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FAQ's for Joomla's Improved Release Cycle

From Joomla! Documentation

Have some questions that you’ve just got to get answered? The chances are good we've already done it. Check the FAQs below:

For those who love detail - you can see the full development strategy here or a summary on docs, release and support cycle.

For those of you who want the quick, simple to understand overview - read here.

Contents

Will 3.5 be the LTS release for the 3.x series?

No. The strategies have been modified to not lock in a specific release as the LTS release of a series. Under the revised strategy, unless superseded with a newer minor release, there will be at least two years of support for the last minor release of a series. The concept of an LTS release is being eliminated in favor of this. For example, if 3.4 were to be the final minor release of the 3.x series, it would be supported for at least two years after its release.

Why discontinue the X.5 LTS strategy?

The X.5 LTS strategy prevents the PLT from issuing additional releases on a major release series. If 3.5 were to be the LTS for the 3.x series as previously planned, then any feature proposals or enhancements to the 3.x series would not be able to be merged until development started on 4.0. Now, it is possible to continue development on the 3.x series without locking into a specific release as the LTS release, which enables a longer support period for the 3.x series overall.

So, there's no more LTS right?

Correct. The concept of there being an LTS is being deprecated in favor of supporting the last release in a series for 2 years.

What happens to the planned 3.5 release?

It will be another release in the 3.x series. At this time, a finalized date has not been forecasted.

How does the Joomla! 3.4 announcement and development strategy change affect Joomla! 2.5 end of life?

The strategy change does not affect 2.5 support or its projected end of life date.

When should we encourage users to migrate their sites from 2.5 to 3.x?

Joomla! 2.5 support is planned to cease in December of 2014. Joomla! 3.x is stable and usable today. Those happy with 2.5 don't need to update now, but should be planning to do so before 2.5 EOL. Existing sites looking for 3.x features can migrate now, and all new sites are highly encouraged to use 3.x.

Which version will include an upgrade tool to go to 3.x from 2.5?

Core updates are able to be performed with ease via the update component (in 2.5.4 and later). However, before updating, admins should check to ensure their templates and extensions are compatible before updating.

Are we going to have any major features that will break things in the future of Joomla! 3?

No. The updated strategies will not allow for new features that break compatibility in the Joomla! 3 series.

What version of Joomla! 3 will be stable?

The current version of Joomla! is 3 stable. Users should feel comfortable upgrading to it today.

Why call minor release if there is not a major release anymore?

There will continue to be major and minor releases. The updated development strategy models our version numbering on Semantic Versioning (http://semver.org/). In short, the major version number is only incremented when backward compatibility breaks are introduced (i.e. 4.0 would be a major release); the minor version number is incremented when new features are added (i.e. 3.3 is a minor release); and the patch version number is incremented when bug or security fixes are released (i.e. the 3.2.3 release).

Is this strategy what WordPress is doing at the moment?

The leadership teams communicate with other project leaders and study how their projects handle the same issues we are addressing. There are areas in which we did use WordPress as a model to our strategy, however we are not completely emulating their project.

In 2015/2016 version 4.0 will be released. Is this release going to stop the support of two previous releases (2.5)? Or the support will continue and so, how are they going to manage all those releases?

With the short term/long term strategy it was easy to explain, the long term release would be used by most people, with the short term release for early adopters and those that really need the new features but were willing to put up with a little bit of pain as bugs were ironed out and new features introduced etc.

Most users with existing Joomla! 2.5.x websites would wait for the next long term release Joomla! 3.5 in September 2014 before upgrading.

When is Joomla! 4.0?

Joomla! 4.0 is for early adopters, Joomla! 4.1 will be stable and Joomla! 3 users should consider migrating once available, or plan to migrate prior to EOL of Joomla! 3, which will be 2 years after last minor release (sometime after December 31, 2016).