I do not remember the last time a genealogy software producer released a free public beta test of a new version to the general public. Most betas are run behind closed doors by a closely-kit group of "friends of the company." This one is different: it is open to everyone. I haven't had a chance to download this yet as I just received this news. However, I believe it is supposed to be an all-new program, a total rewrite.
This beta test is free but please note the warning, "The beta will stop functioning on August 24th." I assume that you will need to purchase the released version by then if you wish to continue with the program. Also please note that Windows either XP or Vista is required. The program will not work on older operating systems, such as Windows 98 or ME.
The beta test version is a 164-megabyte download. You can download it on a 56k dial-up connection but that will take a long time. Broadband users should be able to download it in a few minutes.
The following is the announcement:
Announcing Family Tree Maker 2008, the next generation of the world's best-selling genealogy program. Family Tree Maker 2008 is coming this August, but you can give it a try now by downloading and installing a beta of the program. Simply click the link [at http://beta.familytreemaker.com] to download the beta.
Before you continue please note the following:
- This is a beta program; therefore there are no guarantees that the program will perform correctly, nor are there any warranties of any kind.
- Since this beta version is still in development it may crash or fail to function correctly. Though unlikely, installing the program may also negatively affect the operation of your computer.
- Files created in this beta may not open in the release version of the product. Always keep a backup of your data in another genealogy program (such as Family Tree Maker 16).
- The beta will stop functioning on August 24th. If you have entered information into the program that you would like to preserve please be sure to create a GEDCOM export before the 24th of August.
- The minimum system requirements for running the program are:
Operating System: Windows XP/Vista
Processor: 500 MHz Intel Pentium II or equivalent (1 GHz or faster processor recommended)
Hard Disk: 400 MB for installation. Additional space required for data files.
Memory: 256 MB of RAM (512 MB of RAM recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution (1024x768 resolution recommended)
Internet: All online features require internet access
You can learn more at http://beta.familytreemaker.com.