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Version Naming

This is the proposal on how versions should be named in the future:

Rsyslog version naming has undergone a number of changes in the past. Our sincere hopes is that the scheme outlined here will serve us well for the future. In general, a three-number versioning scheme with a potential development state indication is used. It follows this pattern:

major.minor.patchlevel[-devstate]

where devstate has some further structure: -<releaseReason><releaseNumber>

All stable builds come without the devstate part. All unstable development version come with it.

The major version is incremented whenever something really important happens. A single new feature, even if important, does not justify an increase in the major version. There is no hard rule when the major version needs an increment. It mostly is a soft factor, when the developers and/or the community think there has been sufficient change to justify that. Major version increments are expected to happen quite infrequently, maybe around once a year. A major version increment has important implications from the support side: without support contracts, the current major version’s last stable release and the last stable release of the version immediately below it are supported (Adiscon, the rsyslog sponsor, offers support contracts covering all other versions).

The minor version is incremented whenever a non-trivial new feature is planned to be added. Triviality of a feature is simply determined by time estimated to implement a feature. If that’s more than a few days, it is considered a non-trivial feature. Whenever a new minor version is begun, the desired feature is identified and will be the primary focus of that major.minor version. Trivial features may justify a new minor version if they either do not look trivial from the user’s point of view or change something quite considerable (so we need to alert users). A minor version increment may also be done for some other good reasons that the developers have.

The patchlevel is incremented whenever there is a bugfix or very minor feature added to a (stable or development) release.

The devstate is important during development of a feature. It helps the developers to release versions with new features to the general public and in the hope that this will result in some testing. To understand how it works, we need to look at the release cycle: As already said, at the start of a new minor version, a new non-trivial feature to be implemented in that version is selected. Development on this feature begins. At the current pace of development, getting initial support for such a non-trivial feature typically takes between two and four weeks. During this time, new feature requests come in. Also, we may find out that it may be just the right time to implement some not yet targeted feature requests. A reason for this is that the minor release’s feature focus is easier to implement if the other feature is implemented first. This is a quite common thing to happen. So development on the primary focus may hold for a short period while we implement something else. Even unrelated, but very trivial feature requests (maybe an hour’s worth of time to implement), may be done in between. Once we have implemented these things, we would like to release as quickly as possible (even more if someone has asked for the feature). So we do not like to wait for the original focus feature to be ready (what could take maybe three more weeks). As a result, we release the new features. But that version will also include partial code of the focus feature. Typically this doesn’t hurt as long as noone tries to use it (what of course would miserably fail). But still, part of the new code is already in it. When we release such a “minor-feature enhanced” but “focus-feature not yet completed” version, we need a way to flag it. In current thinking, that is using a “-mf<version>” devstate in the version number (“mf” stands for “minor feature”). Version numbers for -mf releases start at 0 for the first release and are monotonically incremented. Once the focus feature has been fully implemented, a new version now actually supporting that feature will be released. Now, the release reason is changed to the well-know “-rc<version>” where “rc” stands for release candidate. For the first release candidate, the version starts at 0 again and is incremented monotonically for each subsequent release. Please note that a -rc0 may only have bare functionality but later -rc’s have a richer one. If new minor features are implemented and released once we have reached rc stage, still a new rc version is issued. The difference between “mf” and “rc” is simply the presence of the desired feature. No support is provided for -mf versions once the first -rc version has been released. And only the most current -rc version is supported.

The -rc is removed and the version declared stable when we think it has undergone sufficient testing and look sufficiently well. Then, it’ll turn into a stable release. Stable minor releases never receive non-trivial new features. There may be more than one -rc releases without a stable release present at the same time. In fact, most often we will work on the next minor development version while the previous minor version is still a -rc because it is not yet considered sufficiently stable.

Note: the absence of the -devstate part indicates that a release is stable. Following the same logic, any release with a -devstate part is unstable.

A quick sample:

4.0.0 is the stable release. We begin to implement relp, moving to major.minor to 4.1. While we develop it, someone requests a trivial feature, which we implement. We need to release, so we will have 4.1.0-mf0. Another new feature is requested, move to 4.1.0-mf2. A first version of RELP is implemented: 4.1.0-rc0. A new trivial feature is implemented: 4.1.0-rc1. Relp is being enhanced: 4.1.0-rc2. We now feel RELP is good enough for the time being and begin to implement TLS on plain /Tcp syslog: logical increment to 4.2. Now another new feature in that tree: 4.2.0-mf0. Note that we now have 4.0.0 (stable) and 4.1.0-rc2 and 4.1.0-mf0 (both devel). We find a big bug in RELP coding. Two new releases: 4.1.0-rc3, 4.2.0-mf1 (the bug fix acts like a non-focus feature change). We release TLS: 4.2.0-rc0. Another RELP bug fix 4.1.0-rc4, 4.2.0-rc1. After a while, RELP is matured: 4.1.0 (stable). Now support for 4.0.x stable ends. It, however, is still provided for 3.x.x (in the actual case 2.x.x, because v3 was under the old naming scheme and now stable v3 was ever released).

This is how it is done so far:

This document briefly outlines the strategy for naming versions. It applies to versions 1.0.0 and above. Versions below that are all unstable and have a different naming schema.

Please note that version naming is currently being changed. There is a `blog post about future rsyslog versions <https://rainer.gerhards.net/2007/08/on-rsyslog-versions.html>`_.

The major version is incremented whenever a considerate, major features have been added. This is expected to happen quite infrequently.

The minor version number is incremented whenever there is “sufficient need” (at the discretion of the developers). There is a notable difference between stable and unstable branches. The stable branch always has a minor version number in the range from 0 to 9. It is expected that the stable branch will receive bug and security fixes only. So the range of minor version numbers should be quite sufficient.

For the unstable branch, minor version numbers always start at 10 and are incremented as needed (again, at the discretion of the developers). Here, new minor versions include both fixes as well as new features (hopefully most of the time). They are expected to be released quite often.

The patch level (third number) is incremented whenever a really minor thing must be added to an existing version. This is expected to happen quite infrequently.

In general, the unstable branch carries all new development. Once it concludes with a sufficiently-enhanced, quite stable version, a new major stable version is assigned.

See also

Help with configuring/using Rsyslog:

  • Mailing list - best route for general questions
  • GitHub: rsyslog source project - detailed questions, reporting issues that are believed to be bugs with Rsyslog
  • Stack Exchange (View, Ask) - experimental support from rsyslog community

See also

Contributing to Rsyslog:

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