Software version numbers

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Wed Jul 6 19:56:38 CDT 2016

dots are not always used as separators between sections and subsections.
The common case is in many law references, or references to Bible or large
books, that are numbering volumes (or using abbrevaited names), chapters,
parts. Also for alineas and minor sections, numbering systems will switch
between capital or lowercase roman numbers, capital or lowercase letters in
an alphabet, and decimal numbers (or other national numbering systems, not
necessarily decimal). Dots are used mostly between two decimal numbers, but
other separators may also be used such as hyphens, parentheses, slashes,
spaces and frequently some other keywords...

Version numbers in softwares are not always purely numbers (major
version+minor version+update number+build number is a common scheme, but
this is not universal because many softwares are release with several
parallel branches for testing, or specific customization by client profile
or specific to a client; there are also other elements such as the platform
types, or build type such as debug/checked or normal).

We cannot really standardize the separators: each software provider uses
its own scheme and formats. These version numbers are rarely localizable,
except for transforming decimal digits from ASCII to another national
numbering system, using basic character substitution. Some versioning
systems in fact for not even use incremental numbers but some digital
signatures or some opaque randomized GUID in a remote repository (such as
Git) where you can get an image of the versions tree, and will append a
version timestamp for easier comparison (this timestamp is localisable when
displayed, the opaque signature or randomized GUID will typically not be

Internally these version number formats are still stored as comparable
numbers, but the mapping between both forms is not simple and platform
dependant (it may be packed into several binary formats with more or less
bits per field, and into a single integer or floatting point number, or
into a more complex binary data structure).

For all these reasons, I don't think that CLDR can standardize anything on
version number formatting. It's generally best to consider these formatted
numbers as opaque strings to display as is and let each application vendor
interpret their own version numbering using their own utility library.

2016-07-07 0:09 GMT+02:00 Richard Wordingham <
richard.wordingham at>:

> On Wed, 06 Jul 2016 22:59:47 +0200
> Kent Karlsson <kent.karlsson14 at> wrote:
> > Version "numbers" (or rather number sequences) use full stop, as do
> > section/ subsection/subsubsection/... number sequences in documents.
> > At least in Europe...
> In particular, the British pre-ASCII tradition is to use MIDDLE DOT for
> the decimal point and FULL STOP to delimit the fields of section
> numbers.
> Richard.
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