[TYPO3-core] Proposal for the upcoming Roadmap and LTS

Jigal van Hemert jigal.van.hemert at typo3.org
Wed Nov 7 08:12:07 CET 2012


On 6-11-2012 22:18, Mario Rimann wrote:
> Am 08.10.12 22:44, schrieb Jigal van Hemert:
>>> 6 month to upgrade from 4.5 LTS to 6.x LTS looks short to me, because
>>> * there might be a huge amount of instances in the wild, which are
>>> targeted to upgrade only from LTS to LTS. This means higher workload in
>>> the 6 month phase, additionally to the usual workload of new projects.
>> A good reason to not skip so many versions and upgrade regularly...
> Well, isn't the whole LTS story intended for exactly that target
> audience that want a stable system which is maintained for an extended
> period in time, so that the lifetime of the TYPO3 installation is
> maximized (and with this the amount of payed upgrades reduced)?

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but at the time that the LTS 
concept was born the only reason was to be finally able to drop support 
for IE6 in the backend. This is also reflected in the fact that the 
support for TYPO3 4.5 LTS ends in the first quarter of 2014; this is the 
same date that the extended support for Windows XP ends and with that 
the support for IE6 by Microsoft.
The reason was that some organisations cannot upgrade to newer browser 
versions. When the support by Microsoft ends there is no reason for us 
to support that browser anymore.

After the release of 4.5 LTS sales people have turned it into an 
argument for selling a version that doesn't need major upgrades for a 
long time. I can see that this was an opportunity to sell a good deal.

> Or how do you sell these upgrades to your customers? Do all of them have
> a payed SLA with you that cover your work to upgrade each and every of
> your customer installations from minor version to minor version
> throughout the year? I can't imagine that.

AFAIK SLAs cover bugfix releases. For an upgrade to a new version a copy 
of the site is made and a test upgrade is done. After that an estimate 
for the actual costs can be made.

> When I read this mail and from what I've discussed with some of the core
> devs in the past months, I fear that at least some of you have a very
> different viewing angle onto this whole topic as some of the users
> (agencies and their customers) have. I personally like the LTS version a
> lot, as it gave us and our customers a lot of stability - and to be
> honest, the LTS version is also a selling argument!

So, basically you want the core team to pay (in extra development and 
support effort) what you sold to your clients?
At the time of the release of 4.5 LTS the end of life date was already 
set, there was no new LTS version announced, and you assumed that 
another LTS version would be published in time for easy upgrades? You 
didn't plan for extra upgrade effort?

> As I tried to explain in an older thread, compared to the time when
> 4.5.0 was released, TYPO3 lost a lot of lifetime if you compare the
> following two situations:
> - In Q1/2011, a customer buying a 4.5.x based website got support for 3+
> years. Since we apply the patch-level updates for free, the customer has
> a secure system without being charged (only pays the fee for the hosting
> of course)
> - If the same user would buy his website now (Q3/2012), his Installation
> will have an expected lifetime of just about 1.5 years - almostly
> independed of whether he gets a 4.5.x LTS based TYPO3 setup or a 4.7.x
> based version (differend of the two EOL dates is 6 months)

This is only partly true.

- internet related technology is a fast developing area. New devices and 
new techniques come and go quickly. A website needs to adapt to this. It 
often isn't a static thing you can use for years and years without any 

- the installation most certainly uses extensions. They have their 
problems too and need to be updated or even replaced if the author 
doesn't publish updates anymore

- the client wants new features ("our competitors have this and that on 
their site") and these are not compatible with either the core or the 
extensions in the installation.

- an old installation can still be used after the support by the core 
team has ended. You simply don't get free bugfixes and security fixes 
anymore. You can offer extended support. The changelog is very much open 
and all changes are available from gerrit. You could do the backports of 
bugfixes and security fixes yourself and keep older installations 
up-to-date way beyond the EOL date.

> With the longer release-cycles (up to 4.4), this problem did IMHO not
> exist as every minor version up to 4.3.x was maintained for roughly 3
> years and the overlap was long enough. Switching to the 6-month
> release-cycle brought up this problem IMHO, which was now "healed" with
> the LTS-version, but when I think about it a bit, the LTS just postponed
> a real discussion/decision like this one for 1.5 years.

The shorter release cycle was done to get new features earlier into the 
world. Having a long release cycle (say 1.5-2 years) means that the 
"latest stable" release is outdated before the next release is 
published. The rest of the world (other CMSs) also move forward and have 
features which are still waiting for the next release of TYPO3.

Imagine that it takes 1.5 years before support for HTML5 was added?
We don't want new features in existing releases, simply because of 
stability and ease of updates. You don't want to run an upgrade wizard 
for each bugfix level release because there might be a new feature or 
change which requires and action during installation.

We could theoretically support each release for a very long time, but 
the problem is that we don't have the resources (manpower) for this. 
Supporting old branches takes time. The further the code bases have 
grown apart the harder it becomes. With new features in releases 
backporting bugfixes/security fixes becomes harder and harder.

I personally don't see a technical reason for a new LTS version. The 
only reasons I've heard were commercial motives. Maybe you can come up 
with a solution for that? Can the agencies that want an LTS version 
provide developers who maintain this? Handle bugreports, backport 
bugfixes, packaging, etc.?

Jigal van Hemert
TYPO3 Core Team member

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