[syslog-ng-announce] Version policy changes

devel devel at balabit.hu
Wed Nov 11 09:13:36 CET 2009

Dear syslog-ng users,

Until 2009 November, the products of BalaBit had long development
cycles and major releases of the stable branch (like 2.0 or 3.1) were
supported for years. The maintenance releases (e.g., 2.0.10) of stable
branches almost always included enhancements as well as bugfixes. This
policy has two main drawbacks:

- enhancements and new features could potentially destabilize the
stable branch, and
- larger, and therefore somewhat riskier changes and new features could
be released only in the next major release.

Starting from November 2009 this will change for every product: major
releases will be feature based and more frequent. To avoid the need to
support several different versions in parallel, the following support
policy is introduced:

Stable versions, denoted by a two-digit version number ending with .0
(e.g., 2.0 or 3.0): Stable branches are supported for at least 1 year,
but no more than 2 stable versions of a product are supported at the
same time. Maintenance releases to the stable branch will contain only

Feature versions, denoted by two-digit version number ending with a
non-zero version number (e.g., 3.1, 3.2 and onwards): Feature branches
will contain enhancements and new features, presumably 1-3 new feature
per release. Only the last of the feature releases is supported (e.g.,
when a new feature release comes out, the last one becomes
unsupported), and the last feature release becomes the new stable

NOTE: Releases of the feature branch are tested just like the stable
releases; they are not "unstable" development snapshots. The difference
between earlier major releases and current feature releases is the
smaller number of features contained in a release, and the shorter
support periods. If an unstable snapshot or alpha/beta/rc release will
be released for public testing, it will be always marked explicitly as

WARNING: Downgrading from a feature release to an earlier (and thus
unsupported) feature release, or to the stable release is not
supported: this means that once you upgrade a system from a stable
release (e.g., 2.0) to a feature release (e.g., 2.1), you will have to
keep upgrading to the new feature releases until the next stable
version release (e.g., 3.0) is published, or risk using an unsupported

Both the stable and the feature branches will be supported via
maintenance (e.g., bugfix) releases. Maintenance releases will have 3
digits in their version number (e.g., 3.1.4), just like previously.

Update releases are releases that include only one or two important
bugfixes compared to the latest maintenance release, and are marked by
an extra letter after the three digit version number (e.g., an update
release for release 3.1.7 would be labeled as 3.1.7a). If an update
release is published, it is recommended to use it instead of the latest
maintenance release.

The upgrade page of the product contains the latest versions of the
supported branches, including release dates and release notes.

The following examples sum up how the version numbers of the future
BalaBit releases can be interpreted (the numbers used are for
illustration only):

4.0: The current stable release of the product, maintenance releases of
this branch will have a third digit (e.g., 4.0.3)

4.0.2: The second maintenance release of the stable 4.0 branch

4.0.2a: The first update release of the second maintenance release of
the stable 4.0 branch

4.1: A feature release that is supported only until the release of the
next feature release (4.2)

4.1.3: The third maintenance release of the 4.1 feature branch

Feature releases and software subscription
Buying a BalaBit product allows you to download and use the:
current stable release of the product (e.g., 4.0), including its
maintenance releases the feature releases of the product (e.g., 4.1,
4.2, etc.). Note that feature releases become unsupported as soon as
the next feature release or the next stable release becomes available.

Upgrading to the next stable release (e.g., 5.0) requires software
subscription. If you plan to use feature releases in a production
environment, it is strongly recommended to buy software subscription as

The first feature release of syslog-ng Premium Edition will be the 3.1 release.

Kind Regards,


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