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For all of Apple's strengths, it's usually not a company that's associated with letting us do things for free. Judging from last year's news about OS X Mavericks and the followup news about the iWork suite, that may be changing. Indeed, as The Loop reports, Apple is apparently even introducing an beta program for OS X that'll let non-developers see the builds for Apple's signature desktop operating system before they're released to the public.
Up until recently, discovering what waited in store in the next iteration of OS X required a developer account costing $99 per year. Now, however, average users can apply to join the OS X Beta Seed Program, which will let you download pre-release versions of OS X via the Updates panel in the Mac App Store.
The only catch is that you'll have to sign a confidentiality agreement, which prevents you from sharing, publishing, or disseminating information about the beta to anyone who's not enrolled in the program. You'll then be asked to download a backup for your Mac and then download a Beta Access Utility App that ensures that the Mac App Store will list the newest beta updates.
All you need to sign up is your Apple ID, which you enter on the new "Appleseed" web site. Keep in mind, though, that betas are usually unstable by definition, and running them brings a real risk of causing problems you wouldn't have otherwise experienced on your Mac.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.