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Software Version Numbering After 2000? 524

Posted by Cliff
from the will-2002-be-the-next-version-number-after-2000 dept.
apsmith wrote in wondering what software makers (like Microsoft) will be doing with their software versioning now that we've passed the year 2000 milestone. It's a humorous look at software versioning and it poses some interesting questions. What do you do when you cease using a sensible versioning system in favor of marketing hype (ala "Windows 2000")? Click below for the full text.

apsmith asks: "As I just heard that Microsoft is naming the next version of its database SQL Server 2000 it got me wondering - what happens to all these software products with big "version numbers" in a couple of years when 2000 seems like ancient history? Will we see more factor-of-20 leaps to Office 65535, Windows 1048575, etc? Merely modifying the fourth digit of the version number seems too insignificant to make upgrading seem worth the hassle - does Windows 2008 catch your eye any differently than Windows 2005?

It's not just Microsoft products that seem to have written themselves into a corner with high version numbers, though they are probably the worst. But even Emacs is up to version 20. Sun pushed Solaris from 2.6 to 7. RedHat at 6.1 is somehow way beyond the Linux kernel. At the other extreme is the model that Donald Knuth took for TeX, with the version numbers slowly approaching Pi (the latest teTeX distribution has TeX version 3.14159) but TeX hasn't changed much in the last 10 years either, so a lot of extra pieces have evolved around it to keep it functional.

In the real non-hyped world it seems any version number over 5 or 6 implies it's about time to switch to a new product or start over from scratch. There are countless examples - from recent history think of libc6 -> glibc2 (a bit of a mess there), HTML 5 -> XHTML, or perhaps even Netscape 5 -> Mozilla. Or is that just a geek's view of the universe? How should we be numbering our products these days? And what is Microsoft going to do after 2000? "

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Software Version Numbering After 2000?

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  • oracle is in what, version 9 or 10 or something? people still buy their stuff. i don't think people are all that concerned with versioning. besides, thats a job for marketing, isn't it?
  • by Imperator (17614) <slashdot2 @ o mershenker.net> on Saturday January 01, 2000 @10:30AM (#1421053)
    If your product has a single digit version and you're running out of integers, switch to hexadecimal. You can say you were using hex all along. Or do what Apple is doing, and move to Roman numerals.
  • Slackware [slackware.com] just recently jumped from 4 to 7. Here's their explanation why [slackware.com]. Personally I think its peer pressure... RedHat is in the 6.whatever tree and people look at Slack 4.0 and think, perhaps even subconsciously, "Hey this RedHat thing has a bigger number... that must mean it's better!" It's all a matter of marketing and psychology.

    I'm just waiting for the day where version numbers skyrocket into absurd numbers. "Yeah I installed Windows 2010 the other day.." "2010 as in the year?" "No, just version 2010." ;)
  • It's just Centry 21, 20th Century Fox, and Century of Progress productions that are in trouble. Version numbers are completely screwed. Everyone knows it doesn't matter. Photoshop 5.5 is not a worthy upgrade from 5.0, Mac OS 9 is not much different then 8.6. Dreamweaver 3 is a great improvement over 2. People will still upgrade based on reviews, features, and advice, not by number. REAL computer users know the difference between hype and reality.
  • by SEWilco (27983)
    Windows 2001 is obvious and an accepted futuristic number. What is significant is what the marketing people will feel about 2002 and higher numbers.

    I prefer ignoring the calendar for version numbers, and eagerly wait for the end of testing and appearance of:

    /. 1.0
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Knowing microsoft, they'll probably just come up with some new name for the program after a while.

    I don't think there's a problem with increasing from 2000 to 2008. After all, if there was a program I liked that was in version 3.1, I'd download the 3.2 version when it comes out. Microsoft has been increasing Windows versions like that for a while; Windows 95 -> 98 -> 2000. It was just an amazing coincidence that we approached this age in the history of computers just when Y2K hit - and Microsoft and others benefitted from it.

    Also don't forget that software becomes obsolete after a while. Eventually, someday, somewhere, there won't be Windows, but an operating system (produced by MS) that replaces it. Look at NT. Maybe they'll make something else like that.

  • by Ranger Rick (197) <slashdot@@@raccoonfink...com> on Saturday January 01, 2000 @10:43AM (#1421061) Homepage
    Windows 2001 is obvious and an accepted futuristic number.

    Yeah, I can see it now:

    "Open the CD-ROM bay door, BIL."
    "I'm sorry, I can't do that Dave."

  • Remember Windows 95? Windows 98? Windows 2000? Seeing a pattern? What's wrong with just naming the software for the year it's released (or close to it)? Of course that makes it difficult if you have multiple releases in a year, but who cares? You call the second version released in 2000 "Product 2000, release 2" or something. I don't see how this is a big deal.
  • Apparantly people were e-mailing Patrick Volkerding and asking him "Why is your Linux not 'version 6' yet?"... and he just snapped. =) Maybe we should write "Understanding-Linux-Versioning-HOWTO". =)
  • Well, FYI....
    In the windows nt series, next is windows 2000, so windows 2000 is basically NT 5.

    As for the windows 3.1, 95, 98 series, next will be windows millenium. Although, it will be called windows 98 millenium edition. So it will be first release, second release, the millenium, of windows 98.

    Originally, windows 2000, was supposed to be windows nt and the other series (95,98) integrated, but that didn't work out... i'll find an article in a min and probably reply to my own for it...

    This is all great, except for the fact that windows kinda sucks... oh well.
  • What about 20th Century Fox? It seems like they're content is going to sound a bit outdated in a year.

    What will happen to Century 21 (Real Estate) in 101 years?

    I'm sure there are other companies with names that have expiration dates...

  • There is nothing intrinsically wrong with versioning based on the year, with subversions and revisions on each major version change as long as the versioning system does not affect the quality/timing of releases, encourage unneccesary releases, AND each release is clearly and unambigiously distinguishable from each other, with the chronological progression and extent of changes between releases obvious.

    I think that basing the main version number of a piece of software is sometimes a very logical idea. It gives an intuitive understanding of the time period in which a software release occurred, unlike, for example, the Linux kernel versioning system.

    Which is not to say that version numbers based on years are always good. Witness Windows 95 and 98 and the games MS played with OSR releases, OEM versions, Second Edition, Retail releases, etc.
  • by VAXman (96870) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @10:47AM (#1421069)
    I think year versioning makes sense, especially since software revisions tend to be every year or every couple of years. It is easy to pinpoint exactly which products go together, and how up-to-date your package is (which is good from a marketing standpoint). On something like VMS, the current OS version is 7.2, the current DEC C is 5.6, the LSE editor is something like 11.2. The version numbers are all out of sync. A number like 7.2 is meaningless. With Linux it is even worse, especially with the kernel version and distribution version out of sync, and all other product versions out of sync. For Microsoft products, it is obvious that Windows 2000 is the most up to date version, that Office 2000 goes with Windows 2000, etc., so I think that's good. I hope that VMS and Unix products go towards year versioning. The bottom line is that a year version means something, while an ordinary version is meaningless and arbitrary.

