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There are several points in this article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 12, 2005 06:40 AM
with which I take issue, based on almost 20 years of both commercial and open source experience.

First:

Furthermore: if you use decimal points as your major/minor delimiter, your users are going to ask you why<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.10 comes after<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.8, every single time. And the misunderstanding is not their fault, it is yours; the decimal point has a very precise meaning and has had for 400 years. You've chosen to overload it by declaring that in this one special context, it means something different. John Napier invented it in 1619; lacking his permission, don't try to assign new definitions and behavior to it.


Well, except that it's already clear that it is not actually a decimal point, just as soon as you see two of them in the same number.

2.9 is followed by 2.10. Cope.

Second:

When you get right down to it, the only purpose a version number serves is to denote the relative supremacy of one of those versions compared to another.


Nope. Version numbers actually have two important, and distinct, purposes. First: they make sure that someone attempting to support something actually knows what it is, and second -- and more important in the context of your piece -- they allow the user to evaluate the programming team's perception of the stability of a release. Alpha, beta, gamma or Release Candidate, and that metal you allude to, Golden, or Production release -- those things are on the version number for a reason: they allow users to decide whether to try installing and working with them.

They don't always mean the same thing: some projects' betas are more stable than other projects production releases... but they're usually pretty predictable within a project.

And if they say it's production, and you find a showstopper bug still open in their Bugzilla, at least you can feel justified in screaming at them.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

Third:

increment from 2.8 to 3.0 as OpenBSD does so effortlessly


Here, you demonstrate your lack of understanding of precisely the semantics which you imply you understand earlier, when you said

Historically the point-oh release signified a finished product.


So, which is it?

2.9 is followed by 3.0 just because we want to avoid 2.10? Or do we acknowledge that 2->3 is a major change, and run with the 2.10? (Hint: the latter is much more sensible, regardless that you have to explain it to the great unwashed.)

Oh, and

Sun famously decided to leap forward from Solaris 2.6 to Solaris 7


?

No news. SCO did this with Unix (referring to System V release 3.2.5.0 -- which followed 3.2.4.2 -- as Unix 5.0), and Sun is currently doing it with the Java Runtime Environment, which moved from 1.4.2 to (1.)5.0.

All it does, really, is confuse users, beyond the ability of us geeks to explain it to them. We really wish they'd stop. There are <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Version#Numerical" title="wikipedia.org">Good Enough approaches</a wikipedia.org> out there already.

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