Enterprise Linux Log

Jul 23 2007   9:41AM GMT

BIND releases get version number facelift


According to the BIND mailing list, the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) is making a minor change to the way it numbers BIND releases as a way to simplify the upgrade process for our users. More information from that mailing list email follows.

The current BIND version numbering scheme consists of three part numbers.

Current Release 9.4.1:

  • 9 – an architecture number,
  • .4 – a major release number, and
  • .1 – a minor release number.

Within the BIND 9 architecture series, major releases can and usually do include “feature” changes (new functionality, new named.conf syntax, etc). Minor releases do not include feature changes, only bugfixes.

Minor releases fall into 2 categories: Security releases and roll-up bugfix releases.

1) Security releases generally consist of the absolute minimum necessary change from the previous release making it easier for users to upgrade quickly, as security releases are usually time critical.

2) Roll-up bugfix releases include whatever bugfixes have accumulated since the last release, and can include a large number of changes. Most of these changes are usually relatively small but the volume of new code in a roll-up bugfix release is generally much larger than in a security release.

Many organizations that use BIND code have rules of one kind or another about how often they can upgrade to new releases from vendors, so unscheduled releases are problematic. The current version numbering scheme also makes it hard for users who have not been following closely to tell the difference between security releases and roll-up bugfix releases.

To facilitate the upgrade process, the ISC and BIND community will begin calling security releases “patch” versions. Version numbers for patched releases will include the same three part version number with an appended patch number (Thus, the first patch to BIND 9.4.1 would be numbered BIND 9.4.1p1).

Security patches will be released both as patches and also as tarballs. Security patches will generally be the minimal change necessary to fix the security problem, so that users whose code vetting process requires them to read every new or changed line of code will be able to incorporate security-related bugfixes quickly.

Roll-up bugfix releases will continue as before as minor releases under the old version numbering scheme. Additionally, roll-up bugfix releases will include any security patches since the previous full release. For example, BIND 9.4.2 would include whatever patches were in BIND 9.4.1p1.

“We realize that any change to the version numbering of an existing product creates a certain amount of angst and confusion, but we think and hope that this revised version numbering scheme will be better for our users in the long run. Thank you for your patience and continued support,” the mailing said.

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