back to article BOFH: We don't need no stinkin' upgrade

"But I just want to go back to the way it was..." my user whines. "What, when computers crashed every 10 minutes?" "No, I..." "Where the Print function acted more like the combination of the Hang and Discard Changes functions?" "NO, I JUST WANT MY MENU BACK!" "You mean you don't like the ribbon? It's new!" "I don't care …


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  1. Dave Walker 1

    Sounds like a mish-mash of everyone's upgrade strategy. The only bit I didn't see was the 18month subscription upgrade with version 3, 3S, 4, 4S where it all looks the same on the outside, but some whizzy bits on the inside get changed, and you may notice a difference

    Disclaimer - happy owner of iPhone 3, 3GS and 4S

    Mine's the one with a 4S in the pocket

    1. Decius

      I checked all the pockets, and none of them have a phone in them.


  2. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Thank you

    That's the last 25 years of my career neatly encapsulated. Time for Career v3.51.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Now what..

      .. does your 3.51 remind me off? No, seriously, that is a version that somehow triggers synapses. However, it being Friday they don't find any friends to talk to, so I may never know.

      No, wait. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh - Windows NT..

      Do NOT do that to me on a Friday ever again.

    2. laird cummings

      New Technology Career will not help you much - not at first. It'll work well, but will remain limited in uptake and expansion capablity until you shift to New Technology Career 4.0. Mind you, everyone will hate 4.0, but they'll get onboard with it until some sexier name comes along (still running New Technology Career 4.0 at base, but with flashy add-on bits).

  3. LyingMan


    not one of the violent frenzied attacks.. but good to read.. thanks..

  4. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    Gnome3 anyone

    GPL software just doesn't have quite such high version numbers!

    1. John Riddoch

      GPL versions go 0.1, 0.2 then on to 0.9 at which point they increment in ever decreasing numbers in an effort to avoid reaching a 1.0 version...

      1. Nigel 11

        0.997 - It's a fraction of perfection

        Obviously, 1.0 is impossible. Or it means that they've done a complete rewrite to put in loads of new features nobody wanted, and the perfection quotient goes back to zero while someone else forks 0.9971

      2. oddie
        Thumb Up


        it's amazing what you can get away with until you hit 1.0 :)

        1. Morg

          Or ...

          it gets discontinued because the blokes working on the project got tired of it.

      3. Peter Ford

        Courier MTA is a good example of this

        The chap who created it has got to about 0.66.3 at the moment. Several large organisations are using this (very good) mail server package for production, and it's been around for years: I came in at about 0.47 six(?) years ago...

        It's very stable, very safe, and conforms carefully to RFC and standards, but will it ever be 1.0? Not in my lifetime, I suspect.

    2. A. Coatsworth
      Thumb Down

      Firefox, anyone?

      I installed version 4 a few weeks ago, after being nagged endlessly to get out of version 3.6... But then, they they started pumping out a whole new version number every what, 2 days?

      I don't really know what is the newest version anymore, 7, 10, 666?

      1. Andrew 59

        Re: Firefox

        Not Firefox, Chrome. I seem to remember once checking the version history for that on Wikipedia and it insisted that version 12 was released a couple of days before 11.

    3. toughluck

      Firefox? They did 3.0, jumped to 3.5, sanity apparently hit them for a while, since they did 3.6, then jumped to 4.0, but suddenly lost it all by skipping to 5.0 in three months, 6.0 in about two, and 7.0 in just one more. If they release something in mid-November, it's going to be version 11...

    4. jonathanb Silver badge

      Firefox is a different story though. Currently v7.0.1, but it will probably be about v9 by the time the moderatrix comes back from the pub and approves my comment later this evening.

    5. Kevin Fields

      You counting revisions?

      One of my favorite games I play right now is at, after nearly several years, version 1.1.3. Internal revisions, however, is r2375889. :-)

    6. Scott Marshall
      Thumb Up

      Not just Gnome 3, but Unity, Windows 7.999999 (8 to one sig digit) too....

      <Sigh> Even though GPL/Open Source software may not have the high version numbers indicated in this webisode of BOFH, the bit about the so-called "savant" and related "ivory towered academics" unfortunately holds true.

