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Node.js 4.2 "Argon" Released Under Long Term Support Plan

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The Node.js Foundation have released Argon, the first Node.js release covered under the working group's Long Term Support plan.

Argon, also known as Node.js version 4.2, comes with improvements and significant updates. Node.js is now updated with icu (International Components for Unicode) 56, which includes Unicode data 8.0, a reduced ICU data size, and changes to Stringsearch.

Additionally, 4.2 brings with it an upgraded npm 2.14.7, including a new user guide for npm orgs. Among other changes, npm 2.14.7 also means for developers that it no longer defaults to application/json for json requests.

Node's Argon release comes with a number of small issues, including where calling dns.setServers() while a DNS query is in progress can cause the process to crash on a failed assertion. Also reported is a bug with unreferenced timers running during beforeExit.

Commenting on the unreferenced timers issue, core team member Trevor Norris said that together with Jeremy Whitlock, Jeremiah Senkpiel and Fedor Indutny he had looked into it at length, describing it as "a bit of a rabbit hole," but that it had been determined that the behavior of beforeExit needed to be better defined.

On Reddit, in the discussion Node.js v4.2.0 will be first LTS release there was some confusion over what the significance of the Long Term Support release meant.

User runvc commented:

What difference does 'LTS' actually make for Node? As far as I can tell I just upgrade to the latest stable when I have time to upgrade or start a new project. Is this mostly for people that don't really know how Node works? Or are they planning to do something that makes old Node versions suddenly stop working?

In the blog post Essential Steps: Long Term Support for Node.js, the chair of the Node.js Foundation Technical Steering Committee, Rod Vagg, says:

The point of establishing an LTS plan for Node is to build on top of an existing stable release cycle by delivering new new versions on a predictable schedule that have a clearly defined extended support lifecycle. While this may seem at odds with the open source tradition of “release early, release often” it is an essential requirement for enterprise application development and operations teams.

Named after the noble gas, the first LTS release marks the beginning of a naming convention based on the Periodic Table of Elements that will be applied to distinguish LTS releases from regular Node.js releases. The gas' lack of chemical reactions have no bearing on the release's name, instead it having been chosen to be first in alphabetical order by the element's starting letter.

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