Updating the platform support matrix for the future

bsoremsugar —  July 14, 2011 — 14 Comments

One of the most challenging parts of development and support of SugarCRM is the fact that we are support matrix is quite a wide net ( this is something I’ve talked about at conferences a few times now ). As a product, it’s something that sets us apart in the marketplace, making us an attractive application and platform for thousands of organizations all around the world looking to take control of their CRM and business processes, so we don’t want to take that freedom away. However as time moves on so does software, and we want to make sure we can continue to deliver the most modern, stable, customizable, and flexible solution possible. With that said, in order to keep our support matrix sane we do need to look at the support of older upstream components and see if it makes practical sense to continue support of them. Here’s a some of the ones that have reached or are quickly approaching “legacy” status, and in turn we are looking to discontinue support for:

  • PHP 5.2 since it has been officially discontinued by PHP.net
  • Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP as server platforms which are 8 and 10 years old right now respectively and currently outside of Mainstream Support from Microsoft for well over a year now. There is also not a native URL Rewrite module for IIS 5.1 ( part of Windows XP ) or IIS 6 ( part of Windows Server 2003 ) which creates potential security problems for any systems hosted on this platform.
  • MySQL 5.0 since it has been in Extended Support since late 2009 and be fully retired in 2012.
  • Internet Explorer 7 since it has been superceded by Internet Explorer 8 on all supported platforms.
  • Safari 4 since it has been superceded by Safari 5 on all current Apple OSes ( OS X 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 )
  • FreeTDS and php_mssql extensions for connecting to SQL Server, both with are not compatible with PHP 5.3
  • php_mysql extension, since it has been long been supplanted by the current php_mysqli extension and has several known security holes.
  • Office 2003 since mainstream support ended 14 Apr 2009
  • Lotus Notes 7.0 since support ended 30 Apr 2011

By doing this it will help us to concentrate support on the most popular upstream component versions out there currently, be able to support newer versions of these components sooner, and develop features for the product which can take advantage of the advanced capabilities not present in these older versions to ensure greater performance and stability of the product. What does everyone think about this? Are we moving too fast with these discontinuations, or does it seem right on to what we need to do? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter your thoughts.

14 responses to Updating the platform support matrix for the future

  1. 

    Dropping IE7 support is a terrible idea. Many large businesses have no choice but to use it for legacy application reasons. 

    Losing XP support for server is fine, a good decision, but IE7 is still very much standard.

  2. 

    Don’t you know how is terrible a supporting of IE7. I hope that those companies with restrictive legacy would switch to more modern browser faster.

  3. 

    @38e7225d7ac74fe731cc11f6fd18939d:disqus I thought IE6 was the big problem for support rather than IE7. Isn’t IE7 to IE8 a less daunting upgrade than IE6 to IE7.

  4. 

    John,
    while the choose of IE7/8 or Office 2K3/2K7/2K10 is demanded to the end User (and maybe You can “force” them to change, even if they – I guess – won’t be so happy to buy a new set of MS licenses – for Office, of course), discontinuing PHP/MySQL could be a problem…. Especially where people use RedHat/CentOS : even the 6.0 comes with PHP 5.2 !
    With MySQL on RedHat/CentOS,we are at 5.1.xx, so – actually – no problem.

    I know You’re thinking that it’s possible to upgrade PHP on redHat/CentOS (and I agree with You), but (and this is my personal experience) Customers don’t want to do it ! Because they are scared of system breakdowns….

    My 2c
    FabioG

    • 

      Red Hat/CentOS 6 ships with 5.3 IIRC, and Red Hat/CentOS 5 has official PHP 5.3 packages included ( the default PHP version is 5.1, which wouldn’t work with Sugar right now anyways ). So PHP 5.3 is a supported configuration on both platforms.

      As for both MySQL 5.0 and PHP 5.2, they are no longer supported by their respective upstream providers, meaning no more bug fixes, security patches, etc. and both providers are currently pushing their users to upgrade ASAP.

      • 

        Aaaargh !
        You are right, I checked the wrong installation! (too many VM on my notebook…)
        PHP 5.3.2 is on CentOS, I guess the same is for RedHat.
        Ciao – FabioG

  5. 

    What is the preferred method to connect PHP 5.3 from Linux to MS-SQL?

    • 

      I tried it but gave up. There were some problems with encoding but seems it was possible to sort out. MS-SQL was on win separate server of course.  

      • 

        We have it working… just that MssqlManager.php has a tendency to generate bad SQL from time to time which causes problems.

        Also the datatypes available are incomplete

  6. 

    @20a1bfd2aa71fb4b0d800c0d3cbdf75b:disqus I don’t think we have ever supported connecting to SQL Server from Linux.

  7. 

    Have you thought about the impact on XP 64 bit users

    • 

      Are there any? I don’t think this is that popular of a server platform, and from the desktop you still can use the latest FF, Chrome, IE 8, etc successfully

  8. 
    Richard Cantin July 28, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I understand you not wanting to continue to support legacy architectures, but I hope you do not force us to upgrade to a newer version of the components.

    In my case, I run SugarCRM CE on a CentOS 5.5 server and they only officially go as high as PHP v5.1.6 but I have successfully got it to accept PHP 5.2.10.

    Why am I on Cent)S 5.5?  I have an Asterisk-based VOIP server (PBXinAflash) running as the base install of the server and that is what I added SugarCRM to.  Small (tiny) business (<5 people) so both VOIP and SugarCRM can comfortable coexist on one server.

    I cannot go to newer versions of the OS or PHO until the VOIP box supports the upgrade, so as long as I can stay on Sugar 6.2 (functions fine now) with that set-up, I can live with that. 

    Please be REAL clear when bringing out future versions that need newer components that you highlight that in the installer file (pop-up-window?) to avoid me doing something stupid that I would really regret!  :-)

    Ramblin

    • 

      CentOS 5 does have PHP 5.3 packages available in the official repos. These were added in CentOS 5.6 ( see http://wiki.centos.org/Manuals/ReleaseNotes/CentOS5.6#head-b896a8d3b5303f6b000c7f75a2d97d8966f14204 ).

      I agree about making it clear via the installer and other channels about platform changes. We aren’t looking to make changes until next year; just wanting to use this forum to get community feedback on what changes we are thinking about doing.

      Thanks!

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