    I also hope hardware goes to year versioning also. What does 21264 mean? What makes Pentium II newer than Pentium Pro? It would be much easier if it was "Pentium 2000", "Alpha 2000", etc.

    Cars use that convention. As computers become consumer type appliances, it makes sense that they use the conventions also.
  • by jlb (78725)
    They really are confusing everything. Can you imagine trying to explain to your manager the difference between 2000 and millenium?

    I could see it creating some major confusion.

    But that's okay, I don't know anything but software development houses that are intending to adopt win2k anytime soon anyway.

  • by elixir (21353) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @10:48AM (#1421071) Homepage
    I like the way many Linux distributions code name releases. (Manhattan, Slink, Potatoe, etc.) Why can't we do that more often? I think it's much easier to remember Cheese vs Potatoe rather than say 5.1 vs 5.0.1. I'm not saying loose the numbers altogether, but just emphisize the code name more.

    Either code names or we can use another industries system... (GT, VR-4, SX, GS, etc.)

    Spice it up!
  • The versioning system I have seen on some Linux programs, especially when browsing freshmeat, seems to be the most sensical. Want to know what version of WINE you're running? It's WINE 121299. This method of versioning lets you know how old the program is, and when it was released, instead of the old increasing digit numbering system. I.E., if I have Foo version 4.6, how old is that?

  • Numbering products which are updated every couple of years by the release date is about as valid as anything else, so long as they continue doing it that way.

    Chessmaster once had versions based on the chess engine's play rating. Up to about 2100 or something; after that, 3000, 4000, ... 7000 (or whatever it is now), the numbers were merely marketing hype. This inspired a competing product called 'Chess Maniac 5.1 Billion' or some such which was just trying to have the ultimate version number.

    Does 'Windows 2005' really make less sense than, say, 'Mandrake 7.0'?

  • by Money__ (87045) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @10:59AM (#1421079)
    Mozilla has it right.
    I want nightly builds.
    Access to the bug database.
    Browse the source.
    My advise to software marketeers?

    Release early and release often, and above all, be open.
    _________________________

  • Microprocessors have code names also, but they are hard to remember:

    P6 -> Pentium Pro
    Klamath -> Pentium II at slower speeds
    Deschutes -> Pentium II at faster speeds
    Katmai -> Pentium III at slower speeds
    Tanner -> Pentium III Xeon at slower speeds
    Coppermine -> Pentium III at fast speeds
    Cascades -> Pentium III Xeon at fast speeds
    Dixon -> Some mobile Pentium
    Mendocino -> Some Celeron version
    Etc. Etc.

    Personally, I think Pentium Pro/II/III (etc.) are much eaiser to deal with than the code names are. :-)

  • I used slaskware when I guess versioning was a bit more sane 3.4 and 3.5 and 3.6.
    Why do people get so irritated about being hassled via e-mail? If I get hassled via e-mail I can just ignore the more innane e-mails and go on in life. What would be more irritating would be personal harassment via face-to-face communication.
  • "For Microsoft products, it is obvious that Windows 2000 is the most up to date version, that Office 2000 goes with Windows 2000, etc., so I think that's good."

    NO!!!! You can use a version of Office released in the early 90s if you want with Windows 2000. Microsoft only wants you to buy Office 2000 so that you gain the supposed benefits of "being up to date" or having the version numbers match up. This is utterly ridiculous; if your version of Office does what you need it to do, then why bother getting Office 2000 to get the same number as the operating system. In this context, a year version means absolutely NOTHING; it is used to deliberately [yes, split infinitive] create the false impression that one must upgrade (at a fee, of course) to get the full benefits of the new operating system.

    Traditional version numbers make sense IF you know about the software that you are using. Computers are not black box, consumer appliances in the same sense as cars. Sure, it would be great if they were easier for a novice to use, however, several important differences exist. First among them, the differences among cars from varying years is practically *non-existent* while computers and software [should] have meaningful changes and improvements between versions.

    Your analogy is flawed, as is your premise that year-based versioning is neccesarily or intrinsically superior to other versioning systems.
  • by retep (108840) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @11:09AM (#1421092)

    Year-based naming may be nice and easy to follow. But you have to remember that when you say Windows 95 it "feels" old. Tieing the name to the year the software was released is just a way of making sure people remember how old their software is.


  • I like the way the Linux kernel does its version numbers. major versions first, minor second, and bug fixes.

    However, unless you know Linux a person purchasing a boxed set may not understand the odd number in the minor version column means "development".

    Or they may be confused when the see the ac12 stuff as well.

    Going by year probably makes the most sense in a marketing situation. It would be the least confusing for the customer.


    On the subject of where Windows could go:

    Windows Googol
    Windows Googolplex Back Office Server.

    Then of course: Windows Infinity

    They will have to by a speaker manufacturer to get that name but that should be pocket change for them. Then again maybe they could convince us all they thought of it before Infinity did.
  • by slashdot-terminal (83882) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @11:13AM (#1421097) Homepage
    I have had various problems with some packages in debian unstable. Because of ongoing levels of development substantial changes can occur from say
    package-1.0.4-45 to package-1.0.4-46 with various security fixes and improvements etc. Upgrading to the newest version will often times allow you to use the latest features that the community around you uses. If you don't upgrade I think that some people are just afraid or clueless. Just like some idiots who still run dos version say 6.0 instead of 6.22 despite various changes ( I have seen them). Running say kernel 2.0.33 differences from 2.0.34 may not be in the actual changes to the kernel but from various contemporary changes in patches and add on features that the community will add to 2.0.34 and not 2.0.33 because it is the latest thing.
  • by Plasmic (26063) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @11:15AM (#1421099)
    Year Versioning is only half of the solution:

    Even Windows 98 has a Second Edition and countless updates, Windows NT/2000 have always had build numbers, and the list goes on and on. What it amounts to is that 'year versioning' is the marketing/public side of versioning, and the real versioning takes place in the alleys, with my Internet Explorer 5's version at 5.00.2919.6307 q246094 (really!), and Office 97 at Service Release 2b and the Jet 3.5 update.

    What it amounts to (as far as most people are concerned) is that year versioning is good for when I'm talking to my relatives so that all I have to do is say "does the screen with clouds at the beginning say 95 or 98?" to begin troubleshooting their problems at Christmas get-togethers, but when I'm talking to computer-savvy folks, things like "Slackware 7.0" don't even begin to describe what's really inside my box.
  • Back when word leaked out that the then next release of Windows would be named after the year (95), there was a lot of talk that Microsoft would have to back off and return to standard versioning schemes. Those who said so cited the apparent failures of other attempts at year versioning (Mace Utilities 90 which later faded out of sight, and Illustrator 89, which was followed by Illustrator 5.0).

