SIVC is a system developed here at the University of Texas to help people on the Internet keep their software up-to-date, while providing software developers with good estimations of the size of their products' Internet user bases. Once a new version of a SIVC-equipped product is released, previous versions of the automatically product begin notifying their users that a new version is available, and provide those users with the option of downloading that new version with the click of a single-button.
SIVC even offers adventuresome users the option of being notified when test versions of software become available, while allowing other users to be notified only of actual release versions of the same software. As a result, developers that aren't very picky about who tests their products can use SIVC to both advertise and manage software distribution in their testing programs.
The benefit to users is pretty obvious, I believe. There are several benefits to developers, including: (1) Support costs can be reduced, and user satisfaction increased, by decreasing the number people using outdated versions of their software. (2) Developers receive a reasonably accurate estimation of the size of their Internet user base (and without unduly compromising user privacy). (3) By providing users with a convenient and definitive means of determining the latest version(s) of a product, and making downloading of those versions a one button process, a lot of "Is there a more recent version, and how do I get it?" correspondence is avoided.
Readers may have noticed that developers like Stairways Software (Anarchie, NetPresenz), Neon Software (CTC), Greg Combs (CountWWWebula), Jeff Inglis (Rudolph, AddSIVC) and myself (MacTCP Monitor, Cron, Chris' Puzzle, SIVC Client, SIVC Server), among others, already support SIVC in their products. Also, the Kagi shareware service provides a SIVC server for developers using their service.
Developers who want to learn more about SIVC can find complete information, development tools, and server software. (Note that lingering bugs in Open Transport's MacTCP emulation code may still be giving the server software some trouble, but it's perfectly reliable when used with MacTCP.)
Unfortunately, since SIVC support must be built-into a product, users who want to see this kind of functionality included in their favorite products will have to lobby the developers of those products.
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