Possibility for FreeBSD 4.11 Extended Support
rwatson at FreeBSD.org
Fri Dec 22 23:08:12 PST 2006
On Fri, 22 Dec 2006, Peter Jeremy wrote:
> [Not picking on Michael in particular, several people have made
> similar comments]
> On Fri, 2006-Dec-22 00:15:13 -0500, Michael R. Wayne wrote:
>>> THAT< is why people who run servers, with jails, quotas, ipfw and
>> moderate load keep complaining about 5.X and 6.1 and begging for 4.11
>> support to be extended. Just because someone has a few FreeBSD boxes
>> running light loads and not using the features that we NEED does not mean
>> that any the port 4.11 releases to date are stable.
> The FreeBSD Project is a volunteer effort. It is currently supporting 4.11,
> 5.5, 6.1, preparing to release 6.2 and developing 7.x. You cannot demand
> that volunteers do anything - they work on FreeBSD because they enjoy it.
> If your business is relying on FreeBSD 4.11 and you do not believe the
> _free_ support you have been getting is adequate, you are always welcome to
> look through the list at
> http://www.freebsd.org/commercial/consult_bycat.html and find someone to
> provide whatever level of support you want.
It's interesting that so far I've actually not yet seen even one person e-mail
security-team since the EoL announcement to say,
"If I volunteer my time or pay for your time to support 4.11 for security
patches, can we extend the EoL?".
If I missed your e-mail, sorry about that, but I do read pretty fairly
carefully so feel some justification in making this claim. Thus far, I really
know of only two or so things that will change with the EoL date:
(1) Security patches and advisories are no longer guaranteed for
4.11/4-STABLE. That doesn't mean they won't/can't happen, just that we
don't promise they will. We don't officially support binary updates on
4.x, and whether availability will change for that will depend on the
discretionary of Colin acting in a non-official capacity. Here's the URL
If there's a remote-to-root or local-to-root vulnerability, I'm pretty
certain you'll see it patched, this is simply us not promising to hold the
security advisory on that happening. All this work was already being done
by volunteers anyway, so our promise remains a promise and not a contract
for newer versions as well.
(2) The ports team will no longer work really hard (tm) to keep ports working
there. They will keep building packages, etc. You can read about what it
specifically means here:
Here are some things that won't go away:
- The ability to download and run 4.x releases, even download and install
- The ability to ask 4.x questions on freebsd-questions, freebsd-eol, and
likely even freebsd-stable.
- The ability to get committers to commit patches to 4-STABLE (subject to the
normal cajoling and convincing process).
- If you support 4.x as a product inside your organization, this won't change
either, unless you choose to make the change. You'll still be taking
support requests, identifying bugs, submitting bug reports, submitting
patches when you fix things (right?), cvsupping once in a while to pick
up fixes, etc. You'll also still be keeping an eye on security advisories,
Here are some things that won't change:
- There still won't be many FreeBSD developers regularly working on 4.x, but
there will be some.
- There will still be lots of people running 4.x, especially older releases
that are embedded in appliances, companies with distributed products, etc.
I wouldn't be surprised if a few more aging and unhandled PR's are flushed
from the bug report database as a result of the EoL, but in practice, 4.x will
keep running largely as it has since 4.11 was released.
If you have tried a 6.x upgrade in the past, please give it a try again. If
you run into a problem, please file a bug report, or at least make sure
there's a bug report filed on the issue and that you've followed up at least
once confirming the problem is still present with 6.2-RCX. If you know
something that doesn't appear in the PR, follow up with that information.
You can do this by putting the PR name/number in the e-mail subject and
e-mailing the bug-followup address; the body of your message should go into
Robert N M Watson
University of Cambridge
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