Patch vs. Hotfix vs. Maintenance Release vs. Service Pack vs


When you are somewhere between version 1 and version 2, what do you do to maintain your software?

The terms Patch, Hotfix, Maintenance Release, Service Pack, and others are all blurry from my point of view, with different definitions depending on who you talk to.

What do you call your incremental maintenance efforts between releases?

Best Solution

When I hear those terms this is what comes to mind:

  • Patch - Publicly released update to fix a known bug/issue
  • Hotfix - update to fix a very specific issue, not always publicly released
  • Maintenance Release - Incremental update between service packs or software versions to fix multiple outstanding issues
  • Service Pack - Large Update that fixes many outstanding issues, normally includes all Patches, Hotfixes, Maintenance releases that predate the service pack

That being said that isn't how we do updates at all. We just increment the version and/or build number (which is based on the date) and just call it an "Update". For most software I find that easier, you can easily see that one computer is running 1.1.50 vs 1.2.25 and know which is newer.

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