RC or Release Candidate – is a beta version with potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge. In this stage of product stabilization, all product features have been designed, coded and tested through one or more beta cycles with no known showstopper-class bug. A release is called code complete when the development team agrees that no entirely new source code will be added to this release. There could still be source code changes to fix defects, changes to documentation and data files, and peripheral code for test cases or utilities.
Some users disparagingly refer to release candidates and even final “point oh” releases as “gamma test” software, suggesting that the developer has chosen to use its customers to test software that is not truly ready for general release. Beta testers, if privately selected, will often be credited for using the release candidate as though it were a finished product. Beta testing is conducted in a client’s or customer’s location and to test the software from a user’s perspective.