Alpha v2.0 <-- very old
Beta v1.0 <--- newer (newer then Alpha v2.0)
Beta v1.2 - v1.2.1 - v1.2.3
Beta v1.3 <- not released yet
There is a difference in Alpha & Beta. Alpha means a highly unstable version which still has a lot of bugs & problems. A beta version is like an alpha version, but very less bugged, and less problems. With other words, Beta versions are always newer then alpha versions.
No, it was way before that. I joined these boards in late 2002, right around the time Beta 1.0 was released. I remember playing Alpha for a few days, then foaming at the mouth for 80+ hours as I downloaded Beta 1.0 over dialup.