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Software Version Numbering After 2000?

Cliff posted more than 14 years ago | from the will-2002-be-the-next-version-number-after-2000 dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 524

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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versioning is overrated (2)

cheese63 (74259) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421052)

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?

Switch to hexadecimal (4)

Imperator (17614) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

hey! (1)

Cybersonic (7113) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421054)

Where are all of first posts?!! Damn script kiddies arnt Y2K compliant i suppose... :)

I HATE version numbers based on the year of release.. It doesnt make any sence... Look at Windows 95, there are like 5+ 'sub versions' which the average tech doesnt realize there is a difference between... Why cant all software vendors use the Linux Kernel numbering scheme? :)
Cybie! aka Ralph Bonnell []

Slackware Versions (2)

Fogie (4006) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421055)

Slackware [] just recently jumped from 4 to 7. Here's their explanation why [] . 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." ;)

Naww, we're okay... (2)

iElucidate (67873) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421056)

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.

2002+ (2)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421057)

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

Ok, so... (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421058)

Windows 95A was really Windows 4.0.10, 95B was 4.0.11, OSR2.1 was 4.0.111, and 95C was 4.0.12, right?

I started out thinking "hey, this is a nice sarcastic remark" but, uh, well, it kinda works, doesn't it?

New Name (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421059)

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.

Re:versioning is overrated (1)

Jeff Mahoney (11112) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421060)

Oracle (the database) is at 8.1.x
Oracle Applications is at 11.x

Interesting to note, however, is that Oracle Appliciations from v9 to v10 became almost a completely different product. Both products had very similar functionality - but with extremely different interfaces. OA v9 was character cell-based, and v10 made the jump to ``Application Serving'' with Java-based applets.

Just random trivia, I suppose.


Re:2002+ (3)

Ranger Rick (197) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421061)

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."

95, 98, 2000 (2)

zeck (103790) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421062)

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.

Re:Slackware Versions (2)

blackwizard (62282) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421063)

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". =)

Roman numerals (1)

^ZuLu^ (103831) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421064)

Well, better don't switch to Roman numerals! Or are you able to read the last line at the end of those elder movies (MCMCMMMMMVIII) or do you just believe that the first are ok and just look at the last few? ;-)

Windows (2)

BMIComp (87596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421065)

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.

Some non-computer companies have this problem too (2)

jafuser (112236) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421066)

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...

Version numbers based on years sometimes *good* (2)

Signail11 (123143) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421067)

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.

Microsoft (1)

Da Penguin (122065) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421068)

After 2000, it could change it to "Windows Future" than "Windows Future 2" or "Windows Future ++".
Just an idea

Year Versioning Makes Sense (5)

VAXman (96870) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:Windows (2)

jlb (78725) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421070)

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.

My thoughts... (3)

elixir (21353) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421071)

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!

Re:95, 98, 2000 (2)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421072)

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?

Not a serious problem (2)

AME (49105) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421073)

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'?

Re:Naww, we're okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421074)

If version numbers really don't count at all, then why would Patrick Volkerding (?) up the version number for Slack from 4 to 7 in hopes of catching some new users. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been asked if I've upgraded to the new Linux 6.1 yet. Anyone know's that Linux is at 2.2.13.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421075)

I dont know about the rest of you, but my software has a new version every couple of days, so version years would not work. Even windows has real version numbers.

Re:Windows (1)

BMIComp (87596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421076)

Yeah, there would be major confusion, but i think thats why they called it windows 98 millenium edition.

Oh well... the millenium is really in 2001, as oppoesed to windows 2000... =P

Also, windows 2000 isn't that bad, i mean, its much better than nt4... but still is microsoft (its in beta now, will be released on feb 17).

Fractint vs. Emacs (1)

Kyobu (12511) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421077)

Fractint [] (currently on v. 20.0) and Emacs [] (currently on v. 20.5) have historically been in competition for the largest real version numbers. In response to apsmith's assertion that large version numbers imply obsolescence, Emacs is an obvious counterexample. Fractint is a little more dubious, but it remains very powerful.

