We don't often write about our build and test infrastructure, but one of our more observant users noticed a change in our Linux package descriptions recently, and this is a subject of broader interest for those concerned with our support policies and practices.

We built ASN1C version 6.7.3 for Linux on an Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS system. We have transitioned to using CentOS 6.5 in version 6.7.4 and higher, being motivated by two maintenance concerns: first, the hardware for our 32-bit Linux system was slow and aging; second, newer versions of Ubuntu include patches to the C runtime library that break ABI compatibility with existing installations of ASN1C.

Maintaining support for older systems is critical for us, since we routinely build new versions for old systems and old versions for new systems. As our hardware and software needs evolve, finding a more stable build infrastructure became increasingly important.

Linux containers provide light-weight virtualization of target operating systems and compilers. This has allowed us to provide stable packages to our existing user base while simultaneously testing packages against newer Linux distributions without the overhead of full-fledged virtualization solutions. We test ARM systems and older kernels (2.4-era) through the use of containers, too. On the balance, we've found that this decreases the amount of time it takes to build packages and increases flexibility on our host systems.

So if you've noticed a few changes in the package contents and descriptions, it is because some of our infrastructure has changed. We don't expect you'll find any incompatibilities, but if you have any problems, don't hesitate to contact us; we'll be glad to work with you to resolve any issues.