symfony 1.4 end of maintenance: What does it mean?

As you might know, symfony 1.4 "end of maintenance" date is coming up in November 2012. Recently, Tom Boutell asked for some clarification about this fateful date on the symfony dev mailing-list. As he is probably not the only one to look for some answers to his questions, this post summarizes my answer and, hopefully, it will serve as a reference for any future questions on the same topic.

First, be reassured that the whole symfony 1 "infrastructure" won't be shut down at the end of November: the symfony-project.org website will stay online; the SVN server and the plugin repository will stay online; the documentation will stay online. Trac will probably be put in read-only mode (the wiki) or shut down (the ticketing system).

But what about the code? What about people willing to support symfony 1.4 in the future? What about all the websites that use symfony 1.4? What can you say to your customers?

The symfony 1.4 code is very stable. I'm still actively monitoring the new tickets, but there isn't that many bugs that can be fixed as part of the maintenance. Many problems are just not fixable without introducing some kind of backward compatibility breaks. And as a matter of fact, I had to revert some changes in the last few months because so many people are relying on the current behavior, even if it is not necessarily the good or the expected one. Still, we are publishing new releases from time to time, but all fixes are very minor ones, and we have less and less of them.

The only valid concerns are about forward compatibility with future versions of PHP and the possible security issues. For those problems, and if the community is willing to help, I will happily accept patches and package new releases on a case by case basis.

Comments

Thanks for clarifying things, Fabien! It's good to have firm ground to stand on while launching rockets to the next level.
At first, thank you for the update! But unfortunately for our company and myself as a business user, it is not satisfying. As we accept a project for a customer, they ofcourse raise questions about the stability of the product we create. Symfony,as a framework, is a huge part of that.

For what our customers read (especially when they do some research themselfs), there are only Symfony2 releases with a short support window. I read that Symfony2.3 will be the first LTS release and symfony 1.4 support is about to end. That is very difficult for us to sell, our customers feel that their product will use an old or in-between framework!

In my opinion, an old release should be supported for at least one year after a new LTS release is out.
Especially now you're stating that symfony 1.4 is a very stable release that doesn't require much maintenance, I would suggest to extend the support at least until Symfony2.3 is out. Seen your blog that would mostly be an administrative change, but would significantly increase the comfort we can give our customers.

I hope you will consider this.
And let me not forget: thank you for the great work you and your team are doing with Symfony!
What's to say that Sensio needs to do all the supporting? There is a big community around symfony 1, I'm confident that they will jump in if necessary.
Thanks for the heads-up, Fabien! It's been very nice with s1, but S2 is the future.
I think if some new project must be done, they're must be done with symfony2. And for existing project in symfony 1.4 they can be maintained some time until they're upgraded to symfony2
I only see one huge problem with support for PHP 5.3 and PHP 5.4 There are so many servers with only PHP 5.2 support that I cannot even believe. I strongly hope that admins, customers and developers will move to latest tech pronto. Symfony2 is simply the best PHP framework currently available with the best community. Kind regards.
Thanks for that! Great news.

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