ANNOUNCEMENT: DSpace 7 moving into maintenance after 7.6

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Apr 20, 2023, 4:11:04 PM4/20/23
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When DSpace 7.0 was released in August 2021, the DSpace Steering Group announced plans to continue to add missing 6.x features to the 7.x platform in each minor release. This was a temporary departure from past DSpace releases, as every 7.x release (7.1 - 7.5) has continued to add new features and functionality to the platform.  While this approach has allowed us to quickly align 7.x with the 6.x platform, we recognize that adding new features in minor releases can complicate upgrades between these releases.


As previously announced, DSpace 7.x will be considered “feature complete” as soon as it achieves sufficient feature parity with 6.x. We can now confirm that this will be achieved in the 7.6 release (due in June)

Therefore, the DSpace Steering Group would like to announce that the 7.x platform will move into “maintenance mode” immediately after the 7.6 release.  


  • No new features will be added to the 7.x platform after 7.6. Instead, all future releases of 7.x will be bug-fix only releases.

  • New features added to 7.6 will concentrate entirely on feature parity with 6.x in order to achieve feature completeness. Therefore, new features will only be accepted into 7.6 if they previously existed in 6.x (or below). All other new features will be rescheduled for 8.0

  • 8.0 planning will begin immediately after 7.6, with plans to release 8.0 approximately one year after 7.6 (tentative for mid-2024)

  • As previously announced, starting with 8.0, DSpace will revert to its previously established Release Numbering Scheme and release schedule. Only major releases (8.x, 9.x, etc.) will receive new features. All minor releases (8.1, 8.2, etc) will only contain bug fixes.


If you or your institution have any questions, please get in touch.  A few common questions and answers are shared below. 


If you or your institution would like to support remaining development, please contact us at DSpaceD...@lyrasis.org.  You can also visit the DSpace wiki for more information about the DSpace Development Fund and see a list of institutions that have already contributed.


Sincerely,


Natalie Baur, on behalf of the DSpace Steering Group



What does “feature complete” mean for 7.x?


With the 7.6 release, Steering has determined that the 7.x platform will have achieved sufficient feature parity with 6.x. Therefore, after 7.6, no additional new features will be added to the 7.x platform. 


This does not guarantee that every 6.x feature will have made it into 7.x, but all the highest priority 6.x features (see prioritized feature list) will be in a 7.x release. Any outstanding features will move to 8.0 or later.


What does 7.x moving into “maintenance” mean for the platform?


After the 7.6 release, 7.x will move into “maintenance”, which means it will only receive bug and security fixes. Keep in mind, this may include minor improvements when necessary to resolve bugs (e.g. fixing accessibility issues, etc).


7.x will continue to have new releases,  but it will revert to the release strategy where additional minor releases only contain bug/security fixes based on our Software Support Policy.  These bug-fix only releases will not have a formal schedule, but will come out when necessary.


Why will 7.6 only include a new feature if it existed in 6.x or below?


While 7.x has included many great features that have never existed in prior DSpace releases, the primary goal of the 7.6 release will be to achieve feature complete status for 7.x.


As every new feature added can result in unforeseen side effects or bugs in existing features, we’ve decided to limit new features to only those which existed in 6.x or below. This minimizes the risk of creating new bugs, and finalizes the set of features available in 7.x.


While institutions or developers can still continue to build brand new features for DSpace, any which do not qualify for 7.6 will be rescheduled for the 8.0 release coming in 2024.


When will 8.0 development begin? What will that release look like?


After 7.6, DSpace Steering will begin planning for the 8.0 release in consultation with the DSpace Leadership Group and the entire DSpace community. The exact release date for 8.0 is to be determined, but expected to be approximately a year after 7.6 (around mid 2024).


8.x will follow the previously established Release Numbering Scheme. This means that 8.0 will contain new features, but any minor releases (8.1, 8.2, 8.3, etc) will only contain bug/security fixes. Similarly, DSpace will revert to its prior release scheduling of one major release per year (8.0 in 2024, 9.0 in 2025, etc), with regular bug fix releases as necessary.


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