Testing and support on older point releases

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martin.phillips.100
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Testing and support on older point releases

Post by martin.phillips.100 » 2020/07/21 15:11:52

Hi all,
We produce a product that ships packages for Centos (and RHEL). We have a number of dependencies, including PHP and ImageMagic.

The package installation testing we performed before releasing was on Centos 7.8, and all was fine. We now find some of our customers still use 7.6 and 7.7, and the packages we have fail to install there because of missing dependencies. We had not been aware that the different point releases have such variation in what is available from the public repositories.

We are looking into what we can do to support our customers, but creating/testing our package for multiple point versions of Centos is looking to be a complex and sizeable amount of work - do other people do this?

Are there official guidelines for users of Centos for this sort of issue? We have some very large customers that we don't want to annoy, but at the same time, from what we can see, the general answer seems to be 'upgrade to 7.latest, that's all that's supported'.

How have any other people handled large enterprise customers who are reluctant to upgrade to the latest point release of centos?

Does anyone have recommendations for easy ways of testing package installation against different point releases of Centos? (the packages we produce are just 'Centos7', and not point release specific at the moment, but we may have to create different packages for each point release - does anyone else do that? is it a sane thing to be doing?)

Any thoughts and suggestions are very welcome!

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TrevorH
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Re: Testing and support on older point releases

Post by TrevorH » 2020/07/21 15:53:53

Your customers sadly misunderstand how CentOS works. Only the current point release is supported in any way at all. As soon as a new point release comes out, all support for previous point releases is dropped. By staying on out of date point releases like 7.7 and 7.6 they are no longer receiving updates for any security vulnerabilties that are discovered and patched in 7.8. They have far bigger problems than being unable to install your packages.

If they want to stick on old versions then that is what an EUS RHEL subscription is for. It allows you to stay on one point release for years at a time and still receive security updates. But it's a pay-for service and the packages that RHEL gets are not released to the public and the source is not either so CentOS could not rebuild those even if sufficient person-power was available (which it isn't!).

Your current problem is most likely because ImageMagick was rebased in 7.8 to a newer version. It's changed various things including an soname change. Anything linked against the older version will need to be rebuilt.
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martin.phillips.100
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Re: Testing and support on older point releases

Post by martin.phillips.100 » 2020/07/21 16:28:18

Thank you very much for the prompt reply!

We also have customers on RHEL, and it's really useful to know that the point releases in RHEL are longer term supported - we need to get better at testing those. It's also incredibly useful to know 'straight from the horses mouth' that we shouldn't be bending over backwards to support old point releases of CentOS.

Thank you again!

Martin.

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TrevorH
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Re: Testing and support on older point releases

Post by TrevorH » 2020/07/21 16:41:42

It should be noted that you have to pay Red Hat extra to get the EUS subscription that allows you to stay on an older point release. I've never done so but I've seen various people post that it a) costs a lot or b) doesn't cost as much as you think it will. No idea which of those is true though I suppose both could be!

And as for "Horse's mouth", I have no official position with the CentOS Project and cannot speak for it.

It should also be possible to downgrade or exclude the ImageMagick update though this will have knock-on effects on other things. Running repoquery --whatrequires ImageMagick gives me a list of 47 things that depend on the package by name though there may be other things affected that depend on it by e.g. filename or some other Provides: in the package.
CentOS 6 will die in November 2020 - migrate sooner rather than later!
Info for USB installs on http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/InstallFromUSBkey
CentOS 5 is dead, do not use it.
Full time Geek, part time moderator. Use the FAQ Luke

martin.phillips.100
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Re: Testing and support on older point releases

Post by martin.phillips.100 » 2020/07/21 19:52:12

Any thoughts on where we would find the 'official' statement about point release support for Centos? Is there an appropriate FAQ or support document you know of that makes this clear?

We may well have our customers turn round to us and say they still need us to support the older point releases (it's happened before with a big enterprise customer who refused to move off of Centos 6.4 for a loooooong time), but at least then we technical people can explain to management how difficult it will be!

pjsr2
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Re: Testing and support on older point releases

Post by pjsr2 » 2020/07/22 12:19:07

You could point these customers to the FAQ: https://wiki.centos.org/FAQ/General#How ... ng_work.3F.

martin.phillips.100
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Re: Testing and support on older point releases

Post by martin.phillips.100 » 2020/07/22 14:07:14

Perfect! Thank you very much!

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