      These tweed-coated twits forget that the rest of us have to (try and) use their mentally retarded, functionally deficient crapware.

      Yes, I'm an adherent to the school of "function over form", which is why I don't spend any time with the coloured-pencil brigade, except to beat them around the head and introduce them to such lovely colours as "arterial red", and "bruised blue". :D

      Okay - rant over, 'nuff said.

  5. Sir Smokesalot



  6. Roger Greenwood

    "found him eating carpet"

    is the quote of the day.

    1. Annihilator

      We all do that from time to time to keep the ladies happy though, right?...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "found him eating carpet"

      If my memory is not too blurred I think you'll find that is a line from one of Jasper Carrott's stories although I wouldn't go as far as to claim that even he was the original source as it is not an uncommon phrase to use of someone slightly lacking total control of their intellectual faculties.

    3. Scott Marshall

      "found him eating carpet"......

      Does that make him a "rugged individual"??? :D

  7. Melanie Winiger
    Thumb Up

    Great article

    "Version 6 is a complete rewrite combined with a price hike."

    How true is that?

  8. salada2k

    You're talking about Java Runtime, right?

  9. Gordon 10 Silver badge


    "Meanwhile we'll look up idiot savants on Google, see if any of them can count matchsticks quickly and see if we can employ them to think outside the box. We have no shame. (Obviously we'll apply for some tax rebate for hiring people with 'special abilities'.) We might have a press release about that too"

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Get off my lawn

    Classic Menu for Office does the trick on Office 2007, Microsoft probably sabotaged Office 2010 so it doesn't work any more.

  11. James Cullingham

    To the pain!

    So, version 4 is the ears?

  12. Yag

    I miss my menu bar too!

    I 8 Office 2007 ><

    1. Matthew 3

      RE: I 8 Office 2007

      What did it taste like?

      1. Nigel 11

        Flavour of Office 2007

        Chinese pine nut. The bad sort that causes "pine mouth".

        You can drink to that but it still won't get the taste out of your mouth.

      2. Stumpy


  13. b166er

    "You keep saying 'we' and not 'they'."

    "Yes, I know, I can't help myself; I'm getting carried away by the sheer balls of it!"


  14. Rick Giles
    Thumb Up

    Need a feature...

    that calls the cat rude names.

    1. laird cummings

      That's in the UI Tweak patch

      You'll need to download and instal Service Packs 1, 2, 2.1, 2.1a, and 3 before you can install the patch. Make sure you back up your entire drive at each upgrade. there is no roll-back path, and we are not responsible for lost data or smoking hardware.

  15. Chris007

    insighful and razor sharp this week

    genius, sheer genius

  16. Nigel 11

    Slow and bloated. And a bit leaky.


  17. Philip Lewis

    In the year 2525, if man is still alive

    Top drawer!

  18. Buzzby
    Thumb Up


    Got a full copy of Office 2003 and I dont use most of that. I have no need for any upgrade so there!!!

    1. Steve the Cynic

      That's OK...

      That's OK, I just upgraded my copy of Office. I went from 97 to 2010 in one huge suicidal leap. The automatic language detection is cool, much better than "Oh, you're using a French keyboard layout, you must be writing in French".

      Mostly, though, I'm left wondering what the fuss is all about on this Ribbon thing, aside from the fact that it's a bit on the big side. In fact, its size highlights the main difficulty of modern screens - they are too wide for their height when editing single documents. You either "fit-width" in which case they don't show all that much height *of the document*, or you use a fixed zoom and waste the right-hand side of the screen. Bah. Good for games, though.

  19. earl grey

    painfully true

    so not funny; but at least entertaining.

  20. Munchausen's proxy

    There seems to be a feature missing

    Which is the version that does barrel rolls?

    I tried to laugh, but could only cry. Top notch work.

  21. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Infinite version numbers

    Tex's version number is pi - adding an extra digit with each new bug fix. The advantage being that you can prove that the digits of pi are infinite but the only thing you can prove about a program is that a finite program can only have a finite number of bugs.

    Similarly metafont uses 'e'

    1. Richard Bragg

      Don't tell the bug finders that

      fortunately as they squash the last bug in version 'n' it'll go out of support and they still have all the new bugs in version 'n+.001'

      Once upon a time software was written to do a job. Now it's written to sell support contracts.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An unintentional side effect..