    5 years later, it seems as if Microsoft succeeded in doing things their way, and now everybody is wondering whether this is where the industry will be headed.

    I for one think year versioning is stupid. It doesn't, as Microsoft and others claimed, help customers unambiguously identify a product's latest release. Take a look at the (at least) four different versions of Win95. A major.minor versioning scheme would have been better for identifying the latest release.

    Then you have the "year" releases of other products, and then you see the "clearer" year versioning scheme fail as you see people talking about "windows 97" (since a big "97" pops up when they run Word or Excel from Office97) or Windows 2000 (same thing, except they bought Office 2000). It makes knowing *what* version people have a nightmare.

    Also, as with cars, you have year-named stuff being released before the year. How does a common mortal know that office 2000 was *not* released in 2000? How will it help when, in 2001, say they release Windows 3500 and Office 16384? And since they are no longer sticking to the "name it for the year it was released" scheme, how do I know whether my version of Office 2000 is the latest, or has been superseded by "Office 2048", released by microsoft heralding the coming of power-of-2-based versioning schemes?

    I say just use the tried-and-true major.minor.revision scheme.. it has worked well for years.

  • by THB (61664) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @11:20AM (#1421107)
    I hate the way that sun versions their product. SunOS 5.7 = Solaris 2.7 = Solaris 7
    This becomes worse when you are also dealing with people running different verions of both Solaris and SunOS.

    What seems to have happened with both MS and Sun is that the marketing people are now controlling the versions, not the developers.
    Solaris 7 sounds (at least in their eyes) more mature than 2.7, and microsoft follows the same logic with with windows 2000 over NT 5.0.

    I think that microsoft will stick with the year system at least until the two braches are merged, which was what was supposed to happen with 2000, oh well.
  • by ChrisRijk (1818) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @11:22AM (#1421109)
    Sun have a page & FAQ [sun.com] about this change. It is basically just marketing. I think their statement about how that the '2.' part is basically redundant because they have no changes planned that would justify a '3.' release, is pretty fair. So, instead of Solaris 2.5,2.6,2.7,2.8, they did "Solaris 7", the next is "Solaris 8", to be followed by "Solaris 9".

    btw, unlike what some people do, the name only shows up in marketing/documentation/logos. With 'uname', the OS reports itself as being SunOS 5.7! (Solaris 2.X is SunOS 5.X) Backwards compatible with 2 levels of marketing re-branding ^-^

    I don't particularly care what Microsoft do... btw, The Register has an amusing article on "Microsoft Year 2000" [theregister.co.uk].

  • If someone says they are using Windows 2000 what does that mean? Windows 2000 is a designation for a series of products not just one product. There is Windows 2000 Professional, Server and Advanced Server. And probably more to come. Now what will they call the next version of Windows 98? They can't call it Windows 2001 or 2002. Or how about Windows 01 or 02? Most likely they'll called it Windows 200x Standard or Home Edition. Also when making subversions can be irritating. There were 4 version of Windows 95. There was 95, 95A, 95B and 95C. And there is 2 versions of Windows 98 which is 98 and Second Edition. This all leads to a lot of chaos in technical support. But because Microsoft has to focus more on marketting and fooling the customer then on producing a better product. Which I think is the first sign of a company faultering.
  • Perhaps choose a code name with the first letter indicating the version number. Clearly Manhattan should be older than Slink.

    --Kevin
  • While year versioning makes sense (as was explained in a prior post), I believe most companies are just cashing in on "The Year 2000." A version number is arbitrary, whereas to say that this product is the 2000 version of it, it's to say that it's the most up to date without having to look up any other version numbers on the internet.
  • by ShadeTC (58886) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @11:40AM (#1421132)
    I'm going to get a lot of argument for this but I think in certain situations that year versioning is a "Good Thing (TM)"

    Any product that has a built in shelf life or has major changes that are tied to the year of release should have year versioning. Mostly this is for financial software such as TurboTax (TurboTax 98, TurboTax 99, TurboTax 2000) TurboTax is useless for the most part the year after it is released, due to changes in the IRS tax code and the forms, and the calculations etc (You can bet Intuit is NOT a supporter of the flat tax. TurboTax is a little cash cow)

    But I agree that for things such as Office and Windows, we should see an actual numbering system.

    I like the way that BeOS does it RX.Y.Z Where X is the main version release, Y is the minor upgrades, and Z is little updates like drivers and bug fixes (very similar to other companies use of the "SE" title :)

    TC
  • Please allow me a moment to expand on why Mozilla has it right, and why it matters to other software development models being used.

    Mozilla offers:
    1)Nightly builds.
    2)Access to the bug database.
    3)Browsing the source.
    4) Milestone releases.

    These features matter, because the next time some overstuffed suit walks into my office and starts puking out buzzwards and promising pie in the sky vaporware, I can confirm of deny the claims with the above tools. Agreeing on a perticular piece of software is an intelectual partnership that needs be bolstered with cold hard code in order for a purchasing party to reach "buy in" on the concept.

    These tools cost very little to open to the buying public (considering they are already in use in-house) and should be a standard selling tool in this century.

    Moreover, if you notice the tree forking in a direction not to your liking, it gives you time to look for other sources for that solution.

    So in summary, name it whatever you want (2000.1.1 blah blah blah) but follow mozillas' lead on opening the tools.
    _________________________

  • by Above (100351) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @11:50AM (#1421143)

    I think the key part that is being missed is that parts have versions, but systems have names. This is particularly true when the systems have interchangeable parts. I think the car analogy was a good one, so I will go with that.

    When you design a part, like a spark plug, you give it a version number. These probably are some take off on the traditional software scheme, with "major" and "minor" revisions. The first three copper ones are 1.1 1.2 1.3, and the first three platnum ones are 2.1 2.2 2.3. This makes a lot of sense, and tracks the evolution of a spark plug nicely.

    When you use those parts in a system, there are a wide variety of version numbers, and they don't mean anything relative to each other. Version 2.1 of the spark plug was not designed at the same time as 2.1 of the muffler. So, you name the system (or version it, if you must) as a whole, and leave the individual version numbers as something to be droned on about in the detailed spec.

    This works out nicely. I go buy a 2000 Viper (hehe, i wish) and it comes with version 2.3 sparkplugs. Later, when they make a better one I can go to 2.4...or I can swap out for version 1.7 of another manufacturers design, which are better. It's still a 2000 Viper.

    Software works too, Red Hat "6.1" (a name, not a version) is made up of parts of all different versions, and that's ok. We also all know you can interchange at least some of those parts, and update it individually.

    So, I expect all "parts", eg software components to have monotonically increasing versions numbers like they always have. I also further expect marketing types to come up with cool names for new products that let me know one is better than the next. Cheetah is faster than Baracuda is faster than Wren, you know... but all those disk drives are made up of many versioned parts.