Versioning and other forms of obfuscation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421078)

Its futuristic alright. Its designed to confuse. From a company that spends more money on marketing and legal than development, you have things like NT3.1 (pre alpha,) NT3.5 (alpha,) and NT4.0 (beta,) and a new rewrite 2000 (?)

From the same company that brings you the MSCE (MicroSoft Certified Enemas,) you have versioning that includes an unordered versioning scheme of all encompasing "service packs," "hot fixes," and obfuscated "registry entries."

Mozilla has it right (3)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:My thoughts... (2)

VAXman (96870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421080)

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. :-)

Re:My thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421081)

"Potatoe"? You just pulled a Quayle!

Re:Fractint vs. Emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421082)

You left out XEmacs, currently in the 21.x series.

Windows 00 ?!? (1)

jeff_C (19805) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421083)

Yea but can you imagine if Microsoft had continued down that line Windows 95 then Windows 98 then . . . Windows 00 ?

Re:Naww, we're okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421084)

correction, linux is actually at 2.3.35

Hmmm that's really crappy. (2)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421085)

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.

Does anyone care? (1)

Freshman (9729) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421086)

Who the hell cares how they decide to label a new version of Windows? I mean, Windows is Windows, stuff is stuff, and a logical person will read a review instead of saying "ooh, 2001 > 2000, must buy!"

Re:Slackware Versions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421087)

That reminds me of Deluxe Paint/Digi-Paint on the Amiga... Deluxe Paint went 1, 2, 3, 4... but Digi-Paint skipped from 1 to 3. (Of course, Deluxe Paint 3 was out at the time)

Re:95, 98, 2000 (1)

Kyobu (12511) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421088)

It's a misleading marketing ploy, is why. Win98 is essentially identical to Win95, plus IE4. Win95 was Windows 4, and Win98 was Windows 4.1. A minor release, not a major one. People look at the numbers and make guesses about the importance: "Well, 4.1 is barely different from 4.0. I won't buy it." "Oh! 98 is three whole numbers away from 95! It must be completely different!"

I think that the good ol' fashion way of doing it (0.9, 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 2.0, etc.) is fine. The Linux kernel system (x is the major version, x.even is the stable tree, x.odd is the development tree, x.y.number is the minor version), although a little complicated, is also very good.

We NEED the high numbers (1)

redhog (15207) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421089)

Why do all marketers and programmers screw up with the version numbers? The first tends to jump from 1.0 to 2000 in just one version, while the latter seems to like endless sub-versions a'la Linux 2.2.0-pre30-ac5...
I think i't all about what the swedish word "lagom" means - not too much, not too less, not extreme in any direction, not even extreme in not being extreme.
Why can not everyone settle for versions that are just integer numbers that increments by one for each new version? The numbers does not matter anyway - they only serve to enable us to see which of two versions is the newest. How much newer or cooler it is can not by any means be read out of those numbers!
Anyway, I've described another version naming system here [] . It describes a system that provides information about who is responsible for which version, and backward compatibility. If you wish to comment on it, drop me an e-mail!

Re:95, 98, 2000 (0)

eagl (86459) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421090)

Would that be 12 December 1899, 1999, or 2099?

I have 3 criteria when it comes to reasonable version labels. First, when I see two versions side by side, I want to immediately know which version is newer. Second, I want it to be easy to remember which version is latest. Third, I want to know what product the version is actually based on.

For example, if I see "Red Hat Linux Mandrake" next to "Red Hat Linux Poppycock", I will have no idea which version is newer unless I am already familiar with the product. Likewise, it is relatively easy to remember that Windows 98SE is the latest version once you hear about it. MS has stepped in it this time of course, and violates my third rule by naming their latest NT release using the naming convention of their more common desktop product. Win95 --> Win98, but like someone else pointed out, Win2000 is just the latest version of WinNT and Win98 will be updated as Windows Millenium.

Bah humbug, I just wonder what DOS version windows 2000 and windows millenium will ship with :)

Re:Year Versioning Makes Sense (2)

Signail11 (123143) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421091)

"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.

