What Does GA (General Availability) Mean?

Jun 19, 2008 / By Keith Murphy

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I have a question I wanted to throw out. The term “GA” gets batted around all the time as meaning, the production-ready version of MySQL server. However, googling for quite a bit, I can’t find a definition for GA (other than what I stated above, i.e. production-ready). What does this mean in terms of bugs? Features? Anything else I might be missing?

I believe it means that there are no known “critical” (whatever that means) bugs and there will definitely be no more features added. Can anyone point me to a good definition?

5 Responses to “What Does GA (General Availability) Mean?”

  • Sheeri Cabral says:

    Keith — great question!

    The definition is actually at http://www.mysql.com/about/legal/supportpolicies/policies-09.html

    It states:

    Release Candidate (aka Gamma) release
    Release Candidate binaries, also known as Gamma releases, are believed stable, having passed all of MySQL’s internal testing, and with all known fatal runtime bugs fixed. However this release has not been in widespread use long enough to know for sure that all bugs have been identified.

    Generally Available (aka Production) release
    Generally Available (GA), also know as Production releases, are stable, having successfully passed through all earlier release stages and believed to be reliable, free of serious bugs, and suitable for use in production systems

    I basically felt like MySQL 5.1′s RC status was odd, because I feel it is ready for production usage. And indeed, basically GA is “RC and enough people have used it”.

    So there’s kind of a catch-22 — people won’t use the release until it’s GA, but the release won’t be GA until people use it.

    There are still 11 bugs labeled “Critical” and “Serious” in 5.1

    So I guess it’s not really ready….but I’d say that if those 11 bugs do not apply to an environment (or if you can live with them) then that environment is ready for MySQL 5.1.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Justin Swanhart says:

    GA is kind of a funny term for open source stuff. Many product distribution models release ‘preview’, ‘beta’ or ‘early adopter’ releases only to a select number of customers, not making the product available to the general sales channel. Once the product is ready to go out the door for use by many customers, it becomes “generally available” to the whole sales channel.

  • Arjen Lentz says:

    In a nutshell, it means nothing, to you and me at least. But here’s the story of WHY there’s such a thing.

    The “no known bugs” or “no critical bugs” have been tweaked and messed so many times by MySQL that it’s just good for a laugh. Think back to 5.0, which has had some serious messes going on after going GA. And we know the server is always generally available anyway, so….

    The term used to be “production”. However, some corporations have an internal policy (based on and geared towards non-OSS sw of course) that states that they are only allowed to deploy software if it’s labeled GA. And thus, MySQL started labelling their production version GA, allowing these organisations to be happy without having to change their policy. That’s all there’s to it.

  • GOVIND GOPAL says:

    THANKS Sheeri Cabral FOR INFO.

    GOVIND GOPAL

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