Version numbering proposal (2.5.x.xx)

From: Deven T. Corzine (
Date: Wed May 10 2000 - 07:55:41 EST

(This message is long, but hopefully interesting? Please read it!)

An idea for a "variation on the theme" for version numbers occurred to me a
while back, but with 2.4 coming soon, this seems like an opportune time to
suggest it and see if anyone likes it...

The Linux kernel established the current scheme with version 1.0, and it
has been widely copied since. (Was it used before then by anyone else?)
Even numbers in the version number for stable releases and odd numbers for
development releases has worked quite well. This encodes some meaning into
the version number, which makes the status of kernel versions easier to
identify. I'd like to extend this further by adding a digit to development
version numbers representing the current phase of the development cycle.

This is easiest to explain by way of an example proposal:

     2.4.xx Current stable release series. (Well, almost current.)

     2.5.0.xx Initial integration -- No architectural changes allowed
                while the inevitable backlog of pending patches from the
                last stabilization effort are integrated and stabilized.
                The final 2.5.0.xx release should be re-released as a new
                2.4.1 stable release. This series should resemble a
                combination of 2.5.8.xx and 2.5.9.xx below, and should be
                suitable for non-mission-critical production use. This is
                a fork from the stable series that re-merges once before
                diverging again for radical development work.

     2.5.1.xx EXTREMELY unstable -- Major architectural changes, any new
                features and major feature changes allowed as the tree is
                thrown wide open for bizarre and wild experimental work,
                much of which may be discarded as experimental prototypes
                prove that some ideas that sounded good weren't so good.
                Suitable only for the extremely brave or foolish. Even
                developers may wish to avoid this series unless they're
                doing the experimenting. Expect constant crashing.

     2.5.2.xx VERY unstable -- Much like 2.5.1.xx series, but experiments
                should a little less wild now. Best time to focus on the
                major architectural changes that are goals for the 2.6.xx
                stable series. Most developers would want to work with
                this series, but not depend on it heavily for daily use.
                Expect nearly constant crashing.

     2.5.3.xx Unstable -- Significant architectural changes, new features
                and major feature changes allowed. Most experimental work
                should be finished by now; new experimental work should be
                developed in a forked tree until suitable for integration
                into development tree. Suitable for developers, should be
                stable for short periods of time. Expect frequent crashes.

     2.5.4.xx Almost stable -- Reasonable architectural changes allowed,
                new features and major feature changes allowed. Suitable
                for developers only, but "bleeding edge" users may want to
                try it out briefly. Expect random crashes, but should be
                stable enough to be more-or-less usable.

     2.5.5.xx Somewhat stable -- Small architectural changes allowed,
                new features and significant feature changes allowed.
                Suitable for developers and "bleeding edge" users only.
                Expected to crash once or twice per day, but should be
                stable for hours at a time.

     2.5.6.xx Reasonably stable -- Minor architectural changes allowed,
                medium feature changes allowed. Suitable for experimental
                servers or the more patient of the average desktop users.
                Not suitable for any production use; may crash several
                times per week.

     2.5.7.xx Mostly stable -- No architectural changes allowed, new
                features and small feature changes allowed. Should be
                suitable for the average desktop user or for a test server.
                Not suitable for most production use; expected to crash
                every few weeks or so.

     2.5.8.xx Initial release candidates -- No architectural changes, and
                only minor feature changes or clean new features allowed.
                Bugfixes and carefully selected patches only. Should be
                suitable for production use only on non-mission-critical
                systems. (This series would be equivalent to "pre" series
                in the past preceding a new stable release series.)

     2.5.9.xx Final release candidates -- No architectural, new features
                or feature changes allowed at all. Bugfixes ONLY; final
                tuning before 2.6.xx stable release series. Final release
                candidates should be almost suitable for production use on
                mission-critical systems, as any stable series release
                should be. (This depends on getting 2.5.8.xx used on some
                production systems first...)

                The 2.5.9.xx series should REPLACE the traditional initial
                stable series stabilization efforts. The final release in
                this series should be re-released as 2.6.0 and with
                no changes but the version number -- if more bugfixes are
                needed, it's not time yet. Only when it's time to fork for
                a new development series should the stable series be
                declared. (This should avoid embarassments like 2.2.0 --
                a "stable" release that crashed rather easily...)

     2.6.xx Next stable release series.

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