HHVM 3.3 - first release with long-term support (LTS)

Original author: Ender is a Security Engineer at Facebook
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imageHHVM is known for its fast development speed: currently on Github the same code is used as it is for Facebook, and versions are released every 8 weeks. This is impressive, although repulsive, if you think about it in the context of building a business or infrastructure.

The HHVM team understands that in order to achieve greater reach, users must receive a kind of commitment in order to be sure of the stability and security of already released versions.


Starting with version 3.3, the HHVM team will constantly support 2 releases (releases with long-term support, Long-Term Support) with a difference of about 6 months (24 weeks, to be precise), which in fact will give an effective support cycle of almost a year long. As an example, HHVM 3.3, which is scheduled for release on September 11, 2014, will be supported until version 3.9 (8 * 6 = 48 weeks, about 11 months). Accordingly, 3.6 (should be released 24 weeks after 3.3) will be supported during the next 6 releases. Confused? Take a look at the table:

Version NameEstimated Release DateLTS?End of support
3.3September 11, 2014YesAugust 13, 2015
3.4 *November 6, 2014not
3.5 *January 1, 2015not
3.6 *February 26, 2015YesJanuary 28, 2016
3.7 *April 23, 2015not
3.8 *June 18, 2015not
3.9 *August 13, 2015YesJuly 14, 2016
3.10 *October 8, 2015not
3.11 *December 3, 2015not
3.12 *January 28, 2016YesDecember 29, 2016
3.13 *March 24, 2016not
3.14 *May 19, 2016not
3.15 *July 14, 2016YesJune 15, 2017
* release names not yet defined

Official distributions

In addition to the above, the team makes great efforts to promote official packages to the main Debian archive, from where they should go to the Debian-stable, Ubuntu repositories, as well as other Debian-based OSs. There is an intention to support the support of versions that will be included in the LTS releases of these distributions, throughout its entire length, by releasing security fixes.

Also, although the team’s resources are limited and packages for distributions such as Fedora are unlikely to get into the official repository, they will be supported.

Types of updates for LTS releases

What types of updates can be expected? An important issue for the community and a big burden for the team. It all depends on the severity of the problems.
Security issue? In any case, yes.
Support for new functionality, without breaking backward compatibility? Yes, if that does not imply major architectural changes.
Framework compatibility patches? Probably yes.

But it is worth noting that LTS releases are unlikely to receive major functional updates. Security patches will have the highest priority, everything else will need to be considered, balancing between the amount of patching, testing and the benefits of these changes.

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