Suggestion for release names?

Polytropon freebsd at
Fri Feb 5 00:40:03 UTC 2021

On Thu, 4 Feb 2021 16:25:02 -0800, David Christensen wrote:
> On 2021-02-04 03:11, Polytropon wrote:
> > On Wed, 3 Feb 2021 13:34:30 -0700, @lbutlr wrote:
> >> I know the subject of user confusion on STABLE and RELEASE has come
> >> up in the past, but I found out that releng is also confusing as I
> >> was recently talking to someone who only ran releng versions of
> >> freebsd because he thought that was an English only version of
> >> Release.
> >> I know this is probably futile and there's little reason to change,
> >> but I think all three animus could be better.
> > 
> > The "problem" is that those termini technici all carry a
> > well understood meaning, 
> > Even worse, if you try to do a mapping of
> > 
> > 	RELEASE-p<n>    |
> > 	RELEASE         |          | home user
> > 	PRERELEASE      |          | embedded
> > 	RC<n>           | is to be | desktop
> > 	BETA            | used for | server
> > 	ALPHA           |          | tester
> > 	STABLE          |          | developer
> > 	CURRENT / HEAD  |
> > 
> > this will be very hard and probably won't work. ;-)
> I suspect that the terms chosen however many years ago have undergone 
> shifts in meaning, which reduces understanding.

I fully agree with that. However, a certain context must be
understood as "known context", otherwise just choosing other
words would be futile. And always keep in mind that those
are intended for the english-speaking users - non-english
languages are not even considered.

> I think people could better deal with vocabulary if they had a better 
> understanding of the FreeBSD release engineering process and its 
> deliverables.

Still misunderstandings could arise. For example, CURRENT
seems to suggest (!) that this is the most recent version
of FreeBSD - shouldn't you install that? But in fact it is
a development version. Also STABLE could be misunderstood
as an attribute that this version is stable, while in
reality RELEASE-pX (patched version) would be that kind of

As I sometimes tend to say: FreeBSD's release engineering
process is like a distillery: from CURRENT / HEAD through

But of course this is not a one-way "reduction" process,
because from HEAD or STABLE, security patches can be
generated, and they can also be ported back to older
versions which are still supported, so an "older release,
patched version" could be more up-to-date than a "newer
release, point-RELEASE dot zero". The whole concept of
the release engineering process could be illustrated
in a way that the meanings of the "tags" become clear.

I don't know if it is possible (or desired) to change
the naming, but that might also be a chance to provide
easier ways of understanding to those who do not know
the context of historically grown termini technici
within the FreeBSD realm...

> Michael W. Lucas in "Absolute FreeBSD", 3 e., pp. 422-427 [2], discusses 
> "FreeBSD versions".  Figure 18-1 is very helpful:
> -  The trunk is labeled "FreeBSD-current".  I believe this corresponds 
> to -CURRENT deliverables [3].
> - Two branches are shown -- "FreeBSD-stable 13" and "FreeBSD-stable 14". 
>   I believe these correspond to -STABLE deliverables [4].
> - There are dashed lines marked "Improvements" from the trunk to the 
> branches.  I believe those that arrive at numbers -- 13.0, 13.1, 13.2, 
> 13.3, etc. -- correspond to -RELEASE deliverables [5] and those that do 
> not correspond to patches.
> I suggest adding a similar diagram to the FreeBSD website, supplemented 
> with explanatory text.

Excellent idea. This way, the termini technici used are put
into the correct context.

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

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list