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Alpha version, or simply "alpha", is used to identify software that is undergoing very early pre-release testing in its development cycle, typically under tight control by the developer or trusted associates. The software may be functional, but the feature set may still be unpolished and undergoing experimentation before being frozen for the beta testing stage.[1]

Copland was a notorious example of highly unstable beta software that otherwise would have been considered to be in the alpha stage of development, revealing management problems at Apple Computer at the time.[2]

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