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Moodle support period: Long term version?

 
 
Picture of Samuel Witzig
Moodle support period: Long term version?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Everyone

First: If I posted in the wrong forum, please move it to another forum. I'm not sure in which forum this subject belongs.

After the announcement by Michael de Raadt (https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=222263) I would like to pick up the subject of a long term release version of Moodle. As I'm not a developer, I do not really know if the discussion has been led in the developper community.

Our university (moodle.zhaw.ch) uses Moodle since fall 2004, and in the meantime, we have about 34'000 in Moodle-users and about 5000 courses. When upgrading Moodle to a new version (e.g. from 2.2 to 2.4), we have some essential parameters which we are bound to:

  1. Stability in daily operarations and bug-fixing is essential for us, even more important than new features. This means that we e.g. cannot upgrade to a new Moodle version 2 or 3 months after it has been released. We usually wait at least 4-6 months after a release until we upgrade and some bug-fixing by minor version (e.g. Moodle 2.2.1, 2.2.3) has been done.
  2. Do to "calendar" parameters (e.g. semesters, further education…), we can only upgrade at the end of July.
  3. We use only Moodle versions which are supported due to security reasons.

Parameter 1, 2 and 3 as well as the support cycle from Moodle (support for 18 months) force us to do an upgrade every summer, which means a lot of work (not only upgrading Moodle, but also lots of work for adapting manuals, educate lecturers). To demonstrate the issue:

  • Moodle 2.2 has been released in December 2011. we upgraded to Moodle 2.2 in July 2012. Moodle 2.2 is supported until June 2012, which means we have to update again in July.

To be honest, an update every year is too much! It means a lot of work, but even more important, users generally do not like a change every year! At least 2 years with the same version would be a huge improvement.

Therefore, I would love to have a long term support version, which is e.g. supported for 3 years. This would make it possible for us to use the same Moodle version for at least 2 years.

Has there already been a discussion on that subject? What do other universities/schools/companies/institutions think on that issue?

 
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Picture of Stefan van der Vlies
Re: Moodle support period: Long term version?
 

I agree with the plea from Samuel Witzig. It would be great if there could be a response from the Moodle development team.

 
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My ugly mug
Re: Moodle support period: Long term version?
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi, Samuel.

Thanks for your question. Having worked at an institution similar to yours I understand the constraints you are working under.

We have been discussing the possibility of an LTS (Long-Term Support) version. Moodle Partners are also keen to have a version they can count on for a longer period of time.

We haven't made a final decision about which version will become an LTS version or whether we will follow a pattern of LTS releases within our release calendar. I can say that Moodle 2.5 won't be our first LTS candidate, but Moodle 2.6 might be.

We're still concerned about people using Moodle 1.9. We know that the upgrade from Moodle 1.9 to 2.x has left many people with a fear of upgrading. We are committed to making the upgrade path from 2.0 onwards as smooth as possible.

We are working more on improving the current feature set, rather than adding new features to Moodle. Our goal is to direct more new features to the Plugins directory and make it easier for administrators to interact with that system, allowing us to focus on producing a better core Moodle.

 
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Picture of Samuel Witzig
Re: Moodle support period: Long term version?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Michael

Thank you for your reply. It is good to hear that others also would like a Moodle LTS-release. I have heard that Martin Dougiamas told at #mootde13 that there are plans that Moodle 2.6 will be a long term supported version. Have you/the Moodle HQ/Moodle Partners already decided when there will be a Moodle LTS-version?

 

 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: Moodle support period: Long term version?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

I doubt 2.6 will be an official LTS from us.  There are still many important things like analytics and mobile support which are being developed at this stage.   2.7 could be If development goes well.

Note that there is nothing stopping the community from volunteering to support 2.6 for as long as they like (back porting security issues etc) but there is simply no incentive for us to aid in keeping people there at the moment.   We just want you to have the best functionality, the best usability and the best accessibility.

 
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Picture of Samuel Witzig
Re: Moodle support period: Long term version?
 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Moodle support period: Long term version?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Moodle 1.9 is a LTS (and 1.6 before that)!

From the 2.x series 2.2 is the (first) logical choice. Not because of the arithmetic, but because 2.0 - 2.2 all belong to the same generation, each successor continuously improving what 2.0 wanted to be.

2.3 brought a bigger set of changes, which are getting polished in 2.4. Assuming history repeats itself, 2.5 will be the second LTS in the 2.x series.

P.S. There were two related discussions in this forum:
- "6 month release cycle and update policy" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=173828 (April 2011 to May 2012)
- "future Moodle release schedule and LTS" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=174485 (May 2011)
 
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Picture of Edmund Edgar
Re: Moodle support period: Long term version?
 

Visvanath, the point of an LTS release is that you know in advance that it's going to be supported for a long time, so people who need stability can install that.

What's baffling about the current Moodle situation is that in practice some releases end up getting supported for a really, really long time, meaning somebody is putting in the resources long-term to keep them secure, but admins don't know which releases will be getting that treatment, so they don't get the benefit. 

It's a way to simultaneously not have your cake and not eat it. Hopefully it'll be fixed with an LTS at 2.6.

 
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