What’s the difference between a Notes/Domino Maintenance Release, a Fix Pack and a Cumulative Client Hotfix?

A useful and much-needed clarification of the different fix types available for the Lotus Notes & Domino 8.0.x and 8.5.x codestreams:

This document provides an explanation of the differences between Lotus Notes and Domino Maintenance Releases, Fix Packs, and Cumulative Client Hotfixes. It is important to note that client Fix Packs are NEW in 8.0.2 and will help address the most pressing customer issues in a well tested public deliverable.

What is a Maintenance Release?

Maintenance Releases (MR) are scheduled updates containing a large number of Server and Client fixes. They contain 500 to as many as 2,000 fixes. Maintenance Releases are shipped more frequently (1-2 times a year) shortly after a feature release ships, and less frequently as a release matures. Maintenance Releases undergo extensive testing which includes: bug fix verification, regression testing, interoperability testing with products that work with Notes/Domino, and are deployed in a production environment.

What is a Fix Pack?

Fix Packs (FP) are released periodically between Maintenance Releases to provide a greater level of stability for customer environments. They contain a small number of safe fixes that help to address the issues the broader customer base is or is likely to experience. The SPRs selected to be fixed focus on bad regressions, crashes, hangs, security issues, data loss issues, and critical functional bugs. To ensure quality, the triage criteria for inclusion in a fix pack targets safe fixes that have been deployed in a production environment, doesn’t impact translation, and doesn’t contain new features.  By delivering a limited number of fixes in a smaller package, customers can deploy with less testing and less risk then a bigger Maintenance Release.  Customers can also spend the time needed to validate a Maintenance Release before deploying, while utilizing Fix Packs in the interim to address the bulk of the more pervasive issues. Fix Packs undergo testing which includes: bug fix verification, targeted regression testing, interoperability testing with products that work with Notes/Domino, and are deployed in a production environment.

What is a Cumulative Client Hotfix?

A Cumulative Client Hotfix (CCH) is a bundle of Client Hotfixes. The client fixes included in a CCH are hotfixes that multiple customers need urgently for deployment but cannot wait for the next Fix Pack or Maintenance Release. The fixes in a previous/obsolete CCH for a particular Notes Client release are rolled into the current CCH for that same Notes Client release. For example, CCH3 would contain fixes from CCH1 and CCH2. We do more pointed testing on a CCH vs a typical hotfix to ensure it is a higher quality deliverable. Extensive regression testing is not performed on a CCH but the fixes are merged into the next Maintenance Release or Fix Pack where we do perform that level of testing. Starting with 8.0.2 CCH1, CCH releases are now available on Fix Central.

What is a Interim Feature Release?

A Interim Feature Release (IFR) is an optional update for a specific new feature. Notes 8.0.2 Interim Feature Release 1 is the first update delivering additional Sametime Entry features for Lotus Notes 8.0.2 Refer to www.ibm.com/support, Technote No. #1327080, for frequently asked questions and known issues

As Volker might say “it’s complicated” 😉

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!