new “stable” policy for rsyslog?

For many years, I have strongly opted for the devel-beta-release cycle for rsyslog, where a transition from beta to release only happens after two to three month in order to be sure that a stable version really was stable. This worked well, because early adopters of the beta branches helped to iron out any remaining bugs. Unfortunately, I see this the early adoption rate decline for around two years now (actually starting with v5). The reason is probably obvious: rsyslog has become so feature-rich that users usually do not see any need to work with the beta versions but rather wait for stable. The bottom line is that when everybody waits for stable, the beta won’t stabilize at all ;-).

Unfortunately, I have seen this, too, happen in practice: even though we had very lengthy beta periods, problem reports just came in after the beta has been declared to be stable. At that time, many folks seem to start using the system, and as nobody did any testing before, things then begin to break. I guess there is noone to blame, that’s just how things work. However, one needs to know that I invest quite some time into the devel-beta-stable cycle. Time, that is most probably better spent at other things, if looked at in the light of what I just described.

As such, I will most probably change our “stable” policy for rsyslog soon: the tag “stable” will no longer mean that the product has actually stabilized, but that we are ready to support it as a stable version (probably very important to those folks with support contracts). While this may sound harsh, it has a lot of good: first of all, this is what actually happens for 2+ years already, just with a 3-month delay. So we spare these months, what means new features will become more readily available, and bugs are probably quicker found AND fixed (because if a bug reports is closer to implementation, it is usually easier to figure out what is wrong). With that said, rsyslog 7.2 will probably the last stable that went through the usual cycle.

If you have a great idea how we can actually get more beta deployments, I’ll reconsider that decision.

Note that we will still have devel-beta-stable branches, but beta will much quicker turn into stable than before.