MariaDB 5.5 R.I.P.

Requiescat in pace. May MariaDB 5.5 rest in peace!

As the maintenance policy of the MariaDB Foundation states, we are committed to maintaining each release for 5 years. MariaDB 5.5 was announced for General Availability on 11 April 2012, so EOL was originally on 11 April 2017. At that point, we extended it by three years, due to its widespread usage in distributions.

Today, we have 11 April 2020, so this is no accidental, sudden death. Everyone could see it coming.

One Final Release MariaDB 5.5.68

However, we have decided to build one final release MariaDB 5.5.68, with remaining security updates. While MySQL 5.5 had its last build in 2018, we have continued to apply security patches on a quarterly basis. The last ones, including the upcoming Oracle Critical Patch Update to be released a few days from now, will be part of the final release. Then, no more 5.5 releases, which will free up resources for newer releases.

What does EOL mean?

Moreover, we still get the question about what EOL means. Some advocate the simple, pragmatic statement that dead is dead. MariaDB Foundation would hence treat MariaDB 5.5 as a corpse, not touch it under any circumstances.

This logic is analogous to what is happening with Python 2 and old PHP releases. There may still be a distribution out there that is distributing Python 2, listening to people who defend their staying with Python 2 with a phrase like “Oh but I rely on this old Python 2 package which doesn’t exist for Python 3 so I am staying Python 2.” For years, the correct reply has been “Don’t do that. Better, secure alternatives exist. Staying with the old packages invites security problems.

This means that any distributor of Python 2 needs to assume full responsibility, not getting any updates from (Python Software Foundation). 

Our decision is similar. The MariaDB Foundation will not issue even security bug fixes for MariaDB 5.5. That’s the expectation we set, ages ago. 

The 5.5 source code remains available

However, we are not on purpose going to complicate life for anyone relying on MariaDB 5.5. The tree will remain where it is, on GitHub (check out Genetic palaeontologists speculate on how to reconstruct a living mammoth from DNA. Applying security fixes on 5.5 is considerably easier than that, given that the complete executable DNA of 5.5 is on lit de parade for all to see and download on GitHub.

MariaDB 5.5 is end-of-lifed. But it is open source code, and you can resurrect it if you will. That said, we don’t encourage you to do so.