[FreeBSD-Announce] FreeBSD 12.0 end-of-life

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Tue May 19 03:11:49 UTC 2020

On Mon, 18 May 2020 19:17:31 -0400, Janos Dohanics wrote:
> On Sat, 16 May 2020 13:12:37 -0700
> Doug Hardie <bc979 at lafn.org> wrote:
> > > [...]
> > 
> > I started using FreeBSD somewhere between 2.5 and 2.7 and I remember
> > the confusion of those "labels".  Yes the information is there, but
> > it's not obvious to the new user.  I was running production systems
> > and the name "stable" seemed like the right one.  However, the
> > descriptions made me think that perhaps that was not the right
> > choice.  I finally settled on "release" but it was quite a difficult
> > decision.  After many discussions on this mailing list, I finally
> > understood the differences.  I still find the names misleading, but I
> > can work with them.  I do feel for anyone new to FreeBSD trying to
> > figure that out.  It might be "obvious" to those who know, but it's
> > not for others.
> > 
> > -- Doug
> How stable is *-STABLE?

The "potentially problematic misunderstanding" about STABLE
is connecting it to stability. But STABLE means that the API
and ABI are _stable_ ("the same" or "100 % compatible") for
that specific development version during all of its snapshots.

> The closer it is to *-RELEASE perhaps?

That's hard to say. If you understand the FreeBSD development
model as a kind of distillery, you cannot be sure about "near
RELEASE"; imagine:

Active development takes place in CURRENT / HEAD. Features get
added and tested, features might also disappear. Sometimes it
crashes, sometimes it doesn't even compile. From what testers
confirm, further development happens. Those results arrive in
STABLE for further testing and optimizing, heading toward a
potential release. On this course, ALPHA, BETA, RC (release
candidates) and PRERELEASE are generated, until the final
version is shipped as RELEASE. From ongoing development in
CURRENT (after RELEASE), the same process generates patches
that then arrive in RELEASE-pX.

As you will surely agree, "near RELEASE" doesn't say much
if you take this model into account.

> This is not to challenege the expertise of people on this list or the
> sound advice of the Handbook on which branch to use for what. May be I
> have been just lucky doing end-user stuff (dhcp, cyrus, postfix, apache,
> samba, etc.), but *-STABLE has been stable for me.

It _should_ be, as STABLE is not considered an "experimental
branch" per se, it's more like "bleeding edge", where you get
the latest results, but you still have the chance to cut your
finger... ;-)

> More likely, this reflects the quality of work FreeBSD developers have
> been doing.

Fully true. With such a development model, it's hard to imagine
that severe mistakes "accidentally" arrive in a RELEASE, as
"move fast and breat the users' things" is not the fundamental
conceot of FreeBSD development. :-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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