[Python-Dev] Maintaining old releases

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Wed Aug 13 22:32:27 CEST 2008

> It's difficult to use such download numbers as hint for the number
> of deployed installations. 2.4.5 was not released as binary, so
> interested parties had to compile that version by themselves and
> those installations don't show up in your statistics.

You mean, they installed it *without* downloading it? How did they
do that?

> I'm sure that if we had released binaries as well, the number would
> have looked different, esp. if you only look at the Windows binaries.

See, that's exactly the problem. We don't have the resources to provide
Windows binaries. So even if the release contained regular bug fixes,
I *still* would not have released Windows binaries.

> That's a valid point, but does this really warrant backing out
> changes that have already been applied ? Isn't it better to get
> at least some bugs fixed rather than to not fix them at all ?

Yes. Otherwise, neither developers nor users have a clear guideline
what to expect.

> Perhaps we should just document the maintenance of Python releases
> more clearly and also plan for a final bug fix release 3 years after
> the initial branch release. That way developers and users can also
> adjust their plans accordingly.

There was clear documentation. It said "2.4 is done, finished, closed,
over with, not maintained anymore". We had been doing that for many
releases in the past.

Now, you and me, we both want to change the policy. I want to change
to provide security releases for a period of five years, and I think
this is feasible with the resources that we have. You just suggested
to provide bug fix releases for three years, and I think that is
not feasible.

In addition, it still would mean that we should not have
done a bug fix release in 2008 (as 2.4.5 was released in March 2008);
instead, the last bug fix release should have been made in November
2007. Nobody (including yourself) stepped forward at that time and
offered to roll a release. 2.4 was release on November 30, 2004.


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