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Microsoft's Plans for .NET Core Support

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Microsoft has announced the support plan for .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, and Entity Framework Core.   According to Microsoft's Lee Coward, the company plans on utilizing a two-pronged approach to releases for these systems.  The plans answer one of the main questions behind their open source initiative- how long developers can count on Microsoft to provide support and security patches to these young projects. 

The releases carrying the Long Term Support (LTS) designation will be supported for a base period of three years after their release, with an additional year of support available coinciding with a future release.  LTS releases can be considered stable with patches applied for security concerns and/or serious bugs.

Complementing LTS is the release of Fast Track Support (FTS) packages.  FTS releases will include bug fixes but will focus primarily on providing new features.  FTS releases will occur during the lifecyle of their associated parent LTS release.  Their typical supported duration will be three months, at which point a new FTS release will be made.  The last FTS release during the LTS parent's life cycle will be supported for one year.  Developers can use FTS releases to experiment with the latest features while counting on LTS packages to remain stable for critical systems.

The versioning system for these releases will be aligned, and follow the pattern of major.minor.patch.  LTS releases will increment the major version (example 4.0.0).  FTS releases will increment the minor version number and have the same major version of the parent for which they are associated (example 4.1.0).  The patch version will be used as needed for both (examples of 4.0.1 or 4.1.1).

Microsoft’s Rich Lander has provided full documentation for the versioning system as well as additional examples for those seeking to fully understand the process.


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