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As a long term user of Mathematica I cannot fail to notice that Wolfram Research seems to have changed their release policy considerably:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematica#Version_history

For the most part of Mathematica's history you had one release every other year (on average). I liked that because it guaranteed stability, compatibility and well tested functions which worked together well.

Now you have several releases per year, each time with hundreds of new functions (and many bugs as a side effect).

My question
Does anybody know the rationale behind this move? I don't want speculative but qualified answers from people with some background knowledge. Thank you.

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closed as off-topic by MarcoB, m_goldberg, dr.blochwave, Jens, Daniel Lichtblau Jul 23 '15 at 0:47

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  • "The question is out of scope for this site. The answer to this question requires either advice from Wolfram support or the services of a professional consultant." – m_goldberg, dr.blochwave, Jens
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    $\begingroup$ @AndreasLauschke: maintenance releases, yes ...but not when you add hundreds of new functions each time! $\endgroup$ – vonjd Jul 22 '15 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ agreed, but adding bugs with new features/releases is a matter of testing (unit testing and regression testing, and other types), NOT with frequent releases. As I said, frequent release cycles don't necessarily coincide with more and more bugs. Companies like Amazon and ebay are extremely agile and are making hundreds of production releases every day, and the result is getting better and better, not buggier and buggier. Of course, M cannot be re-released that fast, but my point is that increase of bugginess is a matter of testing/QA, not release cycles. $\endgroup$ – Andreas Lauschke Jul 22 '15 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ Emerging concept: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_debt. If you think it's bad w/ core functions, wait until higher algorithms like machine learning, data science &c. $\endgroup$ – alancalvitti Jul 22 '15 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ @alancalvitti That's just what I mean: with all those potential playgrounds, trying to do everything, like the kid in the candy store, isn't necessarily a good idea. $\endgroup$ – Jens Jul 22 '15 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ Wolfram did mention this shift in philosophy at WTC 2014. Unfortunately, I don't recall an extensive rationale accompanying the statement, nor did he get many questions about it. I do know users complain when they have to wait a year or so for a bug fix that affects their work. I believe it was implied that WRI wanted to be responsive in a more timely way. Maybe someone else who was there remembers more. $\endgroup$ – Michael E2 Jul 22 '15 at 23:49

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