My question is concerning publishing a SharePoint master page. The SharePoint documents that I work on are under source control and therefore have to be "checked out". Whenever I "check in" a document, I am asked if I want to publish a minor version, a major version, or if I want to overwrite the current minor version. I would just like to know the definition between publishing a major vs a minor version. Are there any large differences that one makes over the other? Any input is welcome.
As it pertains to Master Pages, or any other documents - people often work on files together and various major and minor versions are required. Generally, a major version is usually the one that is ready for your all users to view - or major milestone, while minor versions could be treated as drafts that someone is still working on. When it pertains to Master Pages directly, Contributors will see these minor changes, and major versions are what all your users see. With this said, it allows you to make many minor version, and if you encounter an issue that requires restoration to a previous major version, the version history will allow you to easily restore to that point.
To gain a better understanding on the versioning options, check out the following Microsoft article.
Checking in a minor version allows other users to contribute to or preview your changes. Publishing a major version makes the changes visible to all users.