The “v” sikness is spreading

It seems to be a new fashion. Instead of tagging software with a normal version number, many upstream adds a one letter prefix. Instead of version 0.1.2, it becomes version v0.1.2.

This sickness has spread all around in Github (to tell only about the biggest one), from one repository to the next, from one author to the next. It has consequences, because Github (and others) conveniently provides tarballs out of Git tags. Then the tarball names becomes packagename-v0.1.2.tar.gz instead of package packagename-0.1.2.tar.gz. I’ve even seen worse, like tags called packagename-0.1.2. Then the tarball becomes packagename-packagename-0.1.2. Consequently, we have to go around a lot of problems like mangling in our debian/watch files and so on (probably the debian/gbp.conf if you use that…). This is particularly truth when upstream doesn’t make tarball and only provides tags on github (which is really fine to me, but then tags have to be made in a logical way). Worse: I’ve seen this v-prefixing disease as examples in some howtos.

What’s wrong with you guys? From where is coming this v sickness? Have you guys watch too much the v 2009 series on TV, and you are a fan of the visitors? How come a version number isn’t just made of numbers? Or is this just a “v” like the virus of prefixing release names with a “v”?

So, if you are an upstream author, reading debian planet, with your software packaged in Debian, and caught the bad virus of prefixing your version numbers with a v, please give-up on that. Adding a “v” to your tags is meaningless anyway, and it’s just annoying us downstream.

Edit: Some people pointed to me some (IMO wrong) reasons why to prefix version numbers. My original post was only half serious, and responding with facts and common sense breaks the fun! :) Anyway, the most silly one being that Linus has been using it. I wont comment on that one, it’s obvious that it’s not a solid argumentation. Then the second one is for tab completion. Well, if your bash-completion script is broken, fix it so that it does what you need, rather than going around the problem by polluting your tags. Then the 3rd argument was if you were merging 2 repositories. First this never happened to me to merge 2 completely different repos, and I very much doubt that this is an operation that you have to do often. Second, if you merge the repositories, the tags are loosing all meanings, and I don’t really think you will need them anyway. Then the last one would be working with submodules. I haven’t done it, and that might be the only case where it makes sense, though this has nothing to do with prefixing with “v” (you would need a much smarter approach, like prefixing with project names, which in that case makes sense). So I stand by my post: prefixing with “v” makes no sense.