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Re: [Emerging-Sigs] Snort 2.9.0.1 Now Available
From: Russ Combs <rcombs () sourcefire com>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 14:33:09 -0400

Thanks, Mike, for the objective explanation.

On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM, Mike Lococo <mikelococo () gmail com> wrote:

This is for /rules/, remember.  Current version, and one back is the
standard.  We'll take a look at the life cycle, wording, and policy on
the website to see if any modifications need to be made to clarify
anything.

I think most folks would rather have the practice changed to match the
written policy than the other way around.  That is: rule support for the
current version and one *major* version back.

We can't bring the 2.9.0 or 2.9.0.1 improvements back to 2.8.x.  2.9.0
was a big rewrite of the stream model (and many other things) and
bringing back the code to 2.8 would, as I said, be a monumental
undertaking.  That's why 2.9 was released.

Software-upgrades and security-fixes is a slightly different issue from
rule-availability, although their timelines should be aligned.  An
excellent model that many companies use is to put new features into the
latest major-release (2.9.x, at the moment), and security-fixes only for
the previous release (2.8.x, at the moment).  This doesn't require
backporting features and subsystem rewrites, only security-related
bug-fixes.  Folks on 2.8 (or latest-1) would miss out on new features,
and maybe on new detection logic that relies on those features.  The
benefit they would gain is control over when to deploy disruptive
major-releases and a greater assurance that security-fix releases are
not going to be disruptive.

I can only imagine that SF is trying to push enterprise customers who
care about lifecycle to appliances by promoting what is known to be an
unworkable lifecycle policy.

No.  That's not correct.  2.9.0.1 was released, as there were bugs in
2.9.0 that we were able to resolve.  Thusly the patch minor version.  We
try to keep the system up to date to deal with the current threats and
enhance functionality, all the while giving our open-source community a
free product.

No one is advocating that development be stopped, or saying that minor
upgrades like 2.9 to 2.9.1 are too onerous.  The difficulty for most of
us is that major upgrades like 2.8 to 2.9 (which has a libpcap version
dependency that's out of sync with the biggest Linux vendor in the
world) are being forced with narrow planning and deployment windows due
to a lifecycle policy based on frequent minor/patch releases instead of
infrequent major releases.

Cheers,
Mike Lococo

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