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Did Parallels ship pre-release version 4 code?

Boxed software pre-dated final build by 22 days

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Parallels has admitted shipping two versions of its Parallels Desktop v4.0 (PD4) software with a 22-day difference between them, leading to accusations it has shipped pre-release software into the channel.

On the launch day, November 11, boxed software buyers received PD4 build 3047, dated October 16 2008, whereas customers downloading the software from Parallels' website received build 3522 dated November 8 2008.

Parallels Mac icon 130x80

The disparity could help to explain the furore on the Parallels' forum concerning bugs in PD4, which has seen customers complaining their systems have slowed to a crawl.

Jenny Ellis, world-wide communications director for Parallels, said: "The version of Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac that was shipped in the boxes was absolutely market-ready ... Whilst the version that launched in boxes and the version that's available online were different, it is not the case that one was a pre-release version, or was in any way less ready for customers. Both completed the acceptance testing process and both are fully supported by Parallels."

Parallels Desktop v4.0 was launched on November 11 with boxed software product available in stores on the same day. After a download from the Parallels web site and an installation of v4.0, the software's "About Box" specifies "Build 4.0.3522 (November 8, 2008)."

If customers installed the software from a CD in boxed software ordered from Amazon on November 11th, with no automatic updating over the internet, the "About Box" shows "Build 4.0.3047 (October 16, 2008)", 22 days earlier than build 3522. With internet connectivity an automatic update process would bring the software to the current build level.

Parallels Desktop's build history includes the first release candidate, build 3035, and the second release candidate, build 3051.

The boxed software, build 3047, would sequentially fit between the two release candidates. Bugs in build 3047 could be reasonably expected to have been fixed in later builds of the software.

Ellis said: "We may release intermediary builds, often called Beta or RC ... only testers use this version. Issuing this kind of build after a proven public GA (general availability) build does not mean the GA build is unstable or unready; it simply indicates that Parallels is continuing to work to enhance the customer experience."

The build 3051 link above reveals mention of a tray bar icon bug in the build. A moderator identified as John@Parallels, posted on November 7: "Yes, we are working on this problem, in final build this will be fixed."

This implies that build 3051 was not the final build and, therefore, neither was build 3047, the version in the boxed PD4 product.

Ellis said: "The product was fully tested both internally and externally in an extensive beta testing programme involving thousands of beta testers. The box and online versions differ only in that we are constantly developing the product and will continue to do so as reflected in the online version that will continuously evolve in its product lifecycle."®

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