    I think the "2000" name is a fad, and will quickly fade now. I expect the next name to appear equally stupid to many of us, but the lemmings will buy it anyway.

  • Well, a simple namechange like that didn't really help ValueJet/Airbus any. I don't think that changing the name will help Windows any - in fact, I'm pretty sure that'd make it less-popular, since there isn't the brandname recognition and people will think "What's this Nextel crap? All my programs are for Windows."

    That said, I hope 0.001soft tries such a thing, so that they can fail miserably. :)
    ---
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • What needs to happen quite soon is consistency between these minor versions every year. I worked at a large manufacturing corp, and they don't move quickly to the next version of something like MS Office. But, they have to deal with small businesses around the world which don't see any big problem buying 5 boxes of Office 97 (or whole new computers from Gateway, which always force the newest junk) for their computers.

    Anyway, at this corp, I was always battling with people when they received an email attachment from someone with Office 97, while they only had 95 (or worse yet, Lotus Smartsuite and no Office). I'd say maybe 0.01% of the people with '97 understood what a version is and were thus capable of changing the file type to save. What was it, Wordperfect maybe, that had the same file format for several versions, like WP6 and up? Maybe with XML and such, things will improve a little.

    Of course Microsoft (and others) love this confusion, as the only solution is for companies to spend thousands or millions upgrading their entire joint. Naturally, by the time this company I worked for moved to Office 97, Office 2000 was released a few weeks later. I got out before too many bought it. Of course, the fanciest things used 99.9% of the time in these programs is bold AND italics. Yes, we must spend $500 (for many thousands of employees worldwide, and MS does not cut any decent contract for them) on a new office suite when there isn't a single new feature needed. Yet, if they were ever so kind as to not change the formats, several businesses would be shut down. There are third-party programs to view/convert/etc files just because of this problem. Just as if Windows had a decenet security model, all those anti-virus companies would be left out in the cold. Ultimately, I'm sure Microsoft wouldn't want to do that. So, being the kind, benevolent souls they are, we'll endlessly be left with this chaos. Oh thank you wonderful Microsoft (and everyone else)!!

    After this is in place, then they can come out with "Whatever 526.0 2038 Edition, now with two new toolbar icons!!"
  • They could always follow the path taken by AT&T (SVR4 = System 5 Release 4) and Apple (starting with the next release, it's Mac OS-X). Until the years get unwieldy, they could go by year, still (Windows MMMII), or they could recognize the aversion to minor-number releases (MSIE 5.0 really should be MSIE 4.5; Solaris 2.7 became Solaris 7.0; despite six updates to NT 4.0, there was no NT 4.1-4.9; similarly for the updates to Office), and make the next release Windows VI. MS Office, of course, would be Office IX (I think).
    Christopher A. Bohn
  • Re:These nightly builds turn me off. It's worse than seeing Suse or Redhat come out with 3 to 4 releases in one year. And, this did happen last year. Why can't software producers release once, not so often, and provide a non-crashing quality product. That's what the end user wants. You can get away with nightly builds with developers, but the public-at-large won't be pleased.

    I would have to agree that the usability of most nightly builds are less than reliable, and deploying such builds is very *very* risky. What nightly builds do offer is a 'snapshot' of the development currently underway. This is an invaluable tool to defud FUD and gives someone looking to make a buying a decision the chance to test the product before deploying.

    Consider this blurb [eocenter.com] from a a 1995 Byte magazine article:
    According to Microsoft, NT is for everyone else--especially business users who can appreciate its robust security, superior crash protection, symmetric multitasking, and CPU portability. Ultimately, however, Microsoft would love it if its software were running on all hardware, everywhere.

    After reading the article and looking at the roadmap [eocenter.com] one would be under the assumtion that WinNT would run on PPC in 1995.

    Having access to the nightly NT build would help you confirm or deny weather or not this was indeed the case.
    _________________________

  • by Money__ (87045) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @12:44PM (#1421185)
    What follows is an actual conversation that took place before my dear mum sent me a file, and why year versioning isn't good.

    Mom: Yea, our office has the Microsoft 98
    Me: Mom, that's the operating system, What word processor?
    Mom: Word? yea..we use Word. Word Perfect 98.
    Me: Is that Word, or Word Perfect?
    Mom: I don't know, it's the one with the little squiglies.
    Me: They both use that interface for spell checking, could you just copy and paste the text into the email?
    Mom: huh? Why don't they all just use one system.

    And in one bright, shining moment in my mums 'puter understing and growth, she wraped her mind around the value of standards, and open documentation, and I wanted to jump for joy.

    In summary, Year versioning is a confusing marketing ploy that's not good for developers or end users.
    _________________________

  • by SEWilco (27983) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @12:45PM (#1421186) Journal
    On a Unix file system, "/." also means "the directory which is the current directory within the root directory". Or "When at The Beginning, You Are Here."
  • by seebs (15766) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @12:53PM (#1421191) Homepage
    I dunno how many of you play pinball, but I remember games where a score of a million was a huge result, and I vaguely remember games where a score of 100,000 was impressive. I saw a TV show once where a score of 45 was pretty good.

    By contrast, there's periodically speculation about what kind of changes would merit a major number change in NetBSD. 1.0 was released in 1994, just over a year after 0.8. 1.1 was a little over a year later.

    The most recent NetBSD release is 1.4.1; -current
    is called "1.4P". Somewhere in there, my i386
    converted to ELF, got CardBus support, got a complete rework of the concept of console drivers, got a framework for multiplexing input devices (to make USB keyboards and mice relevant), and got soft updates. None of that justifies a bump to 1.5, apparently.

    The bump from 1.3 to 1.4 was a *COMPLETELY NEW* VM subsystem, new compiler, and a dozen or so other features.

    I guess it's just an island of sanity. :)
  • Just use the number of seconds since the Epoch at the time of the build as the version number. That way you can gcc 904795195, perl 946653909, etc.

    Just a whimsical thought. :-)

    Happy Antemillennium!

  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @01:13PM (#1421202) Homepage
    Now that I have your attention :-)

    Redhat Mother's Day release +0.1 -> Redhat 4.2

    This happened in the same amount of time it took to go from Slackware 2.3 -> 3.x.

    So, of course, Redhat had managed to get up to 6.0 by the time Slackware hit 4.0... Jumping 4 whole numbers, while Slackware went up < 1. Then going up two more, while Slackware hit 4. Sigh. Where's my Bob Young voodoo doll? ;-)

    ---
  • oracle is in what, version 9 or 10 or something?

    Back in the {good,bad} old days of DOS-based, dial-up local BBSes, one very popular package was called PCBoard. They were up to Version 15.9 or something before BBSing really started to die out and I lost track. Nobody thought PCBoard was {older,newer,worse,better} because it had a higher verison number.

