IE8 Wants You! but only if you’re awesome

Internet Explorer development is moving along and and as part of an effort to improve the quality of their next browser, Microsoft has posted a request for bug-testers on the IEBlog.

Beta 2 is right around the corner and we are expanding our reach! If you wish to be a part of making IE better by contributing great bug reports then please email us at IESO@microsoft.com and tell us a little about yourself including why you’d be a great beta tester.

Reading the blog responses and this post on the subtly named ‘Why IE sucks’ blog, it seems the reactions are mostly negative. Aside from some unfortunate phrasing, I have to wonder why.

Most commentators are comparing it to open-source development and wonder out loud why should they contribute their precious time to a commercial product. The reason is simple: as long as Windows remains the dominant OS, Internet Explorer will remain the dominant browser. All of us developers will have to support IE8 in the near future – it is in our best interest that it will be as bug-free and standards-compliant as it can be.

Comparing IE development to open-source projects is a mistake. A more appropriate comparison should be to the public testing periods some computer games go through. Those testing releases are by invitation only most of the time, and the end product is almost never available for free (this is the business model of computer games, at least for now). Beta testers are motivated to participate since they intend the purchase the final product, and they want it to be the best it can be for their own personal benefit.

IE8 development is similar – possible users and developers are expected to contribute since it will be for their benefit. The question at the end of the day is – can you come to terms with Microsoft and do it their way? if previous history is any indication, complaining about it is pretty much ineffective. To quote the Flight of the Conchords – Be more constructive with your feedback, please.

I have submitted my tester-status request. What about you?

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