Old version support

Mike Meyer mwm-dated-1050242618.1ac2ff at mired.org
Tue Apr 8 07:03:40 PDT 2003

In <Pine.LNX.4.33.0304081414220.13566-100000 at gnomo.fe.up.pt>, Miguel Gonçalves <miguelg at fe.up.pt> typed:
> I am going to install a FreeBSD 4.8 server to be used only as
> a SMB server for a small network of Windows clients. I intend
> to install it and leave it running without much administration
> intervention (except for security bugs because we all know that
> the other bugs are hard to find in FreeBSD).
> Given the current End-of-Life policy for FreeBSD releases I was
> wondering how can I know about security problems for unsupported
> FreeBSD releases.  For example, if I install 4.8 know and if in
> 2 years a kernel security bug is found that affects only the 4.x
> branch I suppose that a SA wouldn't be released. This could be
> less far-fetched: I could be running 4.4 know and I wouldn't
> know about security bugs that I should be aware of.

I think your supposition isn't necessarily correct. Security fixes are
still going into 3.x, where applicable. You can expect 4.x to
supported for security fixes until 6-STABLE shows up. The real
question is how long patches will show up 4.x-RELEASE's other than the
last one after 5-STABLE shows up. Since there weren't security patches
for 3.x, there's no prior experience to provide guidance.

> How is it possible to cope with this without installing a current
> version?

The only way to ensure support for an open source product is to
provide it yourself - either by doing the work yourself, or hiring
someone to do it. If you're planning on hiring someone, you might
consider starting a working arrangement now, and letting them bill you
for applying the provided patches so you're used to working with
them. You should also let them secure the system, so they'll know
which SAs are relevant. On the other hand, this won't be a real issue
until SAs start showing up with patches for releases later than yours,
and you have no idea when that will happen.

Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org>		http://www.mired.org/consulting.html
Independent Network/Unix/Perforce consultant, email for more information.

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