    .. of a new version is that you actually start to LIKE the old version. I honestly don't know how they get away with nuking usability time and time again and sell it as an improvement. These guys make New Labour politicians look like rank amateurs..

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of DataEase!!

    Oooooh! Reminds me of DataEase in so many ways!! Last one that worked half right was 6.52, been broken proper style ever since

  24. Stumpy

    One of the best in a long, long time...

    "You mean you don't like the ribbon? It's new!"

    "I don't care if it's new – I can't find anything!"

    "Sure you can, it's all in the ribbon – somewhere. It's a game software designers like to play with people."

    How so very true...

    So funny I think a little wee even came out.

    ... yes, it's the one with the depends in the pocket.

  25. laird cummings

    Version 10 is usually a complete re-name

    Still the same ol nasty pants underneath, but with a bloody expensive sales and marketting campaign attached to hide the fact that you're still selling folks the horrible, stinky, uncomfotable and endlessly-patched pants you were selling with version 9x.

  26. Richard 120

    Version numbers

    I'm always getting hassled about version numbers, there seems to be some deep rooted desire to have every bit of code/configuration even database record associated with a version number. It drives me nuts, whenevery I'm forced into giving a version number to something which previously didn't have one I just say it's version 1.

    It's completely meaningless, the only real thing of worth are the SVN repository numbers and the build numbers, but try saying it's version 4447 (SVN revision number) people get upset, no idea why.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like they were describing photoshop to me.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not to mention ...

    that each new version introduces new (motsly, but not all, different bugs; that new versions have new "improved" formats that cannot be properly handled by previous versions, so that the need to upgrade becomes viral; that increasingly vendors say they "listen to users" but then decide that their own, one-size-fits-all approcah is far superior; that for all the 1000-fold increase in CPU power and memory size over the years, the latest versions of the application are no faster.

    The IT industry spends far too much of its time - and its customers' money - changing stuff for little or no visible benefit to the users. Of course, it all drives hardware and software sales, not to mention service provider revenues. It's the users who lose out, but what do they know - they are clearly incapable of recognising "progress".

    1. A J Stiles

      This is intentional

      "new versions have new 'improved' formats that cannot be properly handled by previous versions, so that the need to upgrade becomes viral" -- this is completely intentional.

      Software doesn't wear out like anything with moving parts, so would last forever unless steps were taken to sabotage it. Successive versions of popular closed-source software are released with different save file formats and then widely distributed on new PCs and by piracy; so that sooner or later, someone is bound to send you a file that's in a format too new for your old software to open.

      At which point, you're forced to pay (if you're a business or honest home user) for an upgrade, because whoever sent you that file probably won't have a clue how to save a version you can use.

  29. Johan Bastiaansen


    This is not to supposed to be in the public domain.

  30. Ed Stewart
    Thumb Up

    It is so nice using Linux!

  31. Marty McFly Silver badge

    But it's all new!!!

    We changed the icons and moved everything around. You get to learn a whole new GUI! And beyond that it does the exact same things as the previous version.

    Look at us, we are the Redmond Innovators!!!

    1. baruch60610

      Alas, much of the time the new software *doesn't* do what the old version did. It is not unusual for features to be dropped and the UI to be randomly changed.

  32. E Haines

    Version numbers are not bleedin' decimals

    "[W]e haven't actually got many revisions left before we have to change to 7" is utter nonsense; you have an infinite number of revisions left. After 6.8 you do 6.9, then 6.10, 6.11, 6.12 etc. etc. etc. Just keep counting up, it's dead simple. Total fail, completely unworthy. If Apple can manage it, so can you--OS X version 10.4.0, 10.4.1, 10.4.2, 10.4.3, 10.4.4, 10.4.5, 10.4.6, 10.4.7, 10.4.8, 10.4.9, 10.4.10, 10.4.11. Then they were done with the 10.4 series and went to 10.5.0. See?

    1. Tomato42

      You seem to be unable to comprehend PHB logic. You sure you're employed?

    2. deadlockvictim

      Apple: Marketing decides version numbers

      It seems to me that the marketing dept (or possibly Steve Jobs) decided the relevant version number.

      E.Haines» Just keep counting up, it's dead simple.

