Last Question On Which Release Is Best For Production

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Fri Oct 1 02:36:21 PDT 2004

On Thu, Sep 30, 2004 at 10:12:36PM -0600, Michael G. Goodell wrote:

> My question is this: I currently run 5.1 (uname -a yields: 5.1-RELEASE-p17)
> and I read at the page it states
> that 5.1 is Frozen and also states (not officially supported) - Does this
> mean that I am using a release that is not supported at all any longer and I
> should upgrade to 5.3 or will my 5.1 release still have security patches and
> such applied to it and eventually become production worthy. Am I just
> missing out on functionality by sticking with 5.1 and not moving up to 5.3?
> Moreover, *if* I choose to move to 5.3 (when it is ready for prime time) can
> I change my cvsupfile and then rebuild my kernel and world to the new 5.3
> release?

"5.1 is no longer supported" means that there is no guarrantee that
any security patches etc. will be applied to it.  Although individual
committers may well provide patches to 5.1 if they have the time and
the inclination, this cannot be relied upon.  Anyone still running 5.1
should upgrade as soon as possible.

5.1 will never be declared a production ready release.  First of all,
that's because it is a *RELEASE*.  Releases do not have development
work committed to them, not even to fix obvious bugs[1].  The only
things that would ever be fixed are security problems.  If you want
new code, you can either upgrade to a newer release, or track one of
the development branches (4-STABLE, 5-STABLE, CURRENT)

Secondly, it's a developer preview -- a snap shot of the upcoming 5.x
series of releases made solely for testing purposes.  Full scale
releases are guarranteed support for at least one year.  Developer
previews, on the other hand, just last until superceded by the next
preview, in this case 5.2.1-RELEASE. Even that is teetering on the rim
of consignment to the dustbin of history, with the impending
5.3-RELEASE. Right now, installing one of the 5.3-BETAs is in many
cases a better choice than installing 5.2.1-RELEASE. 5.3 however *is*
intended to be production ready, with all of the long term support
that implies.

You can use cvsup and buildworld to upgrade to 5.3-BETA right now, or
5.3-RELEASE when it becomes available.  However, you will need to read
/usr/src/UPDATING carefully, as that upgrade has a few gotchas!  It
just needs you to do some stuff you wouldn't normally do for a routine
buildworld so that everything will work smoothly.  If you're
inexperienced at using buildworld to maintain your system, make
serious consideration of just doing a reinstall from the 5.3 .iso



[1] With one exception: 4.10-RELEASE has been declared a 'security and
errata' branch.  All other releases are strictly 'security branches'.

Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP:         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK
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