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Re: Thoughts on maintaining 7.3

From: Andrew Sullivan <andrew(at)libertyrms(dot)info>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Thoughts on maintaining 7.3
Date: 2003-10-01 15:40:57
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Lists: pgsql-hackers
On Tue, Sep 30, 2003 at 09:37:26AM -0700, Joshua D. Drake wrote:
>  Of course the theory being that we backport "some" features and fix 
> any bugs that
> we find?

I would argue _very strongly_ against backporting features.

The backporting of features into the Linux kernel is an extremely
good analogy in this case.  Someone gets the clever idea that this or
that feature from 2.1/2.3/2.5 is desperately needed in 2.0/2.2/2.4
and merrily goes about adding all sorts of new cruft to the so-called
stable release.  As a result, we have plenty of examples of massive
filesystem corruption, modules that used to work and just plain don't
any more, sudden surprise hardware incompatibilites, &c.  All too
frequently releases in the "stable" series are one right atop the
other.  What's worse, all these additional features are bound up with
the important remote-root-type patches that make it into later
releases of the kernel.  As a result, it's a lot of work to compile a
known-safe and known-clean kernel for use on one's own machines. 

Patching an older release to fix critical, data-mangling bugs is one
thing.  But if people want the latest nifty feature backported to an
old release, let 'em pay the developer to do it in their private
source tree, and not force on the rest of us the job of sorting out
what crucial patches we need to apply to our old, pristine source of
PostgreSQL 7.3.4.  If you're really going to trust your database
software, you do not allow new features to be added after having
carefully teated all your applications against the system.


Andrew Sullivan                         204-4141 Yonge Street
Afilias Canada                        Toronto, Ontario Canada
<andrew(at)libertyrms(dot)info>                              M2P 2A8
                                         +1 416 646 3304 x110

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