    Ultimately, it reflects the intelligence of your user community. Maybe your users are so dumb that they need to be told what year their software is from. Maybe they can figure out what "Version 3.1.4, Released 5-APR-2002" means.
  • Ask 10 people in the Windows product group at Microsoft (not in sales) what the name of the product that they shipped on 12/15 was, and I bet at least 8 say "NT 5". Yes, they have been working on NT 5.0 for years. And, they have started work on NT 6.0. Marketing calls it whatever they want (and I agree with many of the arguments that year-based versions helps consumers a LOT), but there will always be a reasonable version number behind the scenes (and users will be able to see it if they look hard enough). It's the only way you can manage build processes.
  • SunOS 5.7 is the operating system.
    Solaris 7 is the environment.
    Solaris 2.7 was the prerelease name given to Solaris 7 environment.

    For more information, check the Solaris FAQ.

  • Thankfully, most major version numbers have managed to stay in the single digits so far. That is, besides programs that have been around long enough to deserve a high number.

    That makes me wonder. Has anyone sighted a version number higher than "Emacs 21"?
    --
  • You're reminding me of Chessmaster 5500, which was basically Chessmaster 5000 plus a stupid intro by Josh Waitzkin. Okay, there might have been a few new things, but not enough to add half a version (divide these numbers by 1000 to get a real version number).
    --
  • Then you have the "year" releases of other products, and then you see the "clearer" year versioning scheme fail as you see people talking about "windows 97" (since a big "97" pops up when they run Word or Excel from Office97) or Windows 2000 (same thing, except they bought Office 2000). It makes knowing *what* version people have a nightmare.

    I think this is more of a PEBKAC issue [tuxedo.org] than a versioning issue, but what you say is true. Perhaps it would be best if Operating Systems (defined as complete working kernel, and associated software) would be year versioned, with individual parts of it independanly versioned.

    IE:
    "To upgrade from GNU/Linux Slackware 98 to GNU/Linux Slackware 99 you need to get X version kernel, X version this, " etc..

    However, for multiple updates it becomes bad.
    Slackware 31/11/1999 anyone? It still is not a good solution. Numeric versioning provides too much independance from dates (and knowning if it is updated), and date versioning provides too close a tie to the date (and makes frequent updates problematic).
    ---
  • for you people to remember the difference between Win2k and Millennium? Windows 2000 will run off an improved version of the NT kernel, hence making it technically NT 5. Windows Millennium will be the last version of Windows running off the NX kernel, hence making it the successor to Windows 98. I'd really like to see the OSes numbered after what kernel their working on and for people to make the distinction between operating system and operating environment. The operating system is enough to get the sumputer running, most likely a kernel and a shell. The environment is all the extra programs that allow you to get stuff done with that kernel and shell. If you ever see the packaging for Solaris it says it's the Solaris Operating Environment (which is correct) since it in an environment of tools and apps. The naming convention for Windows is mostly for marketing purposes as so many other people have said. If Joe Average is sitting looking at the Windows 95 boot up screen and sees a commercial for Windows 2000 he is most likely going to realize his system is MUCH older than the current ones. If Joe Average sees Slackware 4.0 and Redhat 6.1 he is going to think Redhat is SO much newer and more up to date than Slackware, when in reality they are basically running off the same kernel. Major releases (in my opinion) are probably going to be following the yearly naming scheme with "Release 2" or some such for minor improvements. Look at the way Win 98 works if you use the web updating, my Win 98 box has basically all the same bug fixes and components that a Win 98 SE box would have. When Redhat really goes balls out against MS you'll probably see "Redhat 2001" or something like that. It looks alot cleaner on store shelves.
  • Solaris 7 sounds (at least in their eyes) more mature than 2.7, and microsoft follows the same logic with with windows 2000 over NT 5.0.

    Let's not forget that Windows NT did not exist in 0.x, 1.x, or 2.x form, and wasn't out there in a 3.0 form, either, AFAIK :-)
    ---
  • A few responses. Your first point doesn't make much sense. You could just as easily say, would that be Windows 1898, 1998, or 2098? There's a point where you have to use common sense.

    I never realized that Microsoft was switching their names around like that. I guess Microsoft realizes that, for them, confused users are good users.

    On the subject of silly names, how much sillier can they get than "Millennium"? No matter how many N's you put in it, it's just going to confuse people. "Is it another name for Windows 2000? Or maybe 2001? Or something totally different? Is it even an operating system?" Also, I don't see why Microsoft would want a consumer release that can be misspelled so easily. Quick, someone go register www.windowsmillenium.com!
    --
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @01:48PM (#1421242) Homepage
    Win95 = 4.0
    Win95 A = 4.0 sp1
    Win96 B = 4.0 R2 (FAT32)
    Win95 C = 4.0 R2.5 (USB!)
    Win98 = 4.1
    Win98 SE = 4.1 sp 1
    Sigh.. Way too much time working as a tech supporting bad software ;-)
    ---
  • Hear Hear!
    I hate using years to designate product versions, except for when it actually makes sense: ie Tax software is year-dependant, so I have no problem with that.
    What I hate more, is number skipping.
    Macromedia went from Freehand 6 to Freehand 8 so they could be "ahead" of Illustrator 7. Then Illustrator 8 came out.

    Pope
  • Why not do what Intel did with naming their CPU's. 286.. 386.. 486.. Pentium.. Pentium II, Pentium III, Itanium. *shrug* Switching over to names instead of numbers is just fine..

    Intel started using names mainly because of trademark laws. It is not possible to trademark a number (486 or 586) but name is (Pentium). As you may recall AMD and Cyrix were cloning 486s like crazy and Intel wanted to protect their property at least somehow. Since i486, they use names, that also improved public perception of their processors. Apparently it is much easier for John Smith to remember word Pentium, than i586.
  • Man, there should be a word for "fucking idiot who wrongly miscorrects something that's already right".

    There more or less is. It's called paradiorthosis, which is defined as an improper or false correction. By analogy with mitosis, osmosis and narcosis, I suppose that could produce words such as paradiorthoses (the plural), paradiorthotic, paradiorthoticism, and paradiorthotically. I'm not sure what you'd call the particular idiot who customarily committed the foul act. A paradiorthotician or paradiorthotist, perhaps.

    But I can virtually guarantee you that having a word for it won't make the problem go away. :-)

  • I agree that Roman numerals are a problem, because they're either too long or you can't tell them apart from normal letters. Which is why it's so hard to figure out where the version number is in "X11R6". (From what I've heard, the 11 is part of the name.)

    Incidentally, how'd you get a movie from 6808? It must have had really nice special effects :)
    --
  • I'm really pushing for Windows double-ought, just like hillbillies would say.

