End of maintenance for ISC DHC CLIENT and RELAY

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End of maintenance for ISC DHC CLIENT and RELAY

Vicky Risk
Greetings ISC DHCP Users -

ISC would like to end maintenance of the ISC DHCP *client and relay* by the end of 2021.  We plan to continue maintaining the DHCP *server*, and any code that is common between the server, client and relay for a couple more years at least.  Our January 2020 release of ISC DHCP incorporated a number of submitted patches, mostly for the client, but otherwise we have done little maintenance on the client or relay.  To be honest, the client and relay have simply not been a focus of ours for several years.  As a small non-profit organization, we have to allocate our limited resources carefully and we think the ISC DHCP server, and Kea have more future value for users.

We emailed a couple of dozen people who contributed to the maintenance of the ISC DHCP client and relay in the past few years to see if there was anyone interested in volunteering to take over maintenance. We got a single reply, from someone who is maintainer for the client in an operating system. This reinforced our thinking that perhaps no one needs the ISC distribution of the client or relay any longer.

Why are we doing this?
The ISC DHCP code is extremely mature, and is not designed for unit-testability. The test coverage is just not good enough to inspire confidence that any change, even an apparently minor one, would not cause some unidentified breakage. 

ISC has no support customers for either of these components, and we haven’t for at least a decade, so there is no funding stream to support them. We are not even sure whether anyone is even using the client or relay code from our distribution anymore. We think it is likely that some operating systems are maintaining DHC client or relay implementations or forks that are ‘better maintained’ and more modern than our current client or relay code.

Feedback welcome
We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.  We have maintained ISC DHCP for over 20 years, and it seems like it is time to archive the ISC DHC client and relay. If you are aware of a well-maintained implementation of either a client or relay, and would like to suggest users switch to that alternative, please feel free to reply with that comment.

We would like to thank all the contributors who have sent us patches (mostly upstreaming client patches from operating system distributions) over the years.


Vicky Risk
Product Manager

ISC funds the development of this software with paid support subscriptions. Contact us at https://www.isc.org/contact/ for more information.

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