This whole "we only want bugfixes ever" argument is nonsense. We already do a bugfix-only version on every second release, precisely for people who say they do not want any new features. If you don't want new features, don't use versions like 4.60, its that simple. Just wait for the 4.61 version which is the bugfix-release of 4.60. But the truth is that very few people seem to do that, because guess what, people actually want to use the new features. What a shock.
This problem isnt new, the discussion happened years ago already. A simple solution that other projects do, is to handle two versions. One rock-solid branch where _all_ confirmed bugs will be fixed, but no new features will be done and one branch as it is now. So the developers can still have fun introducing new stuff and the users have a version they can actually use to produce software.
The best example for this is probably Debian, and it shows my point exactly. Why do you think the (rather solid, but very old) stable branches are only used for servers and the like? Projects like Ubuntu pretty much only use the up to date unstable or even testing branches, because people want the latest features.
Debian and Ubuntu are two very different target audiences. You picked Debian as an example because it "shows your point exactly".
Ok lets have a look and compare PureBasic and Debian cycles.
PureBasic since 4.5:
*.x versions are introducing new functions and major updates to existing stuff (maps, 3d engine). 4.50, 4.60 for example
*.x1 versions are the bugfix version for the *.x release and are released within a timeframe of 2 to 4 months after *.x. Bugfix only. 4.51 and the coming 4.61 are examples.
4.50 release announced on 7th June 2010
4.5.1 release was announced on 9th september 2010
Debian stable branch(es):
Version 5 (Lenny)
firs release on february 2009
so far there have been another 8 releases, the last fix was 5.0.9 released on 1st october 2011 just 2 days ago!
Version 6 (squeeze)
first released on 6th feb 2011
Lenny is "oldstable" and Squeeze is the new stable branch. Currently version 7 is developed while 5 and 6 are still maintained.
5, 6 and 7 are actively supported. Version 4 was introduced April 2007 and supported till february 2010.
When PB 4.51 was released and i reported a bug, i was told that it was fixed and will be "in the next release". I mentioned back then, that due to the version scheme and release timeframes (4.4 -> 4.51) it was likely that i would have to wait a year or more for that fix. The most constructive reply i got, was that the release times will be quicker in the future. Now it is october 2011 and i test version 4.6 and find lot of bugs in the linux version. The obvious reply is "wait for the stable release".
If i look at the support timeframe for PB 4.5, it is roughly 3 months. Support timeframe for Debian is ~3 years!
The bugs i found for the linux version, are all in old existing elements of the PB language. The memory library, standard gadgets, systray/icontray, threads, image/graphics functions and debugger have all bugs in 4.60 in old existing language elements. I only needed to start 4.6B3 and load a project, to instantly notice at least 3 bugs including a crash in the IDE. Look at some of the bug reports, none of them are esoteric.
Btw, yes this discussion happened years ago, and we reacted to it. The fact that we have a release cycle where every second release is for bugfixes only is the result of that. We actually have the exact model you describe: Development on 4.60 started right after 4.50 was released, while we still fixed bugs for the 4.51 version in a separate branch. It didn't use to be that way.
The change in release cycle was a step in the right direction and honestly it was appreciated. But sadly, it was not the best solution. As you see in the comparison with Debian, the "support timeframe" for Purebasic is very small (4.50 -> 4.51).
So i also think that Debian proves my point exactly
But some people seem to never be satisfied no matter what we do. Oh, and some of you make it sound like there has never been a usable PB version so far.
4.51 for windows was usable to me and a big step from 4.50. The bugs i found in 4.51 could be worked around (pausethread/createthread, thread debugging - i wrote my own PB debugging tools and rarely use the PB debugger anymore). I can't say if the linux 4.51 version is (as) stable, because i spend all time i have for PB on 4.60 (see below).
If that was really the case, why are you using it?
I stopped using PB for any new commercial project over a year ago, currently i am just trying to port an existing project to linux.
Now, it is true that Linux and OSX lag behind the Windows version in bugfixes. We have limited resources and we have to spend them where they have the greatest effect, and quite frankly, the participation and feedback on the Linux and OSX side is not that great. The usage of the OSX version seems to climb only very slowly, and the amount of feedback we get on the Linux side seems to be decreasing even. If you want these versions to become better, you have to do your part: Actively use them and report the bugs you find. Just sitting back and waiting for it to magically become perfect won't change anything.
I invested a lot work and time in testing 4.6 for linux to make it better for everybody, spending many hours trying to hunt down the problems and create small easily reproducible examples to show them, finding clean and easy solutions for the webgadget, compiler switches and others, wrote an updated linux installation howto and helped in the forums when/where i could.
Thats why i use 4.60 beta, to hopefully get a stable 4.61 linux version by actively reporting problems and helping out.
Btw, in case you didn't notice: We are delaying the 4.60 release because we want to fix more bugs on the Linux and OSX side. We are not abandoning these platforms, but they cannot be the sole focus either for obvious reasons.
I did read that and i honestly feel with you guys. PureBasic is an enormous project and you have a lot of respect from me for that.
Iconically the introduction of the canvas gadget looks like a very promising change for Purebasic, because for the first time the linux and Mac OS users will profit from some of the windows users gadgets. Also "maps" seem to be a really usefull addition and i havent seen problems with them so far (though i havent given them indepth testing yet).
If only the QA and bugfix problem could be improved
edit: fixing quoting mistake