Year-based naming (4)

retep (108840) | more than 14 years ago | (#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 Linux version numbers but.... (2)

Ken Broadfoot (3675) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421093)

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.

Re:My thoughts... (1)

elixir (21353) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421094)

At least I'm not the vice president. =)

Re:Naww, we're okay... (1)

redhog (15207) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421095)

No, he's correct, too. Linux is allways at two versions at the same time - one developement and one stable.

Re:no no no (1)

BMIComp (87596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421096)

Sorry, my fault... your right... its spelled millennium but, its windows millennium and windows 2000. So,
windows millennium is 2001,
windows 2000 is 2000.

Therefore, there is a way to differentiate... just watch your spelling. =P

Don't believe me that 2001 is the millennium?
Go here []

Experiences from a *REAL* computer user. (3)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421097)

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.

Re:Year Versioning Makes Sense (1)

questionlp (58365) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421098)

To decode the Alpha processor model number (based on 21x64)

The `21' stands for the processors series
The `x' stands for the actual revision of the processor when based from the original 21064
The `64' stands for 64-bit

Re:Year Versioning Makes Sense (5)

Plasmic (26063) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Nextel after 2000 (1)

Diamond Slicer (39462) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421100)

Microsoft already has a new name for thier products after 2000. In a press release (I cannot find link) Microsoft announced the merger of the NT and Win95 lines with 2000 partialy and a full merger in there next OS (which they said would be called Nextel).

I am amazed that many people think Microsoft will make Windows 2000. NO, they will change the name because Windows is getting a fair amount of Negative publicity and it is time they start a new product line (even though it will be based on the old product) They also have been pushing NT a fair amount, because NT is more stable than Win95 (98 also) and overall is a better OS. Even though you can upgrade a Win98 machine to a 2000 machine, they push it as the upgrade for NT. This should tip people off that they are going to eliminate the Win95 (98) based line of OS's and go with an entirely new one that is based on NT and has version numbers like NT.

MS still uses 'regular' version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421101)

Ever look at the System Properties app in Control Panel? In Windows 98SE it says version 4.10.2222A.

/. 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421102)

I think that does something in APL. Does anyone remember what?

Year versioning sux! (5)

Roadmaster (96317) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421103)

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.

Negative versions for dev releases (Re:I like ...) (1)

auntfloyd (18527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421104)

Exactly. That's why I think people should use negative numbers for things like that. So it's obvious that -2.3.8ac77 is not something a random newbie should mess with.

Either that, or make all developer releases "Version 666.xx.xx" or something. That'll keep em away :)

Re:My thoughts... (1)

Emil Brink (69213) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421105)

Are you serious? Now, I use one of those distros distribution (Debian [] , actually), but I find it absolutely silly that they use names like that! Quick, tell me which is later; potatoe, woody or slink? How should anyone know? It's just silly, or perhaps even borderline stupid. At least, it is to me.

How can MESSAGE #2 be REDUNDANT!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421106)

People who sort their messages in any order but TIME POSTED should NOT be given access to the redundant score. This calls for a new version of the moderation FAQ. What version are we on now, anyhow? Hmmmmm, CmdrTaco?!?

Sun is almost as bad (5)

THB (61664) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:I like Linux version numbers but.... (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421108)

> Windows Googol
> Windows Googolplex Back Office Server.
> Then of course: Windows Infinity

HA! Windows Infinity+1 is the obvious sequel.

Solaris 2.7/7 name (4)

ChrisRijk (1818) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421109)

Sun have a page & FAQ [] 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" [] .

Re:I like Linux version numbers but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421110)

Don't forget "Windows Infinity x 2"!

I know you are, but what am I?


Re:How can MESSAGE #2 be REDUNDANT!?!?! (1)

cheese63 (74259) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421111)

I agree, but don't care. I don't understand how I can be redundant when I posted 2nd either. I didn't even try to be one of the first posters or anything. But ah, fuck it, I don't have a karma of -5 for nothin.

