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Moodle HQ Support for older versions

 
画像 ROBB Thomas
Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 2日(火曜日) 10:59 - ROBB Thomas の投稿
 

Hi everyone,

My university has a small problem with Moodle support for older versions.  We now are using 2.1.2, and support will end in December, leaving us high and dry for three months.  Starting April, the university will probably install 2.3, but our Joho Center has a very strong policy against upgrading in the middle of the year.  While of course, there are security fixes which should be implemented, later versions of the same major release do also introduce new features which the university sees as possibily causing conflicts with existing functions.

The Kyoto San-Dai timeline works like this:

  • November: Decide on version (usually the most recently released one.
  • December-January: Customize the version (outsourced) to add features not available in the off-the-shelf version.
  • February - mid-March: testing
  • mid-March: Open the new Moodle for teachers to create their courses. (Each year starts with a clean database.)

Now, the current Moodle HQ policy is to supply security patches to versions released within the past 12 months.  We hope that we can have the policy were changed to versions released in the past 18 months.  Does anyone else have a similar problem with the current policy?

画像 EDGAR Edmund
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 2日(火曜日) 13:37 - EDGAR Edmund の投稿
 

Isn't it already 18 months for security patches?

http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Updates

 

That said, I hear you on the general point - I've advised a client not to use Moodle, because they need a bit of stability and the EOLs are too short.

 

It also really hurts me as a contrib author - pretty much every minor version update breaks API compatibility somewhere, and we rely on the community to test our plugin. This makes it very hard to even get a stable release out, because by the time we've got enough testing done on a particular Moodle version, that version is already EOL...

画像 ROBB Thomas
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 2日(火曜日) 15:13 - ROBB Thomas の投稿
 

Sorry, I did get my facts wrong in my previous message.  The 18 months is not measured from the release of each minor version, but rather from the release date of the major version.  2.1 first saw the light of day on July 1, 2011  therefore the last support for major security issues for any 2.1.x version is January 1, 2013.

To take an extreme example, if a major release, such as 2.4 were to happen on January 31 of 2013,  support would only continue until 31 July 2014.  It would thus be impossible for my university to implement 2.4 because we couldn't start using it until April of 2014, which would leave only 4 months covered by major security releases.

In this case, even 24 months would leave us with no security patches for the last two months of the school year, but fortunately, most usage of Moodle would end at the beginning of February when classes end, although teachers doing evaluations of submitted work would still be using it until the beginning of March.

Concerning Edmund's comments on minor updates causing problems for APIs, perhaps there should be no additional features added at all between major releases.  Perhaps the only enhancements should be bug fixes and security patches.

画像 EDGAR Edmund
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 2日(火曜日) 15:34 - EDGAR Edmund の投稿
 

I guess the main ways projects that want to do a lot of releases handle this are:

1) Stability between minor versions. This is what Drupal does. They do quite frequent minor releases, but they save substantial UI changes and changes that break API compatibility for major version updates. This means you can update minor versions without too much trouble.

2) Long-term-support releases. Ubuntu do releases every 6 months, but every third release or so is designated long-term support, and supported for 5 years.

I think either of those would be fine for Moodle. We actually have something close to (2) in practice because if enough people scream, Moodle HQ, or a third-party, ends up supporting versions for longer. (1.9 is getting close to 6 years.) The catch is that you don't know ahead of time which one is going to be supported. This gives us the worst of both worlds, because it causes all kinds of grief for admins but somebody still ends up putting in the resources to support the old version.

The root of the problem here seems to be that for some reason HQ are under the (IMHO obviously mistaken) impression that they're delivering (1), and can't understand why people are frightened to upgrade...

画像 EDGAR Edmund
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 2日(火曜日) 15:45 - EDGAR Edmund の投稿
 

Just to clarify the terminology here so people don't end up talking past each other, conventionally, if you've got a version called 1.2.3,

(1) is the major version.

(2) is the minor version.

(3) is the point release.

画像 ROBB Thomas
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 2日(火曜日) 18:35 - ROBB Thomas の投稿
 

Thank you for the clarification!  

 

In that case, I was one step removed from the correct terminology.  Moodle HQ supports 'minor releases' for 18 months and ignores 'point releases'.

--Tom

画像 EDGAR Edmund
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 4日(木曜日) 14:05 - EDGAR Edmund の投稿
 

Sorry, Tom, it turns out you had the terminology right in the case of Moodle.

Dunno, what they call the "Moodle 1" vs "Moodle 2", "majorly major"?

画像 DOUGIAMAS Martin
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 12月 19日(水曜日) 15:12 - DOUGIAMAS Martin の投稿
 

A major refactoring.  I don't anticipate a 3.x so look forward to 2.31.

My mugshot
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 4日(木曜日) 12:43 - DE RAADT Michael の投稿
 

Hi, all.

I'm glad you are sharing this discussion. I'm an interloper, so I hope you don't mind me joining in.

You are correct that there is some anxiety about upgrading, and I think a lot of this was caused after significant API changes between 1.9 and 2.0. We're committed to making upgrades a lot smoother from between versions now. We'd like to encourage people to see version upgrades as minor steps forward and certainly not one that should break easily.

In relation to terminology, we're currently releasing "Major releases" every six months, and these are numbered 2.3, 2.4, etc. Our minor releases (AKA point releases) are happening every two months and are numbered 2.3.1, 2.3.2, etc.

A good guide to releases and frequencies can be found at...

http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Releases#General_release_calendar

I'm looking forward to seeing you guys at the Moot early next year.

画像 EDGAR Edmund
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 10月 4日(木曜日) 14:09 - EDGAR Edmund の投稿
 

Thanks for stopping by, Michael.

"We're committed to making upgrades a lot smoother from between versions now. We'd like to encourage people to see version upgrades as minor steps forward and certainly not one that should break easily."

When did "now" start? Moodle 2.0 to Moodle 2.1 completely rewrites the quiz, breaks everything that touches it, and produces a potentially very hairy upgrade for people with a lot of data. Is this the kind of thing HQ is committed not to do any more?

画像 DOUGIAMAS Martin
Re: Moodle HQ Support for older versions
2012年 12月 19日(水曜日) 15:10 - DOUGIAMAS Martin の投稿
 

Edmund, yes, that was a big change to one module in 2011.  It actually was supposed to be in 2.0 but didn't make it.   That said, the whole purpose of it was to fix large problems with the quiz code and to set it up as a place for extensive development in future (similar to the rest of the changes in 2.0).

 

It's always going to be possible to point to an exception here and there, but basically our policy is all about making http://moodle.org/plugins very useful for everyone, and that means stable APIs.   If you are buiding on top of Moodle and stick to the published APIs then you should have very little problems in future.  We only change them with very good reason and document these changes in the release notes.

 

However, if you create hacks, forks, direct database access and other random tricks to build on top of Moodle then it's more likely things will break.

 

Finally, we are thinking about a 'Long Term Support" version next year, maybe 2.5 or 2.6, which we will have a security support timeline of quite a few years.