What’s wrong with low version numbers?
In a presentation entitled “Why I hate Django”, Cal Henderson (head of engineering for Flickr) said, that low version numbers makes him suspicious.
- YouTube Video @ 0:51:15
- Slideshow presentation (part2) @ slide 61-64
This is because Django has only just released version 1.0 (on 03/09/08). Considering that the project was started over 3 years ago (July 2005), it’s a fairly long time.
In his insightful, yet comic presentation Cal pokes fun at Djangos low version number, suggesting that projects with a higher version number can be more trusted, while giving an an alternate (and extreme) suggestion of 10,000 (or even vista), claiming that these are “serious business”.
Another project accused of “only just releasing version 1.0” is wine. After 15 years wine was finally “uncorked“. However, wine previously had a date versioning scheme (eg: Wine 20040505).
Although there is no right or wrong way of doing software versioning, the advice in the open source world is to “release soon, release often” – high version numbers are expected, especially for more mature projects.
In conclusion, we can learn not to be afraid of releasing with bigger version numbers, especially since it saves time continually trying to convincing people that “despite the low version number it is stable“.