OK, let`s see how this goes. I still think that all of it could have been done and still use normal software versioning conventions - at least things would have been clearer (I do not see what`s the problem for example in having a release, like let`s say v18 that spans over many years, with versions like 18.1.x, 18.6.x, 18.15.x and so on if you just want to focus on taking it slow and not releasing a whole new product again). I also understand what Microsoft did, but just because they did it, does not mean it`s good. There are so many issues with Microsoft`s rolling release model that it`s a nightmare. Of course we still need to use it and adapted to it. But I do hope that they do not set a trend that will be picked up by all software companies to follow..
The thing is that these build numbers are not meant for the end users - they do not care. These are meant for the administrators, many of whom also have experience with some form of software development. If you choose to keep things clearer, you do it for the administrators, if you choose to blend and confuse, you do it for the administrators again.
Now, since SmarterMail is the product and there are no versions, just builds, in case at some point you reach a roadblock and mess up so bad that no one will want to use that version (think Microsoft with Vista), you`ll have to switch to a whole new product (e.g. SmarteRerMail), instead of saying that now you`ve completely re-written v19 from ground up and it`s different product than v18.
Another example: I`ve been promising MAPI and "MS Exchange Server-like functionality" for some months now to my higher-ups, which was to come in SmarterMail v17. Until now it was easy to say: hey, we`re on v16 and v17 is in BETA, and as soon as that comes out, we`ll upgrade and have MAPI, the green pastures, et. al. Then MAPI was pushed back to v17.1 - again it was relatively easy to explain to higher-ups: SM 17 will be released soon, but MAPI did not make it in the initial release, but it`s coming in a point (e.g. 17.1) release - we could all understand it, even accountants. Now the goalpost is ever moving, just like a mirage: MAPI is coming in a new SmarterMail build - stay tuned.
Again, I understand it, but you can see it confused some users (as was the case with me with the problem reported in this thread), whereas no one was ever confused when someone reported a problem against SM v16.3.6897 for example.