SlackwareThis Forum is for the discussion of Slackware Linux.
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These numbers: 12.0, ..., 12.2, 13.0, ..., 13.37, 14.0, and perhaps 14.2 mean that the next release is better than the previous one. To be precise all those releases are very stable but the newer ones include the newer versions of almost all programs and are compatible with the newer hardware so I called them better than the previous ones.
By the way: most of the guys above joked a bit because the numerology causes that some people start to joke by default (and me too from time to time). So do not try to figure out what these guys tried to tell you because they did not talk to you at all.
So... if one single shared library bumps to a new .soname, then we could no longer use the same major version number for Slackware, according to the rules of semantic versioning.
Some operating systems try to keep minor revisions binary compatible, while major revisions don't have such a requirement. In my own distribution I would tie that to libc upgrades or other important stuff. For example Slackware 11.0 is compatible with Sun StarOffice 5.2 while Slackware 12.0 (and later) isn't due to the NTPL/linuxthreads issue.
While it may seem that there's no rhyme or reason to Slackware's version numbers, there is to some extent. In the case of Slackware 14.0, the kernel finally moving to 3.x was probably enough to justify it, but other events like including the clang compiler for the first time also factored in.
I think, the kernel version doesn't matter much in semantic versioning, because viewed from the userland the kernel ABI is very stable across versions. Even the jump to Linux 3.0 didn't change much in that respect. (Inside the kernel there is no stable API even from the source perspective, so that doesn't matter.)