Why leaking private betas sucks
MacRumor announced yesterday that Safari b80 had been leaked.
A couple of months ago, Apple chose to close its Safari Seeding program because the confidential betas were widely distributed on the Web. Of course, you can't release a program that hasn't been tested on lots of different configurations, so they opened the seeding program again after some time. But despite their insistant requests, some testers keep breaking their non disclosure agreement.
Why this really sucks? Here are some of the reasons.
1. It can lead to the release of incompletely tested applications (or even OSes), with the bad consequences you can imagine to the user, but also to Apple's reputation (see this Register article, for exemple). Some seeding programs have already been interrupted or slowed down because of leaks.
2. It can lead to lots of problems for the people who use leaked softwares without knowing their limitations, remaining issues, requirements, etc (for exemple, Apple sometimes provides un-installers, or different upgraders depending on what you're already using, and of course you don't know about them when you get a leaked beta from Kazaa or whatever). And sure enough, this is already happening with Safari b80, as you can see if you read the thread on MacRumours' forum. You can even loose data and/or have to reinstall your system, when playing with leaked software!
3. It makes Apple employees's job harder (I mean those who are in charge of these seeding programs and who are somehow seen as responsible for the leaks by their bosses), and it makes other tester to feel bad: these seeding programs are real online communities where you make friends, get or offer help, etc, and each time a seed is leaked, it really feels like there's a traitor in the house.
4. Most people who find bugs in leaked software don't report them properly (whether because they don't know where or how to do it), so they don't help anyone by using this software. If you are really interested in helping to make better software for your Mac (applications or OSes), you can sign-up to the Apple Software Customer Seeding program and make a real contribution -- but only if you follow the rules, because if you break your NDA, you could as well work for M$!
5. Leaking confidential information may hurt the company's market more than you can imagine. So if you call yourself an Apple supporter, just don't do it.
6. You could even get sued, and/or you could loose your job (no kidding!).
7. It makes you feel bad when you look at yourself in a mirror. If it doesn't, you'd better get some work done on yourself before it's too late!
In conclusion, leaking private beta software or confidential information is just sabotage, even if this isn't obvious at first sight. So if you do it, you'd better know the risks and why you're taking them.