Producers of medicine have to go through a very long and strict process before a new medicine can be released to humanity. I am not a specialist in this industry but I can imagine that one of the most scary phases are the first tests on real human patients. Does the medicine work as intended and, just as important, does it have no unexpected dangerous side effects. I have deep respect for those people who volunteer to be the first guinea pig, even if they suffer from a serious health problem that has no other proven cure.
The same seems to be true for people who start working with a new SolidWorks release. Many customer wait until a later SolidWorks Service pack to start working on in production environment. Of course this is for obvious reasons, you don’t want to find yourself amidst a rioting engineer department where people cannot do their job efficiently because there is an unobserved function combination not working for you as it did before.
What is easily forgotten in this behavior is a negative side-effect that we could compare to an immunity against antibiotics. If everybody does the same, the problems unobserved during beta are still not discovered within the version life cycle. The problem is than that if problems are discovered, people will get the answer: “it will be solved in the next version” instead of “it will be solved in the next service pack”.
To prevent this, I see a kind of community responsibility. We all could identify and document our key-processes in SolidWorks (which would be a good exercise anyway) and run these a couple of times through the first release. If you can do it with the beta it would be even better. We would find much more unobserved exceptions in the first version and have a perfect SP1 (or SP0 is everybody would participate in the beta). I know that some companies do this and deliver invaluable information to SolidWorks. They are sure that they can work in their process with the early versions…
Bas (S.P.) Koomen (yes, these are my real initials)