Cryptography and SSL/TLS Toolkit

Stable Release Updates Policy

This policy covers allowed changes on release branches.


A stable release is a series beginning with a major or minor release that is not a pre-release, and all its updates.

A patch release is an update within a stable release.

A public interface is any function, structure or macro declared in a public header file.

A bug fix is a fix of functionality of the libraries, modules, applications, or the build system that (all or any items might apply):

  • makes the functionality conform with the existing end-user documentation where such a change does not break existing common usage
  • makes the end-user documentation conform with the existing behavior of the software

A bug fix is also a fix for an unexpected behavior (not explicitly documented in one way or another) of the software when such unexpected behavior is a security vulnerability.

A bug fix is also a fix for an unexpected behavior of the following kinds even if such behavior is not a security vulnerability:

  • a memory leak
  • a crash
  • a hang/deadlock or a race condition
  • an out of bounds read or write
  • an uninitialized value read
  • a memory use after free
  • C language undefined behavior

A bug fix is also a build failure or test failure fix for platforms that are noted as supported for the stated release.

A bug fix might also be a fix for an unexpected behavior (not explicitly documented in one way or another) where the implementation does not conform to existing public specifications that we claim to conform to. Where the documentation explicitly contradicts the specifications the documented behavior is what matters.

A bug fix is not:

  • performance enhancement
  • memory usage reduction
  • replacement implementation of algorithms
  • refactoring
  • addressing deviations from the coding style policy.

An end-user documentation is:

  • manual pages and other documentation in doc directory excluding the doc/internal directory
  • various documentation files in the top-level directory
  • demo code in demos

An end-user documentation is not:

  • comments in the code (including public header files)
  • internal documentation (doc/internal)

Changes allowed in stable releases and pre-releases after the first beta

No API or ABI breaking changes are allowed in a minor or patch release.

Only bug fixes, fixes for security issues, and end-user documentation additions and fixes are allowed in stable releases.

The addition of new platforms to LTS branches is acceptable so long as the required changes consist solely of additions to configuration.

A documentation addition allowed in stable releases is any addition to the documentation that documents the existing behavior of the software. I.e., the documentation additions in stable releases cannot add new API contract constraints, or implicitly create new bugs in the software by documenting behavior that is different from the existing behavior of the software.

Comment or whitespace fixes are allowed only as part of a bug fix to avoid later merge conflicts.

New tests and test cases are allowed only as part of a bug fix.

Patch release commits are obviously allowed (updates to,, version, and copyright updates).

Exceptions to this policy require OTC approval.

The policy for changes allowed in stable releases applies also to pre-release branches after the first beta release.