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November 2nd, 2007
01:27 pm
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throwaway mini-rant
What is it about modern consumer operating systems that has cast the perfectly useful idea of "version number" into disfavor?

I mean, it's bad enough that Windows gave it up after Y2K ... ME, XP, and now Vista (née Longhorn, aka Aero).

... But Apple? Okay, seriously, guys: Enough is enough. Yes, the cat thing was cute. But it's overstayed its welcome. There's no logic to it, just cute, and cute isn't a good enough concept for things that are supposed to be released in a specific forward progression.

When even the people providing support for your products have to look it up -- and when virtually every customer with the OS refers to it with the more useful "OS 10.X" designation -- you need to give up the pretense.

I mean. Really:

Cheetah < Puma < Jaguar < Panther < Tiger < Leopard

Is that supposed to make any sort of sense?

(... Is that a value judgment on the worth of particular cat species? Are you oppressing my cheetah brethren?)

Not to mention, you're running out of cat names. What will you do then? Are we going to see the following releases in the next few years --

10.6 Lion
10.7 Ocelot*
10.8 The OS We Were Going To Name Lynx Except The Name's Been Taken
10.9 Colocolo
10.10 Margay, And We Promise We're Not Reaching
10.11 Asian Palm Civet, Which Is A Cat, We Swear!
10.13 Lion-O
10.12 Catwoman**
10.14 Tigatron
10.15 Garfield®

Please, stop. For the sake of the children, don't let it go that far.

EDITED TO ADD: Now with bonus tech support griping in the comments!

* Insert Metal Gear pun here. (Or just go read this excellent webcomic.)
** If you clicked through from there to the image of the comic book page, here is a better scan of the first frame. Yes, that really is Batman saying "Quiet or Papa spank!"***
*** Anyone willing to make a good LJ icon of this (probably involving Photoshopping it to cram the text closer in; and/or cutting it up into an animated GIF) will earn 20 Baxil Points, redeemable for fine Baxil merchandise at Baxils everywhere.

Current Location: ~spiral
Current Music: Dandy Warhols, "Bohemian Like You"
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(37 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:November 2nd, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
My understanding, having previously worked for a software company, is that increasingly high version numbers denotes 'age' (and not so much 'product maturity') in the mind of the end-user. Dropping the version number kind of does the same thing marketing-wise as doing facial botox -- the about dialog, like the driver's license, still shows the right age, but the face is a little prettier.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
> increasingly high version numbers denotes 'age' (and not so much 'product maturity')

For the average user, that might be spot on. For me, changing the name feels like "Hi! We're back to 1.0 now!" and I don't want to touch it with a ten-foot pole until the bugs are starting to work themselves out.

Although I do sort of see your point. Photoshop CS vs. Photoshop 9? If Adobe really wants to keep cranking out pseudo-updates that basically do the same thing on faster machines, past a certain point a name change might be their only real way to convince people to upgrade.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
10.16: "Bugger it, we'll claw your eyes out like a cat and then you won't be able to read our lack of a new name."
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
I'm waiting for OS X 10.10.10. That'll be awesome. >.> And in case you were curious, I learned to stop asking what OS X version someone is running when I kept getting answers like "Um... 10.3... I think... was that Simba?"
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
At least Mac OS X makes its version information friggin' accessible. In all versions: Apple menu -> About This Mac.


T.S.: "Do you know what version of Windows you're running?"
Customer: "Uhhh... I think it's Word Explorer 5."
T.S.: "Right. OK, click on the 'Start' menu in the lower left-hand corner, and ..."
Customer: "I don't see 'Start'."
T.S.: "Uh, OK. You must be running Vista then."
Customer: "OH WAIT! There it is, the lower left-hand corner."
T.S.: *headdesk headdesk headdesk*
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
"Alright, now click on 'Help and Support.' ... No? ... Okay, well let's get it out of the Control Panel then. Go back to the Start menu, and click on 'Control Panel'. ... You don't have Control Panel? Do you have 'Settings'? .... Okay then! That rules out almost everything. Click on 'My Computer' on the desktop ... nothing? Alright, maybe you renamed it. Is there something with a little picture of a computer screen? Great. Okay, click on that. Do you see 'Control Panel' there? Nifty! That narrows it down to Windows 95 or Windows 98, and we haven't even gotten to where I want to go yet!"
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
Actually, most people I encounter actually do use the animal names, in and outside the furry community.

On the other hand, many of those people are software engineers, very used to referring to projects by code names.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 04:51 am (UTC)
Ehh. That's reasonable enough, I guess, except I consider myself something of an old-school version system purist: major.minor.revision, where major is changed only when the software has undergone architectural restructuring, minor is changed when features have been added or removed, and revision is changed for bug fixes.

I'm wholly unaffected by the marketing consequences of that, but I know I'm in a very small minority there.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)

Batspank icon

How's this?

Quiet or Papa spank!
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 06:20 am (UTC)

Re: Batspank icon

Oh, damn, you beat me to it. I emailed mine to Baxil, since I have a free LJ account (no photo uploading) and Flickr won't do animated gifs.

Good job, tho! (Did you use Comic Sans?)
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2007 03:49 am (UTC)
Ubuntu: Feisty Fawn.

I had weird images when I saw that name. ;)

Date:November 3rd, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Speaking of which, "Lynx" is the best pun in software naming that I've come across yet. *sighs* Why did it have to be something fated to a speedy obsolescence? :P
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2007 05:17 am (UTC)

Lynx is not Obsolete

It's still the text-mode browser of choice for the civilized world ('links' is pretty awful) and one of a couple of good options for downloading web content from the command line.
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