Versionless Software

Suppose you have an ideal piece of software at version X with one bug in it. When the developer fixes the bug in version Y, you want to have that bug fixed too.

Without automatic updates, this means you have to manually update to Y. This has some cognitive effort associated with it. When multiplied by hundreds of different pieces of software, it is quite significant.

Wouldn't it be better to have it automatically update without the end user having to worry about or even know anything about versions? Yes and no:

  • Yes - if you don't mind using the newer version and the update process
  • No - if the new version does something other than bug fixes (i.e. added/removed features)
  • No - if the autoupdate process is intrusive and slows down your computer

I think the reasons for the 'no' answer can be, in theory, avoided, leaving yes and therefore making it possible to reduce cognitive load. To make our lives simpler by not having to regularly update software or deal with a major update from a very old version.


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