Every software project is faced with the challenge of balancing the need to innovate and introduce new features, with the interest of many users in minimizing their maintenance costs and avoiding the risks that inevitably come with software upgrades. One way to meet this challenge is to provide a Long-term Support (LTS) release with an extended release cycle.
For the past several years, a small and dedicated group of community members led by Eileen McNaughton (Fuzion NZ) and Nicolas Ganivet (Cividesk) has done most of the hard work and heavy lifting to maintain version 4.2 as a "community-supported" LTS release. This has worked well, but there have been some inefficiencies due to not having a centralized repository for the LTS version of the codebase.
Given the increasing importance of a reliable LTS for many members of the community, the LTS team approached the Core Team with a proposal to launch 4.4 as an "official" LTS release based on the core 4.4 repository. Some great dialog about roles and responsibilities resulted in a working plan on the wiki which creates a clear definition of what belongs in an LTS (only security and bug fixes), and provides a workable balance of effort between the LTS team and the Core Team.
So now it’s official - 4.4 will be the next LTS release.
The key elements of the new approach include:
- The LTS release will be included on the primary CiviCRM downloads page
- LTS releases will be built from the 4.4 branch of the core repository on Github
- The automated unit test suites will be run against both LTS and current stable branches
- Continuous integration testing will be applied to all LTS pull requests.
If your organization or your clients value the continued availability of an LTS release, please consider how you can help support the efforts of the LTS team. Some ways to help include:
- Identify bugs in the LTS release on the forums and provide as much diagnostic information as possible
- Review bugs identified/fixed in the current stable release (4.5 at this point), and test the LTS to see if they are also present. If so, tag these issues with the ‘lts’ tag.
- Help backport a fix for ‘lts’-tagged issues and submit it as a Pull Request (PR) against the LTS branch.
- Review proposed PRs for the LTS and offer to test them.
- Contribute financially through Gratipay (e.g $1 per week per site using the LTS)
The Core Team is excited about expanding the CiviCRM software catalog to better cater to the needs of its various users. Providing an LTS release is one more step towards increasing the quality and reach of CiviCRM.
Note this is the timeframe we are working to (SF dates not NZ dates)
29 Oct - any fixes for 4.4.9 must be PR's by this date - otherwise they can wait for 4.4.10
29 Oct - 5 Nov pre-release stage - testers asked to try out the pre-release (I'll try to create some testing notes but the issue list should also give an idea)
5 Nov 4.4.9 release
Issues for 4.4.9
24 Nov - deadline for 4.4.10 release PRs
26 Nov 4.4.10 locked for testing
3 Dec 4.4.10 release
Note that the gap between the PR release timeframe & locking for testing is to give me time to review them - Getting a PR in by 24 Nov doesn't guarantee it will go into 4.4.10 depending on comfortable I feel with it - the earlier it is in the higher the chance it will go in as it gives me more time to review
Hurray Dave, Eileen and Nicolas... thanks for making this continuing effort!
Great news for improve stability!!