PKP Announces Long-term Support (LTS) Software Releases
PKP has accepted a proposal from the Technical Committee to adopt a Long-term Support (LTS) policy in order to help our community run and maintain our software. This decision will help our community of users schedule their upgrades by providing a fixed timeline for major software updates. We encourage anyone who hosts our software to read on to learn how the new LTS policy will affect security patches, bug fixes and new features added to our software.
What is a Long-term Support policy?
A Long-term Support (LTS) policy is a commitment to maintain a stable release of our software for a longer period of time than we normally provide. When we designate a version of OJS/OMP/OPS to be a LTS version, we will identify an End of Life (EOL) date, after which the version will no longer receive security patches or bug fixes.
Institutions that host our software can be confident that they will not be required to upgrade before the EOL date, so that they can schedule in the time and resources that will be necessary to upgrade to a new major version.
Software projects like Ubuntu Linux™, Oracle’s Java™ and Microsoft Windows™, among many others, all provide LTS versions of their software. These versions are widely used by large institutions, for whom major changes to software may require staff retraining, migration of customizations, or the mobilization of other resources.
Why has PKP adopted a Long-term Support policy?
The Technical Committee, an advisory group made up of members from the PKP community, raised concerns that some institutions were struggling to upgrade their software at the pace of major software releases over the last few years. This risked leaving some institutions on old versions of the software that no longer received security patches.
After some discussion, it was decided that a LTS policy would provide a more predictable, manageable upgrade schedule for these institutions. At the same time, the LTS version would permit PKP’s development team to commit to critical fixes in one stable version, while allowing new features to be released to the community on a quicker schedule.
OJS/OMP/OPS 3.3.0 LTS
We have decided to name OJS/OMP/OPS 3.3.0 our first LTS release. This release will reach EOL on January 1st, 2025. Until then, OJS/OMP/OPS 3.3.0 LTS will receive maintenance releases that include security patches and bug fixes. No new features will be provided in the 3.3.0 line of releases.
What happens when a LTS version reaches End of Life?
When a LTS version reaches End of Life (EOL), it will no longer receive security patches or bug fixes. At least 12 months before a LTS version reaches EOL, we will designate a new LTS version, so that you have one year to perform an upgrade.
For example, OJS/OMP/OPS 3.3.0 LTS will reach EOL on January 1st, 2025 so a new LTS version will be announced by January 1st, 2024.
What about other releases?
We will continue to make major releases of the software with new features, such as 3.4 and 3.5. At the moment, we release about one major version per year. However, these versions will not necessarily be designated LTS and may not receive bug fixes for as long.
Typically, we support the current major release and the last major release, so that means most other releases receive bug fixes for about two years. However, that is not guaranteed.
Should I use LTS or not?
We encourage you to use the latest major release whenever possible. Our software has improved dramatically over the last three years. If you choose to use the LTS version, you will not benefit from improvements for several years.
However, the LTS version may be a more sustainable choice for your institution if you have custom themes or plugins and you do not have the technical resources to update or test them every year.
How can I learn about new releases?
If you’re a software developer or system administrator, you can sign up to our developer newsletter to learn about what’s going on with PKP software, including upcoming releases, community plugins, technical changes and developer documentation.