      Apple applied this logic when giving version numbers to their Macintosh OS: 7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1, 7.1P, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.5, 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.5.3, 7.5.5, 7.6, 7.6.1, 8.0 (which should have been 7.7), 8.1 (which should have been 8.0), 8.5 (which should have been 8.2), 8.6, 9.0 (which should been 8.7). Of course, his Jobness arrived back in the middle of all of that and the clone wars had begun and this may have had an effect on the matter.

  33. Smoking Man


    Well, sure, there's no confusion about versions and numbers,

    you can run 2.6.18-195.el5, 2.6.18-238.el5, or maybe something like 2.6.32-200.20.1.el5uek ?

    Best thing there: /etc/redhat-release gives you just some basic info like "Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5.7 (Tikanga)"

    The devil's in the detail..

  34. Just Thinking

    Remember Delphi?

    Used to use it ages ago, and it was well known that only odd numbered versions worked.

  35. Andrew Moore
    Paris Hilton

    Simon forgot...

    The move to roman numerals (version 10 will be released as version X) and the requirement that every customer purchase a yearly Customer Care Package which does nothing except entitle the buyer to purchase the next major upgrade at a slightly lower price than buying it new; even though when you look at the numbers it turns out you would have saved a boatload of money by not purchasing the CCP and buying the next upgrade as new anyway.

  36. Drew V.

    To paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre

    "Hell is another software update you didn't ask for."

  37. wingZero

    Sounds like firefox lately....

    Title says it all really...


  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's not a NOFH story...

    It's Microsoft's business plan.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Not professional

    Surely there should be some mention of the "Forkers" in sales.

    At some version that is almost usable, fork out the bits people are capable of "using" and make them add-ons.

    Call the one with the bits still in "Professional" so all the people who would choke on the 30% price hike can be insinuated as "Unprofessional", jokers versions, bedroom version, sticky mouse version.

    Only those forkers in sales know their own value.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Include Android Market app update

    Android Market app update from 2.x.x to 3.x.x went from 1.6mb to 7.6mb and FUBAR older smartphones without space left to install it, thus keeping other apps from updating.

    While 3.x.x has some new features it is not as easy to navigate as 2.x.x - and there's lots of Google enquiries about restoring the old version-2, and how to prevent it from updating.

    There is problem too that lots of people now cannot see a full list of their installed apps from Google Market - when they are installed and working but not shown in the list. It appears that Google did something untoward to their databases at the launch of version-3.

    UI on 3.x.x now starts with a page of adverts, and may not install properly - despite clearing the cache and data for the market and market updater, all I've got is a a button that says "user apps will appear here".

    Titanium Pro fails to restore Market Links in market 3.1.5 - it never did work well, but maybe there's database confusion caused by two additional instances - in the Appbrain Market and Cyanogen database lists of installed apps.

    On the other hand Google may be deliberately disabling things, making them not work, because it may be that Google just wants to start to re-exert control over their Google Market ?

  41. FozzyBear

    Bloody Hell

    The software strategy map for every software house out there nicely condensed by the BOFH

    I'm guessing the next instalment will be a rendition on the licencing structure those same software firms like to impose on the unsuspecting

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... apparently, for me, jumped from 14.0.835.202 m to 15.0.874.106 m by just checking the about tab.

    Not a thing changed in the UI. It hasn't from the past 3 full versions, (last time I checked). Which is a bit scary, thinking of it now. Is all of this patching?

    I just like the new printing preview. And creating a PDF straight from the page. Which came about google knows in which version.

    They should number the versions by date. Not just year, full date. With hour and minutes too.

  43. Candy

    He's back

    And he's on form. Absolutely the best BofH instalment in, er, ages. Ages and ages...

  44. Jesthar

    I'm looking forwards to a quintuple whammy of this next year... my workplace in rapid succession:

    1. Does a major upgrade of one critical document management system

    2. Replaces shared drives with another, very different document management system

    3. Changes from Lotus Notes to MS Outlook

    4. Upgrades from XP to Win7 - AND switches many to virtual desktops (aaargh - thankfully excluded from that one!)

    5. Switches from Office 2002 (yes, 2002, not 2003) to Office 10

    Yup, that's going to be fun on the few thousand user scale...

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