So far all midPoint releases had the same support lifetime of two years. This was a simple method, but it could not cope with conflicting requirements of rapid development and longevity. Therefore we are starting a new support program: Long-Term Support, or LTS for short.
Starting with midPoint 4.0 there will be two types of releases:
- LTS releases with support lifetime of 3 years (or more).
- Feature releases with support lifetime of 1 year.
The idea is to provide both stability and progress. People that prefer stability can stick to LTS releases. There will be direct upgrade path from LTS release to next LTS release. On the other hand people that want to get newest features while they are still hot can follow feature releases. Everybody should find a suitable path for their deployment. Otherwise the midPoint development process still stays the same: two major/minor releases every year, maintenance releases on a as-needed basis. The LTS releases are planned approx. every two years. See Long-Term Support page in our wiki for more details.
The motivation of the LTS program is to allow releases with potentially very long support lifetime. The LTS releases start with 3 year support lifetime. However, support lifetime of LTS releases can be extended. Extended support is, quite naturally, going to be more expensive than ordinary support. But it is possible. Therefore the real support lifetime of LTS releases can be quite long. The drawback is that support lifetime of feature releases is shorter. We had to do that to keep the number of supported versions reasonable. But people that look for the newest and coolest features are usually upgrading their deployment often anyway.
With midPoint 4.0 we are entering a new age. There will be new and exciting features in midPoint 4.0. The LTS program will provide longer lifetime and better stability. But this is not just a formal change in the support process. We are working on internal changes in midPoint 4.0 to support long-term stability. MidPoint 4.0 will be truly a next generation product.