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:
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:
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.