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Changes to the FreeBSD Support Model
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Over the past several months, the teams responsible for supporting the
FreeBSD operating system discussed the current support model, and how
that model can be improved to provide better support for FreeBSD users
and consumers.

The changes below greatly improve FreeBSD support, reduce turnaround time
for Errata Notices and Security Advisories, provide consistency between
binary package sets and the underlying FreeBSD base system version, and
reduce the amount of time before new features are included in the official
FreeBSD binary package sets.

Changes Proposed in a New FreeBSD Support Model
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The proposed changes include:

– Moving from a point release-based support model to a set of releases
from a branch with a guaranteed support lifetime.

– Resolving our arbitrary (and unofficial) 5-year branch lifetime
guarantee. The support policy is that the stable/X branch will be
supported for 5 years (minimum) from the point X.0-RELEASE is released.
We now guarantee a 5-year lifetime on the branch, regardless of how many
releases are built from the branch. Additionally, a “last minute”
release from the stable/X branch does not constitute expanding the support
lifetime for the branch as a whole for an additional two years.

– The Security Officer or Ports Management Team may extend support for any
individual numbered release or branch at their discretion, in
exceptional cases.

– A new stable/ branch release will not occur before two years after the
X.0-RELEASE from the prior branch. This limits the number of
simultaneous supported branches, which will greatly reduce the overall
number of branches that must be maintained and build-tested for
Security Advisories and Errata Notices, reducing turnaround time.

– Each new release from the stable/X branch deprecates the previous
release on the branch, providing a three-month window within which
consumers are urged to upgrade to the latest release. During this
three-month window, Security Advisories and Errata Notices will still
be issued for the previous release, as necessary.

Full announcement: https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-announce/2015-February/001624.html