Note: Sentimental Versioning

Jun 8, 2023

While so called “semantic versioning” has spawned its own sub-genera of debate about the semantics of semantics, there are a whole host of projects that carve their own paths with their version numbering scheme. Some of these schemes are so creative as to be mini works of art in and of themselves. Dominic Tar has captured a delightful selection of such schemes in Sentimental Versioning.

My favorite example sited is that of Tex and Metafont:

In his seminal text layout system, TeX, and his equally brilliant typeface design system, METAFONT, Donald uses a versioning number system that asymptotically approaches perfection. The version numbers of TeX approach π (the current version is 3.14159265) and the version numbers of METAFONT approach e. It has been prophesied that the last change not be made until after the day Donald ascends to heaven on a shining cloud. At that point, Donald will make one last ssh connection down from heaven to his server at Stanford University and set the version number unto π exactly. At that point all remaining bugs will be declared features, and the output from TeX will remain the same for all eternity.