Re:hey! (1)

larkost (79011) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421112)

I on the other hand think that version numbers with a date in them are sometimes a nice thing. I don't have to think much about when something came out. I can easily tell that Office 98 can read Office 97's file format, but does not have a chance at Office2000's...

I am not saying that I want sendmail, or Apache, or anything else along those lines to go with this sort of a system. But for customer clarity (in the mass market), this is sometimes a nice thing.

NT 7 (1)

a.out (31606) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421113)

In a recient conversation with a Microsoft employee he mentioned something about the "NT 7 team" doing some really cool things... I'm not too sure about the 'cool things' part but he did say NT 7 .. anyone else know anything about NT 7 ?

and then buy the new one when it feels too old. (1)

Anonymous Sniper (113827) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421114)

Tieing the name to the year the software was released is just a way of making sure people remember how old their software is.

...and then of course buy the newer version.

/. Whussat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421115)

What is this /. that everyone talks about...? See it often times on Slashdot and I'm wondering what exactly it means. Also, (slashdot staff) if there was some kind of section that would define these terms (or if im just too blind to find it), it would be great.

Year versions can be confusing (2)

fastpage (125435) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421116)

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.

Re:New Name (1)

Loath (118409) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421117)

Watch them come out with Doors 2001 or Shiny Sliding Glass Windows 2000 Hehe.

Re:Fractint vs. Emacs (1)

BlaisePascal (50039) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421118)

Yeah, XEmacs is in the 21.x series... but it didn't -start- at 1 (it split off from GNU Emacs, and retained the version number of the split when released).

I also think they might have skipped a number somewhere to re-sync with GNU Emacs when they regained a certain degree of compatability and interoperability.

I'll give you a clue: (1)

Loath (118409) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421119)

Think of the name of this page: Slash-Dot...Get it now?

is this really a problem? (1)

macpeep (36699) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421120)

What's the big deal? Windows 2000 is just as in intuitive as Solaris 2.6, or actually probably more. If Windows 2002 won't be as eye-catching, then they will come up with something else. They do market studies and try different names with test groups. It's not like someone is just throwing dice or anything.

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..

Personally, I'm waiting for the next MAJOR release of a Microsoft OS. DOS -> Windows -> ??
I couldn't care less what the version numbering scheme is.

Re:We NEED the high numbers (1)

larkost (79011) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421121)

There is actually a system that is supposed to be in place with the tuppol numbering system. The first number is supposed to be incremented only when there is a change to the file format that prevents the older versions from reading the newer's files. The second number is supposed to be for added features (that do not render older versions incompatible), the third is for bugfixes.

I remember all this from an old C book (as in before C++ was really arround), that I picked up when I was first starting to get into languages beond Apple-Basic, and TurtleGraphics (now those were happy days... *sigh*)

Re:Year-based naming (1)

afflatus_com (121694) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421122)

retep has the correct reason behind Microsoft's marketing idea for naming after the years, so that users will feel their OS is ancient. They did not invent this strategy for naming, the looked that it has been successfully employed in the automotive industry for decades. Consider whether people would be more apt to upgrade their car if they could tell still others they were running a Buick 12.0.4 instead of a 1983 Skylark.

Re:My thoughts... (2)

kevin805 (84623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421123)

Perhaps choose a code name with the first letter indicating the version number. Clearly Manhattan should be older than Slink.


They are just cashing in (2)

Shaheen (313) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421124)

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.

Re:I like Linux version numbers but.... (0)

Loath (118409) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421125)

Windows Googolplex Back Office Server

Was that supposed to be Windows Googolplex Back Oriffice Server? =)


segmentation fault (30564) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421126)

XHTML is NOT HTML 5. While HTML is a SGML application, XHTML is a XML application. XHTML is the XML equivialent of HTML 4, probably created so that one can transform all HTML documents into XML with minimal effort.

Just a rumour... (1)

Loath (118409) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421127)

I heard that Windows NT was getting Windows 2000, and the Windows 9X series was getting Windows Millennium...Don't quote me on it, though. I don't remember the source.