  • It seems they are switching to names.
    Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium. So what'll the next one be? Some thoughts:

    Windows: The Next Generation
    Windows 2001: A Crash Odyssey
    Son of Windows
    Windows vs. Godzilla
    Windows vs. Mozilla
    Windows Returns
    Windows Forever
    The Windows Show
    Windows-mon: The Sixth OS
    Windows I: The Saga Begins
    --

  • At first the original idea (2 rungs up the ladder) seemed okay. A little strange, having everything foo 2000, but okay.

    When I read your response however, it became blindingly aparent that year versioning is not the way to go. Maybe for Microsoft, and their marketing campaign (and im not saying I agree with your whole anti-MS sub-conscious buy-the-latest-version scam idea) but for most products out there you cannot really standardise like that. People that use a certain range of products are familiar with the versioning employed and its significance. The user-friendliness of naming everything the same seems a little dull...Why exactly do we need to cater for all the newbies out there?

    I suppose that came out wrong, its good to encurage new computer users, I like to see the whole computer explosion thing happening, it was really amasing to see how many people started using computers and the internet so suddenly. But I mean, standardising things to such a level seems kind of dumb to me. And all to make the newbies feel at home?

    If you use a particular software product, chances are you are familiar with the versioning system and know the significance of version 4.13.1462 More importantly, if you are looking at foo 2000 what do you know about it? Wow, its the 2000 version, yay! What does that mean exactly? absolutly nothing! It doesnt even narrow down the release date to one year... it could well have been released in 1999, or late, in 2001 ! At least when you look at foo v13.3.1214 you have some details, you know that its been rebuilt x times since the release you are using, you know what the magnitude of the upgrade is likely to be from previous experience... with foo 2000 you know nothing, and at best, you'll know the build number... the only remains of the shattered old versioning system, which will give you little information!

  • Solaris minor versions are dates -- "Solaris 2.6 11/15/99" and the like. Confusing at first; you have to read a little more carefully before knowing that the "2.6" disk you've got is *really* the latest 2.6.
  • by xdc (8753) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @03:12PM (#1421290) Journal
    Version numbering used to be simple and sensible, but lately -- in the Windows world, at least -- it has become incomprehensible. It used to be that you'd have the major-point-minor version. Since some minor versions amounted to tweaks and bugfixes, they would increment the version by 0.01.

    Now observe what has happened with Microsoft products. Microsoft started using years instead of version numbers in its product names, but did so inconsistently. Instead of Windows 96, it was Windows 95 OSR 2. Instead of Windows 99, it was Windows 98 Second Edition. But it gets worse...

    Windows NT 4.0 has undergone some very significant updates that certainly merit at least new minor version numbers. A lot of NT software won't even run without these enhancements and bug fixes. But instead of calling it Windows NT 4.3 or at least 4.06, we have Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6.

    Internet Explorer versions are the most baffling. Various schemes are mixed and matched, so we end up with things like IE 4.01 SP2, which is slightly different than the other IE 4.01 SP2 that was released before. And the version number embedded in the software is some crazy dotted quad beginning with 4.72! (I probably erred a bit on the exact version and service pack numbers in the preceding example, but I am not making this up!) The latest nonbeta IE is 5.01, but when I check its version number, it says 5.00.2919.6307! Why not 5.01?!

    I suspect that this confusion may ultimately be part of a long-term plan of intentional deception. From Microsoft's point of view (as I see it), users should be kept out of system internals. In fact, operations should be so transparent that one will not and should not know whether something is coming from the local hard drive or from an Internet connection to Redmond. Both good and evil updates will be quietly slipstreamed through users' always-on broadband connections.

    Already, Microsoft Outlook hides the email addresses of email and newsgroup messages, showing only names like "John Q. Random". Though it is possible to find the return address via a troublesome multistep process, I have found no way to disable this misfeature in any of the option dialogs. Sure, these are just small annoyances. The end result is that users will have even less of a clue how the systems their livelihoods depend on works. Although I'm for intuitive interfaces and ease-of-use, I deplore the dumbing down of people.

    I think the future holds some corrections. Namely, the use of codenames or other product names in place of major version numbers. It seems that at this rate, the world may see Microsoft Windows 2003 Professional OEM Service Release 2.0 Service Pack 3. But I think it will probably be more like Microsoft Windows Neptune Server, and if you want to scrounge around in DLLs, you can find out each component's version number.
  • IIRC Intel dropped their x86 numbering scheme after AMD had their contractual right to the blueprints of all x86 processor designs affirmed in court. "Pentium" has no such number, therefore is exempt.
  • by grantdh (72401) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @03:41PM (#1421299) Homepage Journal
    While working as a developer for a company in Australia, we found that users of our Insurance software were comparing versions when they met (the Insurance industry is rather incestuous and many used our software). We wound up getting users stating that "They're on version 9.121 while we're still on 9.049 - we want an upgrade!" despite the fact that they had no idea what had changed between the versions (usually small customisations for new/changing clients, etc).

    To get around this, we started to use a main version plus two letters (eg: 12 AS, 12 TC, 12 BS, etc). The letters were not allocated in any order but were different in each version. This let support staff ask clients their version to check for known issues but dramatically reduced the number of "I'm using obsolete software" calls.

    Of course, we had chart to show which versions were assigned to the various letters and there was also a command line call to get the full version.

    A side effect of all this was that people started to "name" the versions (eg: 12 AS was known as the "Arnold Schwarzenger" version, etc). As a new version was released, we'd go through the two letter combinations still available and figure out names to use. Sad but true...
  • Of course the main reason Microsoft wants to give year-based versions it to quicken planned obsolescence. It doesn't take a lot of insight to figure that out. One of the reasons I hope that Intel moves to year-based naming is for the same reason. The Pentium was originally released in 1994, and if it was sold as Pentium 1994 it would seem very obsolete today (even though a fair number of people still run the original Pentium's). However, Intel also has the megahertz label which is fairly good substitute.

    But, anyways, anything which helps sell new software is GOOD! Most Slashdot readers are professional software developers and/or own stock in software companies. Building the tool is only half of the job. You still have to find a way to sell it. Even if you are a Linux user, you certainly don't want people to be running some ancient version of Linux, you want them to try the latest and greatest. What better way than year-based version?
  • Just think of the possibilities:

    Windows 2001 - an OS driven insane by it's bugs...
  • by Noke (8971) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @03:55PM (#1421308) Homepage
    I'm watching the Larry King Live interview with Bill Gates and he mentioned the version of Windows following Windows 2000 would be Windows 2001. (9:56Pm EST)

  • Since Windows seems to be setting the example here's how MS handled it. When you look in System Properties A Letter is Appended to the Build. Win95 with SP1 is A, OSR2 is B, Osr2.5 is C. So if Foo came out in the spring of 2000 That would be Foo 2000. A second release in the summer would be Foo 2000A. Then you wouldn't have a problem unless you released more than 27 times in a year.
  • Overrated
    Redundant
    Offtopic
    Troll
    Flamebait
    Paradiorthotic

    hmmmm. as a moderation choice, i like it. but my all time most-wished-for moderation category would be Retromingent [ucsd.edu].

