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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: To publish change logs or not? 1

Linnerd writes: A software company I work for has decided to no longer publish change logs when updated versions of the software are made available.

A change log consists of sections pulled directly from the issue management system that is automatically processed into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet can be sorted/viewed by many criteria, such as date of the fix, component affected, severity and more.

There usually are a fair number of entries (sometimes more than 1000), because each update published contains all the accumulated changes made since some base release in the past and the change log has entries for everything from major bugs to minor improvements to documentation changes and spelling errors fixed.

The main reasons for pulling the change logs was the fear of putting the software in a bad light and risking ridicule, especially from the competition.

Although I can follow these arguments up to a point, I've personally always been more comfortable with software that had explicit and detailed change logs: Errors and bugs happen, whether they are communicated or not, and I'd rather know what was changed than blindly install some patch without knowing if it's relevant for the issues I'm trying to solve.

What is your opinion? Should change logs / errors / bugs be communicated openly?

How is this handled in the companies you work for?

Can you provide publicly available references on the pros and cons of open and honest communication of changes and bug fixes, especially in commercial environments?
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Ask Slashdot: To publish change logs or not?

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  • The question to ask the people pushing for this policy change is - do they have any examples of the same thing happening to some other company? If not, why do they think they would be the first to suffer this indignity? If they do have examples, how did it work out? Did it really make a difference in actual sales?

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