical and/or business-critical systems.

But if you’re backup savvy, know how to keep your data safe, and want to see what OS X Lion is going to bring to the table, well, we don’t know what to tell you. Because again, the program is invite-only and it’s somewhat unclear as to who Apple is selecting for the program and why. Apple’s website cryptically states that they select participants based on public profiles they’ve filled out and the specific needs of Apple’s product engineering teams. Users may also be selected based on referrals.

“As part of the Seeding Program,” the program agreement reads, “Apple will provide you with the opportunity to submit bug reports, questionnaires, enhancement requests, issue reports and/or support information to Apple. Apple may request this information from you through the Seeding Tools as well as by phone, email, Web questionnaires, bug forms, and other mechanisms.”

Active participants in the program are subject to the same confidentiality rules as registered Apple developers. Apple also points out that the ongoing success and existence of the program is dependant on users abiding by Apple’s NDA. Naturally, participants are encouraged, if not expected, to use the pre-release version of OS X in their day to day computing.

Apple seeking the feedback of non-registered Apple developers isn’t entirely new. Back in February we reported that Apple reached out to a number of security experts to gather feedback about new security countermeasures implemented in OS X 10.7.

Reaching out to non developers is not solely limited to OS X however. Remember that in late February Apple invited a number of noted post-production professionals to Apple HQ to give them a sneak peak at an upcoming update to Final Cut Pro, rumored to be a major update that one professional described as “dramatic and ambitious.”

The AppleSeed program has reportedly been around since 2003 but this is the first time it has been used specifically for release builds of OS X.

via Ars Technica

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