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From Glenn <>
Subject Re: Branch Philosophy
Date Sun, 13 Oct 2002 04:18:42 GMT
On Sat, Oct 12, 2002 at 11:41:01PM -0400, Tim Wilde wrote:
> I'll preface this by saying I'm not much of a developer myself, but I use
> a number of major open source software packages, and follow their
> development models pretty closely.
> I don't understand all this fighting about branching and development.  I
> don't understand why Apache 2.0 has been released, and recommended for
> production use, if, as many seem to be saying, it isn't
> "feature-complete".  Every other project I've ever seen doesn't do active
> development on a released branch.  That's just NOT how to do things. [...]

Let me preface my response by saying that I am not running Apache2 in
production (module reasons), although I run it in my test lab.  In the
1.3 tree, I watch the releases and see what has changed.  Not all Apache
point releases reach GA.  And a few that do occasionally shouldn't have.
That's just the way it is, even with proprietary software.  But being
open source, I can gauge things much better in Apache by following the

The same thing goes for RedHat releases.  I know a lot of people who
won't touch RedHat *.0 releases.  Historically, the *.0 releases include
major changes.  RedHat has done an excellent job with each release, but
the *.0 releases have typically needed more initial fixes than the rest.
Why is this?  RedHat does rigorous testing on its releases, but only once
it is being used by a much wider audience do more subtle bugs show up
(often related to the major changes that fewer people were previously using)
This has the effect of pushing the envelope a bit, which I like (gcc and
glibc upgrades, for example).

I look at Apache the same way.  Apache2 includes some _major_ changes.
These changes are not going to stabilize until they are used by a wider
audience.  At last post of the count to this list, slightly more than
6,000 servers were running Apache2 (did I get that right?)  Therefore,
changing the API at this early stage in order to move towards a solid
2.0 platform is a Good Thing (tm), even if it means the many changes
restrict the growth of Apache2 to early adopters.  It's much better than
withholding those changes and slowing down progress.  And growing the
Apache2 userbase slowly as the 2.0 platform stabilizes is also much
better than wholesale adoption by general users who often do not maintain
their systems as well as early adopters, and who might be slow in 
updating to important releases.

Don't misunderstand: Apache2 works today!  It just isn't everything to
everyone yet since some module authors need to catch up to the new Apache

Just a counterpoint.
(who normally doesn't post this much, but has something to contribute)

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