Quote: Software Development Lifecycle ...
Alpha: It doesn't work.
Beta: It still doesn't work.
Release Candidate: It might work, but it probably won't.
Gold: It still doesn't work, but users are great bugtester.
SP1: Still not done, has some bugs left and misses some funtionality.
SP2: This one might actually be done, try at your own risk though.
Alpha: Short for "it's alpha-lly crap".
Beta: Short for "it's still alpha-ally crap, but it's beta than it was".
Release: Short for "it still release-tinks, but we've gotta publish".
Gold: Short for "it's gold-arn awful, but at least it's out the door".