Does 1.0.0 represent the first patch of the first minor version of the second major version? Or does it represent the first major version, with no minor or patch versions? I've always assumed it to be the latter, and it seems so have many others. I typically see new packages in various package management systems start out at 0.1.0, which I've always assumed to be the first minor release.

I was surprised to see this wasn't explicit in the spec. It can be implied from points 4, 7, and 8, but it's never stated. Surely there must be a right or wrong answer here? If there is a simple answer to this question shouldn't it be stated somewhere in the spec?

1 Answer 1


Semantic versioning 2.0.0 clarifies this point explicitly:

The major version is 0 for unstable initial development, before the first stable API version is published:

4. Major version zero (0.y.z) is for initial development. Anything may change at any time. The public API should not be considered stable.

It also clearly states that the first public version starts at 1.0.0:

5. Version 1.0.0 defines the public API. The way in which the version number is incremented after this release is dependent on this public API and how it changes.

The wording of clause 8 is not explicit, on purpose:

8. Major version X (X.y.z | X > 0) MUST be incremented if any backwards incompatible changes are introduced

The wording makes clear that any major version must be strictly greater than 0 and that it has to be incremented in case of major change. But the wording leaves it open to have a version 0 for which the constraint doesn't hold, because for version 0, any change can happen any time, without need for formal increments.

Semver herewith uses the logic of mathematical induction: if you prove something for an initial starting iteration, and demonstrate if the property is true at one iteration, it's true for the next, then it's true for all the iterations starting with the initial one.

These principles are not new and were already true for earlier versions (e.g. semver 1.0.0) although with some differences in paragraph numbering.

  • are you saying that the greater than 0 version constraint only applies to the major version? What about minor and patch versions? Do they also have that constraint?
    – Stratus3D
    Aug 2, 2017 at 13:05
  • @Stratus3D yes, it only applies to major versions. Minor versions start with 0 (e.g. 1.0.0). If you have a patch you need to increment.
    – Christophe
    Aug 2, 2017 at 13:11

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