New Tor version support policy | abandoning LTS / Debian releases

As suggested in this post [tor-relays] [Event] Relay Operators Meetup - May 21, 2022 @ 1900 UTC - #5 by gus and on the mailing-list [tor-announce] Network Team - New Support and Release Policy there should be a new area regarding releases:

New Tor version support policy:
[tor-announce] Network Team - New Support and Release Policy

  • Historically, we were tied closely to the Debian release cycle,
    including having a “long term stable” that we support for years so
    it can be in Debian.
  • We would much prefer relays to use the debs,
    which will keep people on the latest Tor stable.
  • The new proposal is to drop the long term stable idea, and
    ultimately we only allow relays onto the network if they’re running
    the latest versions.
  • Feedback: Getting recent Tor versions into OpenBSD (*/6 mos),
    NetBSD/pkgsrc (quarterly) stable is going to be a challenge. People
    need to reach out to their package repositories and begin that
  • The plan is that clients can stay on a Debian stable, and we will
    try to keep supporting them. So it is only relays that need to do
    this faster cycle.
  • We also need to make sure to avoid having many old zombie clients
    trying to reach the network.

Personally I understand the view of a constant arms race, but I also strongly support the DontBreakDebian-approach. I guess a lot of people using Debian especially like the stability and long term support. Maybe this is old-fashioned and nowadays it’s more fancy to use Docker, Ansible, bleeding-edge, trail-and-error and so on…

My assumption is many relay/bridge-operators are not very keen of reconfiguring their systems regularly - for example, how successful was the request to upgrade-bridges via backports?

Third-party repos and backports are not desirable for everyone for multiple reasons and in the past this was not necessary at all:

  1. tor-relays and bridges could be sole installed from Debian main
  2. tor-bridges should be installed from backports needing some tweeking
  3. tor-exits should be installed from
  4. everything except clients have to be installed from

I do not have statistics or surveys to support my assumption and it’s only based on historically fed (probably biased) gut feeling.