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Hi :)
To put it as simply as possible ...  

A new branch starts off full of new stuff and some of that new stuff might cause unexpected 
problems on some machines.  There is no way around it.  It's not possible to test a new program on 
all possible combinations of hardware, OSes, programs and configurations.  During alpha and beta 
testing the new release is tested on as many systems as reasonably possible.  More people could 
help with that by running pre-release versions early on and reporting back any issues.  I try to 
but never seem to have the time and never really try out many different features anyway.  So, the 


gets released and people start using it and reporting back some of the issues they find with it.  
Some of those along with "known issues" and even obscure issues get fixed.  Instead of doing little 
updates every couple of days, like some programs do, these all get wrapped up into the next 
release, the 

rinse and repeat to get the 

and again for the 

At this point most people say the branch is about as stable as possible so it starts being called 
stable branch.  However nothing new has been added for some time and some people have lots of 
exciting new ideas or have been working on something for years and finally got it working, others 
have been getting bored and started looking at other projects to get involved with to do more 
exciting things there.  So, while a lot of the devs stick with bug-fixes there are also a lot that 
move to an even newer branch.  So we have

x.x.4  = now called stable branch although earlier release in the same branch are not any more 
stable than they were before

x.y.0  = newer branch

then both branches develop alongside each other for a while giving us

x.x.5 = stable

x.y.1 = new(ish)

and then 

x.x.6 = very stable

x.y.2 = getting there

for the 1st time ever we ended up getting 

x.x.7 = very stable
x.y.3 = stable

x.z.0 = new branch

all at the same time.  Normally we don't bother with the .7 but the end of the 3.blah.blah was a 
bit momentous.  ( 3 has been around for years and years and moving to the 4 meant some significant 
changes.  I hadn't realised about the desktop-integration being pulled in and probably missed all 
the other changes too.  I was more concerned about java&accessibility issues but i think Stuart 
informed us that the newer java-access-bridge does now work with the newer LO releases.  So people 
don't need to stick with the 3.6.x branch to get their screen-readers working. )

Of course that is a bit simplistic.  The x.y.0 includes all the fixes that go into the x.x.4(ish) 
and maybe more as well.  However because of all the new stuff it might also suffer (or benefit 
from) regressions, some old problem might re-emerge, some new issues might arise.  "You can't make 
an omelette without breaking eggs".  Also the x.z.0 might introduce some "killer feature" that you 
just can't do without.  It's often better to start with a x.z.0 release because if you do find 
flaws and post bug-reports it catches the most devs attention and it's the point where the least 
number of users are posting bug-reports.  You are something like >25% more likely to get your 
pet-peeves dealt with at that time than at any other time or for any other release.  

So, the 3.6.7 is extremely stable.  The 4.0.3 and now the 4.0.4 'should be' plenty stable enough 
that hardly anyone has problems.  I gather the 4.0.3 was a bit of a let down but the 4.0.4 made up 
for that.  We 'should' initially try the 4.1.0 on our own machines but roll out the 4.0.4 (or wait 
for the 4.0.5) for machines that need to be stable.  Of course of the 4.1.0 has no problems in your 
environment then roll that one out.  It should be stable enough for almost every set-up even though 
stability is not it's main aim.  

Regards from 

Tom :)  

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