Friday, February 1, 2008

Whatever Happened to Version Numbers?

Used to be, when you released software, you did so in major and minor versions, and sometimes patch releases: 8.0, 8.1, 8.1.1. These are the version numbers I grew up with.

These days, it's all over the map. Windows "XP" "Service Pack 2". Java SE "6 Update 4". And let's not even talk about Java 2, Standard Edition, 1.4, Update 1. OS X 10.5

Was the old system so bad? Is there some reason that Java can't be Java SE 6.4, or, if there's an undesired implication of changed functionality, Java SE 6.0.4?

I wonder, have we done this to ourselves in some way, or is there some kind of regulation of which this is the unintended consequence? Has SAS70 compliance scared corporations into ignoring the old versioning approaches because they have become burdened with regulatory issues?

Or is this simply a case of marketing gone wrong?

When Microsoft gets bored of trying to acquire Yahoo and goes back to contemplating how to get away from Windows Vista, I'd like to make this suggestion: Windows 10.0.

After all, Windows 3.1 was followed by Windows 95 (Windows 4), Windows 98 (Windows 5), Windows 2000 (Windows 6), Windows ME (Windows 7), Windows XP (Windows 8) and Windows Vista (Windows 9). I know things get complicated if you look at Windows NT 3.5/4.0 and Windows 2003, so I'll leave those out for the sake of simplicity.

Besides, Apple seems to think that 10 is a good number. I'm looking forward to OS X 10.12, Sabertooth.

No comments: