Distribution Organization

Distribution Organization

How Cat's Eye Technologies' software distributions are organized.

Release Engineering

Historically, Cat's Eye Technologies has usually identified each release of a software distribution with only a release number. The release number is really just the date that the software was released, formatted as YYYY.MMDD. Each of Y, M, and D is a single digit, so that it sorts nicely, even in a purely lexicographical sort order. In retrospect, YYYY.MM.DD might have been a more structurally consistent choice, but it's not as nicely symmetrical.

Using only the release date to identify releases mostly suffices for distributions like ours, which rarely have any maintenance needs warranting branches and such. But most of our distributions do contain implementations of programming languages, and these languages may or may not change between releases. For example, if we're just fixing bugs in a feature of the implementation, or clarifying the documentation or whatever, that's not a change to the language. But if all we use to identify it is a release number, you can't tell if it's a change to the language or not.

In addition, some of our distributions used a different convention, usually two numbers A.B which resembled a fraction in decimal notation: often B would be two digits (like 94) which did not count the number of minor releases since the last major release cycle, but rather tried to measure "how close" it was to the next major release cycle. Version numbers like this were sometimes also followed by an (essentially meaningless) letter.

Realizing what a mess this is, we have strived to revise our release identification system, as well as to make it more consistent.

With few exceptions, every distribution now carries both a version and a revision. The version consists of a major version number and a minor version number, in the format A.B, where A and B are both non-negative integers. The revision is the same as the old release number, that is, it is the date in YYYY.MMDD format. The version and revision are separated by hyphens, so a new-style "distfile" name typically looks like foo-1.3-2009.0116.zip (although we are by and large still providing only the legacy distfiles for download).

The rules for when these numbers change are as follows:

Filesystem Organization

This is a rough guide to how Cat's Eye Technologies' distributions are laid out. It is prescriptive, specifying how distributions should be laid out, but it is informed by the general pattern we're trying to find in our distributions. This guide is currently a work in progress and should not be considered complete yet.

Certain files in a distribution's root directory have standard meanings:

Certain files in the root distribution directory have standard meanings as well: