Software by numbers

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This article may have too many section headers dividing up its content. Please help improve the article by merging similar sections and removing unneeded subheaders. Software versioning is the process of assigning either unique version names or unique version numbers to unique states of computer software. A variety of version numbering schemes have been created to keep track of different versions of a piece of software. The ubiquity of computers has also led to these schemes being used in contexts outside computing. In sequence-based software versioning schemes, each software release is assigned a unique identifier that consists of one or more sequences of numbers or letters.

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In some schemes, sequence-based identifiers are used to convey the significance of changes between releases. Changes are classified by significance level, and the decision of which sequence to change between releases is based on the significance of the changes from the previous release, whereby the first sequence is changed for the most significant changes, and changes to sequences after the first represent changes of decreasing significance. In this scheme, risk and functionality are the measures of significance. 5, or Adobe Photoshop 5 to 5. A different approach is to use the major and minor numbers, along with an alphanumeric string denoting the release type, e. A software release train using this approach might look like 0. Again, in these examples, the definition of what constitutes a “major” as opposed to a “minor” change is entirely subjective and up to the author, as is what defines a “build”, or how a “revision” differs from a “minor” change.

Shared libraries in Solaris and Linux may use the current. The most recent interface number that the library implements. The implementation number of the current interface. The difference between the newest and oldest interfaces that the library implements. In most proprietary software, the first released version of a software product has version 1. Some projects use the major version number to indicate incompatible releases. Often programmers write new software to be backward compatible, i.

Some schemes use a zero in the first sequence to designate alpha or beta status for releases that are not stable enough for general or practical deployment and are intended for testing or internal use only. There are two schools of thought regarding how numeric version numbers are incremented. The standard GNU version numbering scheme is major. When printed, the sequences may be separated with characters. The choice of characters and their usage varies by scheme.