Release to manufacturing [RTM]

It is typically used in certain retail mass-production software contexts — as opposed to a specialized software production or project in a commercial or government production & distribution — where the software is sold as part of a bundle in a related computer hardware sale & typically where the software & related hardware is ultimately to be available & sold on mass/public basis at retail stores to indicate that the software has met a defined quality level & is ready for mass retail distribution. RTM could also mean in other contexts that the software has been delivered or released to a client or customer for installation or distribution to the related hardware & user computers or machines. The term does not define the delivery mechanism or volume; it only states that the quality is sufficient for mass distribution. The deliverable from the engineering organization is frequently in the form of a golden master media used for duplication or to produce the image for the web.

The term «release to manufacturing», also known as «going gold», is a term used when a software product is ready to be delivered or provided to the customer. This build may be digitally signed, allowing the end user to verify the integrity and authenticity of the software purchase. A copy of the RTM build known as the «gold master» or GM is sent for mass duplication. RTM precedes general availability (GA), when the product is released to the public.

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