For 10 years, we have rolled out Folding@home work units (WUs), Cores, and client software using a Quality Assurance (QA) protocol that involves several steps, including internal testing (int), closed beta testing (bet), open beta testing (adv), and full release (fah). The goal of this gradual rollout is to try to keep problematic WUs and software from getting released and to allow donors to have some choice in terms of how bleeding edge they’d like to be.
However, this does mean that a great deal of work is done in closed testing, which has several disadvantages. First and foremost, all the work that beta testers, Forum Moderators, and the Pande Group does to QA WUs is never seen. This also means the rationale for releasing WUs in their current form is not broadly visible. And while entry to the team of donors working on closed beta testing was always available, that is a large bar to cross just to see what's going on. On the other hand, there are many upsides to closed testing however, including having a tight knit group of knowledgable donors giving useful feedback for strong QA of WUs.
While there are pros and cons of closed testing, I've decided that it is a good time to push for much more transparency in Folding@home in general, including closed beta testing. So, from now on, closed beta testing (bet) forum will be open for all to see. However, in order to keep strong QA, only beta team members can write in this forum (but as always, membership is open to those who are interested and dedicated to testing WUs).
My hope is that this will show all of the hard work that is done in testing WUs and will help answer questions about specific WUs that often come up. Also in this spirit, we have opened our v7 client bug tracker for read-only access so donors can see our progress with client development.
There's a tremendous amount of activity that goes on behind the scenes and I'm excited to open that up so the hard work that's been going on for a decade can now be much more visible (and hopefully better understood and appreciated).