Important news: MariaDB 10.11, which just was declared RC, is a long-term maintenance version. The industry standard term to refer to that concept is LTS (as in long-term support), and we too use this term for the releases that get a significantly longer lifetime of bug fixes.
We are announcing MariaDB 10.11 as LTS for a number of reasons:
Firstly, the purpose of an LTS is to reassure users – and, in particular, Linux distros – that a certain version will receive regular updates long-term, for the lifetime of their product. That means a much longer lifetime than the one-year time period of, say, MariaDB 10.10. As you can see from the maintenance policy on https://mariadb.org/about/#maintenance-policy, MariaDB 10.6 is the latest previously announced LTS, and it is supported from 2021-07-06 to 2026-07-06. Today’s LTS announcement means that we’ve updated the maintenance policy accordingly for MariaDB 10.11, and will enter the exact dates upon GA.
Second, we want to do our best to match the release schedule of key Linux distros. Working with Otto Kekäläinen of Debian, we have timed this release to fulfil the criteria of Debian 12, which will likely also get us into Ubuntu 23.04. That said, we are not tying ourselves to one distro, and our attempt for every LTS is to do the best for the largest possible number of distributions.
Third, we want to simplify life for our user base, by providing stability to MariaDB users. Stability means two things: having stable releases in the sense that they are reliable, and not introducing breaking changes in the sense that we don’t introduce new features (and hence new bugs) in bug fix releases. This is the opposite of the MySQL 8.0 evergreen model, in which new major features and incompatibilities are introduced into the stable release, while still calling it stable.
Fourth, there is a large batch of new functionality released in MariaDB 10.7, MariaDB 10.8, MariaDB 10.9, MariaDB 10.10 and MariaDB 10.11. While you can certainly use any of those releases, some users stay on LTS releases only.
You can expect further blogs on the new features introduced in MariaDB 10.11 as compared to MariaDB 10.6, but let me just mention one example: Unicode Collation Algorithm 14.0.0, affectionately known as UCA-14.0.0 and introduced in MariaDB 10.10 based on unicode.org specifications released in 2021-09. This should take care of sensible sort orders of UTF charsets in most languages, as described on our Jira in MDEV-27009. We are still polishing our documentation in the Knowledge Base, in Character Set and Collation Overview and in Supported Character Sets and Collations.
Fifth, we timed our LTS release to meet with user expectations that we set when we announced our new release model almost a year ago, jointly with MariaDB Corporation. “In collaboration with Linux distributions, some release series will be selected for longer maintenance windows, expected to happen at least every other year”, we said. Looking at the current feature set, the upcoming new features, and the time gap from 10.6, and carefully considering options, we picked 10.11.
As a side note, during the MariaDB Server Fest on Thursday 17 Nov 2022, there was an interesting case study by Wikimedia Foundation, related to upgrading between LTS releases.
Download MariaDB 10.11 from here.