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FreeBSD Announces Changes to Release Schedule And Support Period

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Colin Percival, FreeBSD Release Engineering Lead, has recently announced two significant changes to FreeBSD release engineering process. These changes aim to make FreeBSD release schedule more predictable, efficient, and better aligned with the needs of users and developers.

Shorter Support Duration for Stable Branches

Starting with FreeBSD 15.x, the support duration for stable branches will be reduced from 5 years to 4 years. This change will allow the FreeBSD team to focus on supporting a smaller number of branches, making it easier for their security and ports teams to manage and maintain.

Quarterly Release Schedule

The FreeBSD team is establishing a predictable schedule of releases, with a new minor release from one of their supported stable branches occurring most quarters. This means that users can expect a new release every 3 months, with some exceptions for .0 releases.

This schedule will provide a clearer roadmap for users, making it easier for them to plan and manage their upgrade cycles.

Benefits for the Community

These changes will bring several benefits to the FreeBSD community. With a more predictable release schedule, users will be able to plan their upgrades more effectively, and developers will have a clearer understanding of when their features and updates will be included in a release.

Additionally, the reduced support duration will allow the FreeBSD team to focus on supporting a smaller number of branches, making it easier to maintain and improve their releases.

New Release Cycle

The FreeBSD team's new release cycle will work as follows: the code slush will start in the middle of the first month of each quarter, followed by the creation of the release branch and BETA builds at the start of the second month. The final release will occur early in the third month of the quarter.

Developers are encouraged to submit their features and updates by the middle of January, April, July, or October to ensure they are included in the relevant release.

Testing and Release Timeline

The FreeBSD team is calling on volunteers to test BETA releases in the months of February, May, August, and November.

While the team strives to meet its scheduled deadlines, it's possible that releases may be delayed slightly. In such cases, the team aims to finalize releases by the end of the following months: March, June, September, or December.

Upcoming FreeBSD Release Schedule

The FreeBSD core team has approved these changes based on the insights provided by Colin Percival.

Here's the updated schedule for upcoming FreeBSD releases:

Release VersionRelease DateEnd of Life (EoL) Date
13.3Mar 2024Dec 2024
14.1Jun 2024Mar 2025
13.4Sep 2024Jun 2025
14.2Dec 2024Sep 2025
13.5*Mar 2025Apr 2026*
14.3Jun 2025Jun 2026
15.0Dec 2025Sep 2026
14.4Mar 2026Dec 2026
15.1Jun 2026Mar 2027
14.5Sep 2026Jun 2027
15.2Dec 2026Sep 2027
14.6*Mar 2027Nov 2028*
15.3Jun 2027Jun 2028
16.0Dec 2027Sep 2028
15.4Mar 2028Dec 2028
16.1Jun 2028Mar 2029
15.5Sep 2028Jun 2029
16.2Dec 2028Sep 2029
15.6Mar 2029Dec 2029
16.3Jun 2029Jun 2030
17.0Dec 2029Sep 2030
Table: FreeBSD Release Schedule

Please note that 13.5 and 14.6 are supported until 5 years after the initial 13.0 and 14.0 releases, respectively.

The updated release schedule will now provide a clear timeline for future updates, making it easier for FreeBSD users to plan and manage their upgrades.

Key Takeaways

  • Starting with FreeBSD 15.x, the support duration for the stable branch will be reduced from 5 years to 4 years after the .0 release.
  • FreeBSD will adopt a predictable release schedule, with new minor releases from supported stable branches occurring almost every quarter.
  • Colin Percival, the Release Engineering Lead, has reviewed and streamlined the new FreeBSD release engineering process.
  • A detailed schedule from FreeBSD 13.3 (March 2024) to 17.0 (December 2029) has been provided.
  • The FreeBSD core team has approved these changes, which will make it easier for users to plan and manage their upgrades.

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