Do Patches Matter?On December 10, 2014, the last patch for Joomla 2.5, bringing it to 2.5.28, was announced. You can read the full announcement here: Joomla 2.5.28 Released. With this release comes the end of support, meaning that future releases, including security patches, will no longer be developed. Patches have been released over the lifetime of all Joomla versions in order to improve functionality or reduce security issues. When security issues were found, new patches were released.
The fact that patches are no longer available ultimately translates into increased risk for Joomla 2.5 sites in terms of hacker or malicious activity. Regardless of the level of security maintained for an individual site in terms of the underlying operating system, once the hacker community finds a "window of opportunity", it will eventually be exploited...same as any other platform on the Internet. The part of security patches in the past has been to remove those opportunities, so with no new patches being released, you are dependent upon your local hosting provider to eliminate those holes, and you will bear the expense of that activity.
Why Has Support Stopped?As with all software, there is a supportable lifecycle for Joomla, and a plan to provide better functionality over time. Joomla 3.0 was released on September 27, 2012, and it is, indeed, a significant improvement over previous versions, especially in its current 3.3.6 version. There must always be a plan to cut the ties to previous versions, in order to focus development efforts on new versions and make it the very best that it can be.
Since its release in January 2012, Joomla 2.5 has been extremely stable and well-adopted by community developers. Much like Microsoft had to do with Windows XP, the time has simply come to bid it adieu and put all efforts into current and up-coming versions of Jomla.
What About My Extensions?Most developers have become much more adept at modifying their extensions to support new versions of Joomla. From our experience in devloping Joomla extensions, upgrading from 2.5 to 3.x was much simpler than the earlier version paths. Although there are still some extensions that have not made the jump to 3.x, most have. For those that have not, we have been able to find reasonable replacements in the 3.x space, to allow the continued functionality in a migrated site.
Shoud I Upgrade to Joomla 3?Yes...absolutely! In addition to the issues discussed above, the benefits of Joomla 3 are considerable, and you can learn more about those here: http://www.joomla.org/3/en.
If you are ready to make the move to Joomla 3, or would like answers to specific questions about your web site and what Joomla 3 might offer you, please contact us!