Whither Point Releases?

Posted in Wed, 14 Nov 2007 07:24:00 GMT

In the old software days with point releases, major versions would increase from 1 to 2 to 3, etc. Releases in between major versions would point releases along the lines of 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and smaller releases would be 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, etc. Then came along Windows 95 and the exit of sequential version numbers. With this naming scheme you really can't have Windows 95.1 so we now have Releases, along the lines of Oracle 11g Release 1 and Windows 2003 Server Release 2. You can pretty much guarantee that there isn't going to be an Oracle 11.1g ;)

That's all fine and good from a marketing perspective if the reason is that we are now using a year or abbreviation instead of a simple integer but are there other technical reasons? I recently upgraded from Apache httpd 2.0.x to 2.2.x and the major thing that I encountered was that configuration had changed significantly and that I had to redo my conf files. I've spoken with some people that indicated many organizations are afraid of point releases for enterprise software because they often break things and are not necessarily smooth upgrades. This fit with my Apache httpd experience which got me thinking.

If there exist enough backward compatibility problems with point releases, it would make sense that software publishers would want to avoid point releases (at least from a marketing perspective), when the release is backward compatible, e.g. Releases for former point releases, Service Packs for aggregated patches and the like. Has the single point (vs. double point) release come to mean that backward compatibility has been broken. If so, should it be avoided from a marketing perspective when backward compatibility still exists?

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Domain name research hijacking

Posted in , Sun, 23 Jul 2006 14:40:00 GMT

One of the most valuable assets for a website is its domain name. Whenever I check to see if a new domain I want is available or not, part of me wonders if just the act of looking for domain name would make it unavailable, i.e. if someone is scanning domain name look ups. I've always written this off as being too paranoid but Larry Seltzer reports this is exactly what Chesterton Holdings is doing. Chesterton Holdings' webpage essentially admits they are using an automated shotgun approach to acquire domain names which may result in many names they don't have the rights to:

We acquire domain names through an automated process rather than by any process that would intentionally infringe on any person's rights. If you have any questions about a domain, please submit your query to us below. It is our policy to transfer a domain name to any entity that, in our reasonable opinion, has a legitimate claim. We will promptly transfer a domain name to you if you can show us that you have a legitimate claim.

Larry checks for domain availability on the CNet Domain Search Page (the link provided doesn't seem to go there anymore) and within 30 hours, those domains were registered to Chesterton Holdings. There's some speculation as to how this is happening but it's clear there is a compromise somewhere. I urge everyone to treat domain search aggregators as (the equivalent of) phishing sites and go directly to a trusted registrar for domain availability checking. The other thing you can do is look up lots of worthless and nonsensical domain names to see if Chesterton registers them.

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The Lance Armstrong Notebook

Posted in , , , Sun, 09 Jul 2006 07:40:00 GMT

Lance Armstring and his notebook

I was recently in the market for a AMD 64 notebook because I wanted a portable system to do x86_64 linux testing. The HP Lance Armstrong L2000 series notebook was one that I came across. The technical features were fairly standard so it didn't stand out for me. From a marketing perspective however, each laptop is branded with the LIVESTRONG logo, has Lance's signature, comes with a yellow wrist band and provided a $50 donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Certainly the yellow LIVESTRONG wrist bands were decent business (counterfeiters were convicted and fined $111,000 for selling fake wrist bands), but I wondered how many people would buy a notebook computer because of Lance Armstrong and the LIVESTRONG program


My question was answered in July's Business 2.0 magazine which says the Lance Armstrong notebook has sold over 40,000 units and is the best selling laptop at CompUSA for 2005Q3. Originally $50 was donated for each laptop sold but now it's been increased to $150 and the laptop has its own website. The laptop is now sold exclusively at CompUSA - I'm not sure if CompUSA had an exclusive before or if this after their great success. Additionally, HP has picked up 2 points in market share against Dell since the program started and AMD's market share has gone from 9% to 11% (of course a lot of AMD's rise is due to price-performance, not Lance's notebook; the HP vs. Dell numbers may also be due to Dell's reluctance to use AMD). Some good insight into the power of brands.

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