What is up with software version numbering systems? Why no standard? How is it that some fly-by-night app, obviously obscure until the author managed to scrape together enough savvy to get it listed on a software download site, comes out of the gate at version 126.96.36.1991 or some other lie to make it appear to be a more "mature" product than it really is? What's even more silly is a program with a verion like 0.63.5, meaning it isn't even the first version yet! Version zero?! That's like saying my yet unborn son is negative-3 years old.
I can remember when the first release of a program was called (surprisingly) version 1, or 1.0. Then, if an update or bug fix was needed, it might become 1.1 or 1.3 or something like that, and if the entire program was revamped, then you got version 2.0. Wow! What a backward, know-nothing concept!
Some of you might remember this, but there was this particular drafting-type program, very powerful stuff, that was version 2. Then, WHAM! The next release was version 9! What the heck happened to versions 3 through 8? Did they die in the coding room or what? Or did the company inflate that number for the sole purpose of beating down users, leading them to erroneously assume that the program was more mature and seasoned than it actually was? I'm a bit sketchy on the details, but didn't Microsoft do the same thing with Word (or maybe it was Excel)? I think it went from version 6 to version 8, with the excuse that MS wanted to bring it's versioning system in line with the other Microsoft Office applications. Ludicrous.
Even when a program author does follow a logical versioning system, the numbering he might use is different from what others use, so that the end result is a confusing almost meaningless mess. Here's a program called HeftyApp 2007, version 188.8.131.526734b. What in the world? Why not something simple, like HeftyApp 2007.1, then .2, then .3, etc.? There's another, AwesomeApp3, version 1.6.16. What?
I think a simple system is in order here. The first fullblown release of a program should be version 1 (add .0.0.0 if you like). Anything before that should simply be called "beta", and I think "release candidate" is a good way to denote a nearly-ready-for-primetime beta app. After that, increase the numbers SEQUENTIALLY, according to the level of change; no more of these version numbers t hat look like IP addresses or adding letters and whatnot! I also think using the year of release, followed by a point system is nice.
The bottom line is, after having become a download junkie over the past three years I have dicsovered that a lot of software is versioned haphazardly. Some inflate the number to make the product seem mature when it's obvious that it should still be in beta, others run up version numbers without there being ANY CHANGE AT ALL to the program (even the executable file size is the same), and I have even seen some versions numbered out of sequence (amazing, but true). It's all a beat-down, folks.
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And who's going to be the version number police?
Are you proposing some UN agency where everyone has to submit requests to be allowed to release something and wait for a few decades (or pay a few million dollars in bribes) before it goes through the bureaucracy?
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