Finished products are developed for users. Alpha products are largely in house products not meant for end user consumption at all. I understand your frustration because I'm a long time BeOS user who has been waiting for Haiku. The dilemma is do they release something that potentially makes the end product look bad because it's not ready for end user consumption or do they wait until the critical bugs are fixed? Personally I think Haiku has been ready for an alpha release for a long time now since I consider alpha products unstable and not feature complete. I like boot CD's I can use on real hardware and don't care for disk images you have to run in an emulator. Haiku has been perfectly capable of running on real hardware for well over a year now (at least some hardware) and the lack of an easy to use real hardware version seems to hurt the project more than help it. So I have some sympathy for both sides of the argument but definitely think there would be more benefits to some kind of release sooner rather than later. Ultimately that's not my call to make, or yours either since end users don't determine when software is released developers do. If we want it finished faster we either help develop it or donate lots of money so they can pay other people to do it. Your whining combined with mine doesn't bring a release any closer. :)
The concerns are certainly appreciated. But believe me when I tell you that all developers would love to see a release sooner than later. After all, the hope is to attract more developers and get more life on the platform as a whole. It's just that more of the Haiku developers are more busy with work than ever before right now. And it seems attracting really capable developers to do work on Haiku for payment is pretty tough. The best thing anyone can do in this situation, if he cannot help with coding, is to try and spread good moral. :-)
Anyways, the easy to handle ISO image is one of the priorities. Partitioning is another thing that's been blocking, but we have talked about leaving it at initializing existing partitions if nothing else blocks the Alpha.
Best regards, -Stephan