please no "." in planet version specifications (Was: [plt-scheme] planet require idea)

From: Neil Van Dyke (neil at
Date: Sun Mar 23 07:53:13 EDT 2008

My biggest preference regarding any change to PLaneT "require" specs is 
that they *not* use the period character to delimit the major and minor 
components of a PLaneT version spec.

Most packages have native version specs separate from PLaneT version specs.

These native version specs almost always have 2 or more components 
(usually numbers) separated by "." characters.

PLaneT chose to introduce its own separate version spec scheme, rather 
than using and extending the native version specs (as, e.g., Debian does).

Now we have two separate version specs for talking about the same 
version of a software package.

In many cases a PLaneT version spec can be mistaken for a native version 
spec, and vice versa.

This potential for confusion presents a significant software engineering 
liability.  (There's often a good reason for the trouble to which people 
go to precisely label versions, of course!)

The least we can do to mitigate the risk of confusion is try to visually 
distinguish the PLaneT version from the native version, by *not* using 
"." in PLaneT version specs.

For example, keep presenting exact PLaneT version specs like "(1 3)", 
not "1.3".   (And, if changing to use "1:3" or "/1/3", consider using 
that same visual appearance of a PLaneT version everywhere, although 
that is a lesser consideration.)

For the same reason I want to keep "." out of "require" specs, I would 
also like to get rid of the "." in PLaneT version specs on the PLaneT 
Web site.


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