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • by nordoff (97895) on Saturday January 01, 2000 @04:33PM (#1421321) Homepage
    "...In the real non-hyped world it seems any version number over 5 or 6 implies it's about time to switch to a new product or start over from scratch. There are countless examples..." Windows NT 5 -> Linux 3.0
  • Let me just boot MacOS X vII.V.IX. Then I'll start MS Office MM revIV.XXIII.
    Good thing my CPU is CDXL MHz!

    Work together for the Common Geek Good:
  • Year Versioning is absolute genius marketing. If we associate a certain year with a software product, it is easier for us to think of it as old within a year. For example, think of a hypothetical software program released in 96 called BlahBlah Version 5.3. Now think of the same program as BlahBlah 96. 96 is ancient by today's standards. If BlahBlah 5.8 comes out, we're less likely to spend our jack for the upgrade than if it's BlahBlah 99. Thus, hearing "96" causes us to say "damn, that's old", but 5.3 is very much "mmmm, okay". If we think of software as old, it's easier for us to think that we need to upgrade. I have no reason to move my Winblows partition from 95 to 98 or 98 millenium or whatever (partially because I don't use it at all) because I don't need the functionality. But looking just at the name "95" vs. "98", I desperately need this new upgrade.

  • well it would if jim morrison wasn't dead

    JIM MORRISON IS DEAD??????!?!?!?!?!!!

    Why didn't I see this on /.???? Is there a naked, petrified, open source morrison in the works?

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • Naming a product with a year in the title is NOT versioning. I'm quite sure people at Microsoft, or anywhere else, aren't version controlling using year numbers. The technical version number for Windows 95 original is 4.00.950, add service pack 1 and it is 4.00.950a. OSR2 is 4.00.950b (I believe). This makes sense because before Windows 95 there was Windows 3.1 (or 3.11 or Windows for Workgroups). The /title/ of a product doesn't have to have an accurate version number in it. Take for example Hurricane Red Hat, or Slink Debian, or Krash KDE, or October GNOME. These are just mnemonics that people can easily associate with a major release of the product. For the unwashed masses, using a year number makes it easier and gives context. It is not apparent just from the technical version number, the time difference between Linux 2.2 and 2.3.

    If Microsoft wants to call it's products by year let it. At least it's not calling it's products Krash. (Yeah, I'd like Windows Krash with that. Oh, a gratis copy has been installed? Thanks!)

    Jazilla.org - the Java Mozilla [sourceforge.net]
  • All your FooBar-ing is simultaniously too complicated and too simplistic. How do I know that "Bar 2000 Service Pack 2b (plus the Bluetooth suppliment)" has been released if everything just says Bar 2000. How do I know that Foo '97 is compatible with Foo '98 for Macintosh? And what if Foo 2000 has an error, is recalled and doesn't make it back to the shelves until 2001?

    No matter how cute we try and make it with year versioning, computers are more complicated than cars - so much so that detailed, simple versioning that MS left behind with Office 4.3 is actually the right way to go.

    Also, that comment about after version 5 it's time to move to a new product does actually seem about right. Enter at v3, go to v5, jump to v3 of another package. I started at DOS 3.3, went to 5, moved to Windows 3.1, now I'm at Win98 and I'm looking to dump the PC and move to the Palm, which is at v3.3... Hmmm, scary.

  • Some consumers may be confused by the naming.
    Some!?! - Hands up all IT staff who've been told by a user that they're using "Windows 97".

    When a user is using Windows 95b, Office 97sp2 & Outlook 98 they actually don't have a clue what version of anything they're running. Again, hands up anyone who's had a user not notice there's a difference between Outlook 97/98 & Outlook Express - at least until they can't find their e-mail. "But, I just clicked on the Outlook icon like I always do." (Note: I do actually blame MS for this one)

  • Didn't you know, Roman numerals are used for device thickness; PCMCIA Type I, Type II & Type III. CompactFlash Type I, Type II (& III?). What's CF I? 3.3mm? and Type II is 5mm, I think. You can't use Roman numerals in software versions as well, that would be silly :-P
  • Yes, but most people don't actually know anything about the various processor classes...
    • 8086/8088 - the original, no protected mode
    • 80286 - protected mode, barely
    • 80386 - new 32bit stuff and new instructions (gee, could I vague that up a bit)
    • 486 - on-chip maths co-processor & on-chip cache
    • 486SX - no co-pro
    • 486DX - what the 486 always was before the SX
    • 486DX2 - internal clock speed double outside BUS
    • 486DX4 - internal clock speed triple outside BUS
    • Pentium - I forget, some PCI bus stuff?
    • Pentium MMX - Multimedia instruction set, sort of DSP stuff (kinda)
    • Pentium Pro - Lots of 32-bit instruction optimisation
    • Pentium II - MMX & Pro combined
    • Celeron - A P2 missing an expensive cache
    • Pentium III - Umm, just plain faster?
    • Xeon - Multiprocessor P3.
    Anyone want to flesh this out / correct me?
  • I'm going to release 26 versions, starting with 2000a and ending in 2000z. Hopefully I'll have a job and give up writing software by then.
  • Yep. IBM's itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny little Microdrive is a Compact Flash Type II device. It's physically thicker than a Type I device, thus won't fit in a Type I slot. Few digital cameras have a Type II slot (though newer ones tend to).

    Type I & Type II PCMCIA cards are very much different thicknesses, though you're right about Type I not being used much. Also, try not to get the Release mixed up with the Type - the release determines functionality (storage v's I/O) - the Type determines thickness.

    PCMCIA: People Can't Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms.

  • Windows NT's first incarnation was as version 3.51. I *still* have customers running it. It had the old Windows 3.x interface, and was (is) a huge bitch to support. I've moved a lot of these people to Linux (most were simply file and print servers) recently, but I've got a few not for profit orgs as customers and they can't afford to change at the moment.

    However, and this is WAY offtopic, one of my customers, the Mathews-Dickey Boys Club in St. Louis got $60kUS worth of MS software donated to them by Microsofts' community outreach program. That blew me away.
  • I suppose that came out wrong, its good to encurage new computer users, I like to see the whole computer explosion thing happening, it was really amasing to see how many people started using computers and the internet so suddenly. But I mean, standardising things to such a level seems kind of dumb to me. And all to make the newbies feel at home?

    You're making one BIIIIG assumption:

    0 100
    |'''''''''|'''''''''|'''''''''|'''''''''|
    ^- The avg. newbie You ---^


    This is a rough view of what most people look like compared to most techies in terms of computer knowledge (Don Knuth presumably is at 110 on this scale).

