Compatibility Between Releases Policy

Jason C. Wells jcw at
Thu Oct 5 08:34:37 PDT 2006

Erik Norgaard wrote:
> Jason C. Wells wrote:
>> Where is the policy regarding compatibility between releases documented?
>> I recall reading once upon a time that FreeBSD won't break 
>> compatibility for the duration of a major point release.  If a third 
>> party wrote software for 6.0 it would be perfectly compatible with 
>> 6.1, 6.2 and on.
>> The reason I ask is that I am considering the wisdom of running 
>> portupgraed with each minor point release.
> I don't think you can rely on POLA for ports. But for the base system, 
> the developers try to stick to the Principle Of Least Astonishment, in 
> particular across minor version numbers.
> Chears, Erik
Ports astonish me more often than FreeBSD to be sure.  If one uses a 
port that was built on a 6.0 system, can one trust that no bit rot will 
occur by the time 6.9 rolls around.  Will all of FreeBSDs interfaces and 
features remain backward compatible?  While the developer community 
might employee POLA in this regard, this sure seems like the kind of 
policy issue that would be written into our release engineering 
documents.  (I couldn't find it.)


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