RPM support for semantic versioning

Panu Matilainen pmatilai at laiskiainen.org
Thu Nov 6 10:59:06 UTC 2014

On 11/06/2014 10:40 AM, Andreas Maier wrote:
> Hi,
> Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I did not find it using
> G**gle... So here we go:
> I would like to use semantic versioning (see http://semver.org/) in a
> package. One particular definition in semantic versioning is that of a
> "pre-release". Quoting from its web page:
>     9. A pre-release version MAY be denoted by appending a hyphen and a
>        series of dot separated identifiers immediately following the patch
>        version. Identifiers MUST comprise only ASCII alphanumerics and
>        hyphen [0-9A-Za-z-]. Identifiers MUST NOT be empty. Numeric
>        identifiers MUST NOT include leading zeroes. Pre-release versions
>        have a lower precedence than the associated normal version. A
>        pre-release version indicates that the version is unstable and might
>        not satisfy the intended compatibility requirements as denoted by its
>        associated normal version. Examples: 1.0.0-alpha, 1.0.0-alpha.1,
>        1.0.0-0.3.7, 1.0.0-x.7.z.92.
> According to this definition, a pre-version "1.2.3-beta.1" is *older* than
> the normal version "1.2.3".
> However, RPM considers that pre-version to be *younger* than the normal
> version.
> RPM instead supports the tilde to denote pre-versions, so "1.2.3~beta.1" is
> considered older than "1.2.3".
> My questions are:
> 1. Is there support in RPM today, for correctly treating pre-versions
> according to the semantic versioning definition?

No. In rpm (and dpkg as well), the hyphen is the delimiter character 
between name, version and release components and thus entirely illegal 
in version.

Note that rpm and dpkg predate semantic version spec by more than a 
decade AFAICT so "correct" is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

> 2. If not, can it be added, maybe with an option?

Highly unlikely, the use of '-' in semantic versioning is a 
world-breaker in dpkg/rpm land already.

	- Panu -

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