Python pre-release announcements

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Sat Oct 11 10:37:27 CEST 2008

On Wed, 08 Oct 2008 08:19:33 +1100, Ben Finney wrote:

>> I disagree.  These say exactly what has happened and tell me what I
>> want to know, which is that something new has been released, which is
>> to say, made available for download.
> Which is entirely different from the “release” implicit in e.g. “release
> candidate”, hence they don't say what they appear to say. Since the
> latter term is unlikely to change, I'm asking that the announcements
> don't unnecessarily overload the meaning of “release”.

I've always hated the term "release candidate". It's been released, it is 
a release. A release candidate is something which may be released, but 
hasn't yet been chosen.

> > I disagree.  [ANN] could mean anything: planned? canceled? needs help?
> > ("Oh, 'released', why didn't you say so?")
> As above, “released” is a poor term for this, since it *already* has
> connotations of “all done, out the door, ready to go” as evidenced
> in “release candidate” (not released, but we think it could be) and
> the distinction of the triumphant announcements that accompany
> *actual* releases.

I think you have it completely backwards. It's quite possible, even 
sensible, to release a draft paper, release an experimental prototype, or 
release an alpha version of software. I don't agree that "release" has 
any connotations of "all done" at all. Being released and being ready for 
release are orthogonal concepts: patients can be released from hospital 
before they are ready, and software can be released before it is in a fit 
state for production.

I don't know how some people have started using "released" to mean 
"production-ready", but it makes no sense to me and I wish they would 
stop. I think it is a poorly thought-out practice and it leads to people 
being confused when inaccurately titled "pre-release" versions are 

> Whatever is chosen, please reserve “RELEASED” for the
> commonly-expected meaning of something akin to “no longer in
> intensive development or bug-hunting mode, now ready to go out on its
> own and be used with abandon by the masses”.

Commonly expected by who? That's certainly not any meaning of "released" 
in any dictionary I know of.


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