New Development Process

LyX is an advanced open-source document processor running on many Unix platforms, OS/2 and on Windows NT with the Cygwin environment. It is called a "document processor" because, unlike standard word processors, LyX encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents not their appearance. LyX lets you concentrate on writing, leaving the details of visual layout to the software. LyX automates formatting according to predefined rule sets, yielding consistency throughout even the most complex documents. LyX produces high quality, professional output by using LaTeX, an open-source, industrial strength typesetting engine, in the background.

In September of 1999 the LyX Team decided that we could no longer successfully use the two strand development process like the Linux kernel. We are in the process of switching to a development model similar to that used by Fetchmail where we will only make small stable changes between releases and release more often. All future releases should be stable although we are currently in a transition period where some major changes have to be introduced and are likely to affect the stability in the short term.

These changes include:

Once the transition is over the 1.1 series should be very stable and we will then release 1.2.0. This new series will be in a state of continual advancement. Note the word "advancement" and not "development." Development will be occurring in branches of CVS and once the feature/modification has proved stable it will be merged into the main releases.

A new numbering scheme for releases will be used. At present we are using a Linux kernel style odd/even development/stable numbering scheme. This will be replaced by a continuous numbering scheme where odd or even numbering is no longer significant. Prereleases will be labelled with a "pre" suffix and any fixes required between stable releases will have a "fix" suffix. Thus there are three possible file names:

   lyx-1.1.4.tar.gz       -- stable release
   patch-1.1.4fix1.gz     -- bug fix of the 1.1.4 stable release.
   lyx-1.1.5pre1.tar.gz   -- potentially unstable test release

The fix releases are only provided as a patch. They contain no new functionality; only fixes that have already made their way into the cvs repository.

The old development strand has been put on ice and we will be backporting and improving on the changes we experimented with in that series. Thus, the developers gain a stable platform to build upon and users will get those wonderful new features sooner. In particular, the move to GUI and system independence will be a priority. Development will continue to use a CVS repository with each area of change having its own development branch. This will allow the developers to test their changes and get them stable before they are merged into the main code. Thereby, ensuring that each release should be very stable.

If you are interested in a particular area of development then you will be able to checkout the appropriate development branch using CVS. If you're unable to use CVS then contact one of the developers of that branch and ask them to make a snapshot available. A list of current major branches and the developer responsible for that branch will be maintained on the LyX website. Major branches are likely to include GUI independence, Asian-language support, pdf and SGML editting.

Our fourth release of the new series is lyx-1.1.4 and contains many of the significant changes listed above. This is the fourth transitional release and contains many bug fixes. It is almost as stable as the 1.0.4 release although with all the changes some new bugs have crept in. A 1.1.4fix1 has just been released. Please consider trying it out on your existing documents (if you've never used LyX before give this version a try) and contact the LyX developers' list if you find any bugs.

Learn more about LyX, including screen shots, the LyX Graphic Tour and a list of ftp mirror sites and mailing lists at:

On behalf of the LyX Team,
Allan. (ARRae)