Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a technical name for a software project where the current and prior stable releases are both maintained?

share|improve this question

The naming convention of such is usually determined by the source control system that you're using. SVN, for example, uses the terms branches and tags to refer to its codebases, with the latter referring to previously closed versions. My company refers to a branch of code for a previously released version as maintenance branch, although that may be individual of us.

share|improve this answer

The general terminology for releases (see Release Management Done Right) are:

  • Active - describes a release that's currently in development (unreleased)
  • Latest - the "highest" release available
  • Previous - anything other than the Latest Release

So, 4.0 is the latest, while 3.0 and 3.1 are previous. Most software has a linear release pattern (this is significantly easier to maintain obviously): 3.0 first, then 3.1, then 4.0.

The non-linear pattern you describe (3.0 first, then 4.0, then 3.1) is called Previous Release Support. In this case, 4.0 remains the Latest release, even though 3.1 shipped after as a fix for 3.0 users.

Microsoft follows this pattern (Windows XP, a previous release is continually supported), whereas Apple (I believe), does not - you always have to upgrade to latest.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.