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Curse of the 4.0

We have a project in the works that would normally be released as v4.0.  One manager insists that the number 4 be skipped for the reasons that other softwares with v4.0 have been poor, and the word for 4 in Japanese also means death, so Japanese people won't want to buy it.

To me, this is silly.  I think it will cause more trouble of wondering why 4 was skipped.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Name it Product XP, or product XT, or Product NX, then go on with Product XP 5, etc.

Johnny Bravo
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

"4" is cursed:

MPEG-1: successful
MPEG-2: wildly successful
MPEG-3: skipped
MPEG-4: wallowing in its own licensing wasteland and about to be skinned alive by WM9.

Do what he says, skip '4'.

nat ersoz
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

MPEG 4 = DivX, a very widely used standard and codec.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

MPEG-4 != DivX. DivX is MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile PLUS proprietary Extensions. Also, the DivX 5.x Encoder does not produce valid MPEG-4 streams but proprietary streams embedded in either AVI, Ogg, etc.

Johnny Bravo
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

note that many hotels don't have no 13th floor.

Johnny Bravo
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I know in Chinese that 4 is bad luck and means death, but I didn't know it was the same for Japanese. My family has never been superstitious about the number 4.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Release numbers are a marketing issue. As
a developer you shouldn't care. If you have
done things like derive releases from file
version numbers then that was a mistake.

son of parnas
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Yup, 4 is pronounced "shi" in sino-japanese.. just like death :-)

Frederic Faure
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Use the Fibonacci sequence:

1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13...
Oops, you want to avoid 13 too. 

Harvey Motulsky
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Our company had a number of products, each with its own version number. When it merged them into one suite, it chose 4 as the version number for the suite, because it was higher than the version number of any of the components. So nobody thought they were going backwards.

Of course its illogical, Captain. But sometimes you have to do illogical things.

Our V4 was very successful, by the way.

David Clayworth
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

So 4.13.666 wouldn't be too good? :-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I don't know about Japanese, but in Mandarin, "four" is pronounced "si4" (suh, falling tone), and death is pronounced "si3" (suh, falling then rising tone).  And yah, some folks are a bit superstitious about that.  Had a girlfriend once whose mother flipped a bit when her dorm room number had a four in it.

Course, her mother always was kinda flaky ...

So was she for that matter, but I digress ...

How about naming the version after the release year?  E.g., FooSoft 2004?

Oh shit, that has a four in it too ...

I guess you're just screwed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

how about 3+1?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

You could do what the Word for Windows team did ... version 1.0, 2.0, and then 6.0.  Why 6.0?  Cause WordPerfect was at version 5.1 at the time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

It's not just hotels, and it's not just 13. In Vancouver, most new buildings don't have any 4, 13, 14, 24 or any other floor that has a 4 in it. IIRC, it's actually the Chinese number for death.

On the other hand, everyone wants 8, which is a Chinese lucky number.

Given that version numbers really mean nothing except "new", there is no reason not to set it to whatever you want. There is a marketting aspect to it (for instance, a lot of 1.0 software is released as 1.2, or 2.0, and MS skipped MS Word for Windows from 2 to 6 in order to get it in line with WordPerfect's version number). Do what you think works for your target market.

Tim Sullivan
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

>>So 4.13.666 wouldn't be too good? :-)

Ha! Thanks DJ, I needed that. ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Stick with prime numbers. Keeps everybody happy.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Didn't Sun confuse the heck out of people going from Solaris 2.X to Solaris 8 ? I think it became a joke of sorts for our SA’s, but look how well they are doing now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I speak Japanese, and yes a way of pronouncing 4 has the same sound as the Japanese word for death. But modern Japanese people aren't so superstitious that they would avoid a version 4.

For example Windows NT 4.0 was super popular when I lived in Japan.

Don’t worry about it.

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

You could always go for the "classical" approach, e.g. WidgetWare IV... anyone who doesn't like the connotations of four could just pronounce it "eye-vee", though I suppose that might be problematic in languages like Mandarin that don't have a "v" sound natively.

Seriously, though, how many of the people making the purchase decisions for this software will be so superstitious as to avoid it for that reason alone?

John C.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Product 2004
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

How about Product 3.999?

You should have done what Oracle did: skip Version 1.0!

"This first Oracle was named version 2 rather than version 1 because the fledgling company thought potential customers were more likely to purchase a second version rather than an initial release. "

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I can't disagree with Oracle on that one.  I'm a developer but I'm still not trusting of 1.0 versions.  I always number my apps starting at 1.1 -- for whatever reason, that just feels better!

(Hey Tim, I guess you're a fellow Vancouverite...)

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, October 23, 2003

"note that many hotels don't have no 13th floor."

Have you ever programming using boolean logic?

Not Negative
Thursday, October 23, 2003

"Have you ever programming using boolean logic?"

I guess he aint never done it.
Thursday, October 23, 2003

17 is normally considered the unlucky number in Italy, not 13. And possibly for the same reasons as the 4. In Roman numerals it's XVII, an anagram of the latin vixi, or modern Italian vissi, "I lived", as in no longer living. At least that's the story...

Thursday, October 23, 2003

>In Vancouver, most new buildings don't have any 4, 13, 14, 24 or any other floor that has a 4 in it.

Sure they do, they just don't call them that.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Yes, Chris, you're very clever. :-)

Tim Sullivan
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Almost Anon:

I used to be! Moved back to T.O. 5 years ago or so. The mountains really get into you, and are by far the thing I miss the most. :-)

Tim Sullivan
Thursday, October 23, 2003

how f@cking stupid.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

> how about 3+1?

Or 3++?  It's catchy, isn't it?

Yes, I know that 3 is not modifiable, and that the value of the expession would be 3 and not 4.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

"I know in Chinese that 4 is bad luck and means death, but I didn't know it was the same for Japanese."

Yes but in Western mysticism 4 is often a number of stability and being able to rest after a period of work and enjoy one's labours.

There's as much reason for looking at it that way as the Chinese and Japanese way :)

Jon Hanna
Friday, October 24, 2003

Everybody keeps saying that Word for Windows skipped from 2.0 to 6.0 to compete with WordPerfect 5.1. While that may have been part of it, remember MS Word for DOS?

The last version of Word for DOS was also 5-point-something. I always thought that the Windows version skipped to 6 so that the DOS users who were being abandoned would feel like they were upgrading when they switched to Windows.

Jeff Robertson
Friday, October 24, 2003

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