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421128)

There was never a DRDOS 4 - either because DR wanted to keep their version numbers one ahead of MSDOS (DRDOS 5 was released against MSDOS 4, DRDOS 6 against MSDOS 5 etc.) or because MSDOS 4 was so horribly appalling that any "DOS 4" would have a terrible reputation.

Year Versioning is just another marketing tool (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421129)

I think there are a couple of issues here that are being confused. The first is the versioning system we hve for differentiating between different releases of products, internally. The second is a "name" for the product, used to promote and sell it, hopefully with some semblance of what the product does in the name.

Some quick comparisons:
Windows 4.00.950 = Windows 95
Redhat 6.1 = (based on Kernel 2.0.13 or so)

for the "internal" numbering system, this seems to have reached a pretty stable system throughout the development world, with major revisions being whole numbers, minor revisions first decimal place, small fixes etc after that. This would go from the Linux kernel to Windows (as illustrated above!) and most software packages!

then there's the "marketing spin" on it, where the product has to seem to be new, improved, is so much more advanced than the competition, will do your laundry, shopping, talk to your girlfriend, etc. and this is where the marketing people come in with their names and numbers and everything that make no sense other than for product recognition. examples that come to mind are Intel (...386, 486, Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Xeon, Pentium III, Itanium, etc), AMD (Athlon), Macintosh (OS 7, 8, 9... X?) and so on ans so forth. the list goes on.

As long as both are available, I dont see this as being a problem. The internal numbering system is useful for developers, of course. They might be able to tell the differences between Kernels 1.2 and 2.0, which would be important for them. On the other hand, a user with no development skills or designs in that direction, would rather know the differences between redhat 5 and 6, such as what WindowManagers it gets shipped with, what the installation is like, and so forth.


Re:Year Versioning Makes Sense (1)

kenfine (125407) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421130)

Your apparent need to axe-grind about Microsoft is interfering with your analysis.

Seems a year number for Office can suggest what the latest and most featured version of Office might be -- nothing more and nothing less. I appreciate the convenience. Consumers can decide for themselves whether they want to pay for the features in the newest versions.

My experience with most non-technical computer users is that they will convince themselves that whatever computer/software combo they have "does what they need it to do". Until they have the option of easily trying out these new features, they don't know what's possible, or how much time they could be saving themselves. As someone who has used Word and MS Office since their first incarnations, I can fairly say that both the 97 and 2000 versions improved the product to the point that most consumers would want the upgrade.

Re:Roman numerals (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421131)

well, no need to worry about it now. All your going to see now is MM.

Year Versioning DOES have its place (3)

ShadeTC (58886) | more than 14 years ago | (#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 :)


Re:Mozilla has it right. a clarification (2)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421133)

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.

Re:Switch to hexadecimal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421134)

Maybe... Windows 2^11 (2048) or Window Windows 11111010001 (2001)

Re:Windows 00 ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421135)

> then . . . Windows 00

Windows Naught? Like it I do, yes, hmm. :)

20thCentury Fox is no more (1)

talonyx (125221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421136)

It's just Fox now. They changed it pretty recently. Besides, 21st Century Fox is a tacky name. As for Century 21, they shouldn't care becuase none of the people who are working at the company, or any of their succesasors, will be alive to see the 22nd century. So what, anyway. I'm sure Century 22 Realty is not a taken name, and if it is, they can buy it.

Re:Year versioning sux! (1)

Nicodemus (19510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421137)

think about it. 4.0 > 3.0 therefore 2048 > 2000. I don't see the problem... I mean, you can tell what number is bigger, right? right??? if anything, the year reveals MORE information. and how is Win95 Win95 OSR 1 Win95 OSR 2 and Win95 OSR 2.3 confusing? it's easy for me to see the difference, but I may have left my thinking cap on all night again. Blasted thing. Nicodemus

Re:My thoughts... (1)

BlaisePascal (50039) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421138)

Slink, then potato (no e), then woody (not released yet).

Of course, if you said "Debian 2.1, Debian 2.2, or Debian 2.3", you would have been referring to the same releases.