    Here's the "do they give a flying fsck?"-ometer that registers how much they WANT to approach most techies on that scale:

    0 100
    |'''''''''|'''''''''|'''''''''|'''''''''|
    ^--- how much they want to find out


    As you can see, they basically don't give a flying fsck. This is because they have better things to do with their lives - like writing their memoirs, researching their family history, surfing the net or doing their taxes.

    Home computers, consumer OS's and consumer apps are written (remember this - it's one of the more important things you'll read today) for these people. Yep, that's right - your customers/users/whatever for consumer apps and consumer OS's are generally going to be people who don't care and don't need to learn the nitty gritty of their computer.

    You know why?

    Because that's why you get the big bucks - so that they don't have to .

    Of course, if you're giving everything away for free, that might explain your attitude...

    Computers aren't some elite thing that should be used to create some kind of pseudo class war -- they're a tool. They're popular because every-day people want to use them to get their stuff done.

    In short - you don't sell hammers that require people to be concert pianists to use them - because that way, you won't sell any hammers.

    Simon

    Simon
  • As someone who works with NT (and who keeps his NT servers up way past 49.7 days) I can tell you that NT versioning really pisses me off.

    Everyone knows that the current version of NT is 4.6.1 (or 4.6.). But type in ver and you get
    Windows NT Version 4.0
    . Go to "My Computer"/"Properties" and it gives you the more detailed but equally inaccurate
    Microsoft Windows NT 4.00.1381
    which is the build of the first production release of NT4.

    No, to find the service pack number you have to fire up Task Manager, File Manager or any one of a dozen other apps and go to "Help"/"About". It still thinks it's build 1381.

    As far as I am aware, the only way to find the build number is to reboot and watch the text on the blue screen.
  • >(or 4.6.).
    should be
    >(or 4.6.[some version number]).

    I always preview. Always. Except this time.
  • by Spire (101081)
    Not sure what PCMICA stands for, but PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association [pcmcia.org].

    Or, if you prefer: People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.
  • Heh. :) There's also the more humorous version. PCMCIA: People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms
  • You're quite correct. The whole idea of using a 'version name' appended to a product name is for marketing. Marketing people hate version numbers; engineers think they're cool, but that's a Dilbert [dilbert.com] discussion.

    Intel switched from generation numbering to naming once their marketing people really took over the place. AMD switched its K7 to Athlon ... although allowed it to be the K7 for a long time, and the next _generational_ chip for them will probably be code-named K8.

    Ever looked at the version numbers in IE? Look at the build number. Download it today, then in three weeks. Probably a 300 build jump ... especially in companies that are big marketers, you don't really want your clients to think they have to keep upgrading until you're making money from it, so version numbers (at the build level) are irrelevant.

    Just my $0.02 ...

  • To the average person, trying to figure out which car came out in what year and what features it has is extremely difficult as it is. Sure, names 'spice it up', but they don't help things any.

    The "Escort 4" would obviously be the 4th incarnation of the Ford Escort. The problem is that car companies release cars every year, whether there really are new features or not (different colour and moulding, that's all?).

  • Before you get too enthused about the donation:

    What was the production cost of the software to Microsoft? I'm looking at marginal, not fixed costs of production here. A few seats of NTWS, an NTSV or two, BackOffice and Office -- that would pretty much fill it out, wouldn't it?

    What was the likelihood of the MDBC-SL (or however you acronymize yourselves) purchasing the software had it not been contributed to them -- or better yet, selecting a free software alternative?

    And we call this a charitable donation?

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • Incidentally, almost all California placenames. Katmai is a mountain in Alaska, not sure where Tanner is. Coppermine? Dunno.

    ...and it also explains why the Celeron always seemed to just be someone blowing smoke. Heck, it's the STONED virus in hardware....

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • The Debian release names come from characters in the movie Toy Story. A bunch of Pixarians in the dev group, methinks. Does this mean that development stops if the series ends?

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • Releasing nightly builds, aside from the full disclosure aspects mentioned by others, are for outside developers who need to follow the current development branch. This goes a long way to producing your non-crashing quality product.

    This is a bit like a cafeteria -- just because the food is offered doesn't mean you have to sample from every dish, every day.

    If you don't want the nightly build, grab the latest stable release and be happy with it.

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • The major difference between 95 and 98 are FAT32 and some changes to the interface.

    The internal version strings are still 4.0.foo.

    And as for more stable, I don't find that at all. If anything, it's worse, although it does recover better.

    dave
  • >I am amazed that many people think that Microsoft will make Windows 2000.

    Err, it's being released in February or so.

    do keep up.

    dave
  • Huh. Yeah. It 'didn't work out' because it's in Microsoft's interests to keep the different operating systmes going. It just drives up sales, as people start buying both.

  • I think we should go to a versioning system similar to the way that Japan sometimes names their TV shows (and the Chinese name their restaurants).

    Super Fun Happy Windows!
    Joy Joy Green Linux!
    Excellent Excel Dynasty!
    Wicked Flaming Death Emacs Wok!
    Imperial Yahoo!
  • I used to think it was a bunch of marketing bullcrap until I installed Solaris 7 and read through its documentation. Sun may have gotten it right on this one.

    The reasoning works like this:

    • A change in the major version numbering indicates some kind of rewrite or incompatible change.
    • There will never be a version of Solaris 2.x that is not backwards-compatible. (This is by decree, that is, such changes will be disallowed.)
    • Thus, Solaris 3.0 will never happen. Only more versions of Solaris 2.x.
    • The "2." is therefore redundant and pointless and can be dropped.

    Given that Sun is trying to speed up their release cycle, for smaller, quicker changes -- Solaris 8 is available and the Solaris 9 source tree has existed for some time now -- this actually does make sense.

  • Hey, I like this one. Years are an antiquated terrestrial innovation that will be obsoleted in the next century as we settle the solar system... Personally I use the Gnome desktop clock with the "UNIX time" output setting to track time, though I wouldn't mind if it added some ".'s" to separate the major fields:

    Current time: 9.469.328.39

    The first field increments every 3 years, the second about every day, the third every minute and a half, and the last of course every second. The first two fields are almost the right timing for major/minor version numbering...

    But as has been noted elsewhere in these threads, numbering by year or time loses the logical distinction of major versus minor changes to a piece of software - unless we believe all software from now on will only be continually backwards compatible and evolve only gradually. Yeah right.

  • I think the 'Slackware 96' name was just a one-off as another name for Slackware 3.1.
  • Year versioning is not a very good idea, because you can't tell whether two versions are very different or only slightly different. All you know is when they were released - and even that is often wrong (eg Win2k released in 1999).

    For example, going by the year versioning, which is the bigger jump:

    Win95 -> Win98
    Win98 -> Win2000

    Of course, it must be Win98 -> Win2000, since there's only two years difference! (No pedants please). If they'd called the versions by their proper names, 'Windows 4.0', 'Windows 4.1' and 'Windows NT 5.0', you could see what was going on.

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