We should be clear about the quality of our releases. The following is copied from an email Nathan sent to the dev list:
A test build is a build that hopes to be released, but typically is
not. This is what we vote on whether to release with either Alpha,
Beta, or GA label or to keep as a mere test build and not release to
the public. This should not be mirrored and not announced beyond the
dev@ list, as it has not yet received PMC approval for release.
An Alpha is a test build that we deem worthy of releasing with alpha
label. For me, this merely means that it meets the standards for an
ASF release, in terms of PMC approval, license stuff all properly in
place, and includes both binary build and sources in the distribution.
This can be announced to the user list and listed on the website, but
the alpha label should be clear and a brief explanation/disclaimer
isn't a bad idea.
A Beta is a test build we deem worthy of releasing with the beta
label. For me, this means that it meets the standards for an ASF
release (same as above), but also is more stable and complete
code-wise than an Alpha. Changes can be expected, but API changes
should be minimal, usually just minor additions and bugfixes. This
should definitely be announced to the user list and put on the
website. Depending on the release manager's confidence in the quality
and stability of this, they may even want to announce it more broadly.