A software release is the distribution, whether public or private, of an initial or new and upgraded version of a computer software product. Each time a software program or system is changed, the programmers and company doing the work decide on how to distribute the program or system, or changes to that program or system. Software patches are one method of distributing the changes, as are downloads and compact discs.
Software release stagesThe software release life cycle is composed of different stages that describe the stability of a piece of software and the amount of development it requires before final release. Each major version of a product usually goes through a stage when new features are added, or the alpha stage; a stage when it is being actively debugged, or the beta stage; and finally a stage when all important bugs have been removed, or the stable stage. Intermediate stages may also be recognized. The stages may be formally announced and regulated by the project's developers, but sometimes the terms are used informally to describe the state of a product. Conventionally, code names are often used by many companies for versions prior to the release of the product, though the actual product and features are rarely secret.
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