There are reasons why Debian uses a code-name based -internal- versioning system instead of numbers. But Debian doesn't expect people to memorise the code names. They give numeric versions to the releases when they make them.

The same thing is true of MacOS's code names, or Red Hat's.

Re:My thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421139)

Potatoe? Potatoe? Is Dan Quayle posting to slashdot now?

Re:Not a serious problem (1)

HermDog (24570) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421140)

Does 'Windows 2005' really make less sense than, say, 'Mandrake 7.0'?
Well, let's apply some basic algebra to the question and "simplify" it to:
Does 'Windows' really make less sense than, say, 'Mandrake'?
Now, I think the answer is obvious: Yes. Let's try with some substitutions. Let's substitute "poking your eye with a sharp stick" for "Mandrake":
Does 'Windows' really make less sense than, say, 'poking your eye with a sharp stick'?
Well, that seem to still work out to a resounding "Yes," doesn't it?

On the other hand, if I wanted to know if Mandrake 7.0 was newer or older or just different from Mandrake 7.1 or Mandrake 7.2, I would have to resort to the difficult task of parsing the version numbers, whereas if I wanted to discover if two Windows 2005 CDs were different from each other, I'd only have to resort to augury.

I won't care so much about this in a few days, but I've been helping people not worry about Y2K affecting their Win95 systems, and it sure would have been nice to have some definite assurance which version of Win95 everybody had. It all worked out, but would it have been so hard to have Win95, Win95 release 2, Win95 release 3, or some similar nomenclature be more consistently and prominently displayed? Anybody know where I can find uname -a for Windows?

Re:Roman numerals easier now (1)

Stain (118529) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421141)

Oh, but the roman numerals are a bit easier now, you know... 2000 = MM.. and 2001 = MMI and so on.. :=) Will look pretty unusual :=)

BTW:.. the unstandard MCMCMMMMMVIII would be something like.. 1000-100+1000-100-+5000 + 5 + 3 = 6808 ?

Year versioning is great... (1)

gilga_mesh (59724) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421142)

...from a marketing standpoint. It reminds people how old their software is, and invokes a need to buy a new version after a few years have passed. Lets face it, OS 3.11 sounds up to date anytime, but OS '89 sounds plain old. What could be better than to release a product under a name that sounds nice and new and have the name "magically" change to something old as the time for a new release draws near.

Ever notice how console sports games get released year after year (madden '97, madden '98, etc) with virtually no changes? If they called the games madden 1 and madden 2, people would expect major changes and be dissapointed. Release it as '98 and '99, however, and people just eat it up.

Parts have versions, systems have names. (4)

Above (100351) | more than 14 years ago | (#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.

Re:Year Versioning Makes Sense (1)

thales (32660) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421144)

Year versioning also makes it easier to compare products from two venders. Look at the recent jump in Slackware numbers. Too many people were assuming that Slackware 4.0 was older than Redhathat 6.0. If they were Redhat 99 and Slackware 99 the confusion could have been avoided.

Re:Roman numerals (1)

znu (31198) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421145)

Too late. Mac OS X anyone?


Re:Nextel after 2000 (2)

Pascal Q. Porcupine (4467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421146)

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.

Re:95, 98, 2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421147)

What's wrong with just naming the software for the year it's released (or close to it)?

Nothing that I can see, in fact, it makes some really good sense.

This article is just here to give some anti-MS people something else to slobber about in the new year.


Re:Does anyone care? (1)

kraig11 (85803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421148)

logical people?
you've never tried selling computers, have you? ;)

the number of people I get that just assume a bigger number is better is truly amazing.

"must have 50X CDROM, I don't want that 48X, those are too slow"

Windows Millineum (1)

Mox-Dragon (87528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1421149)

I believe microsoft is planning to release a version of windows called "Windows Millineum" after they release 2000.

Re:95, 98, 2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421150)

u seriously think he's gonna be using that program a hundred years later? or even have the hardware to be able to use that program a hundred years later...

Nightly Stands,Turns Me Off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1421151)

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.

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