OVAL Language Revision Process


The process by which the OVAL Language changes and evolves is documented below. This revision process must be clearly defined to ensure that tool developers and OVAL Community members can plan on a predictable revision process in which they may participate. The revision process must also provide OVAL tool developers with a set of milestones to assist them in planning their own development schedules to maintain compatibility with the OVAL Language. A revision of the OVAL Language will only be successful with active participation from tool developers and the OVAL Community.

The entire process is managed by the OVAL Moderator, who is an individual or an organization that maintains OVAL and provides impartial technical guidance to the OVAL Board on all matters related to the ongoing development of OVAL.

Back to top

Revision Process Milestones

The revision process includes four major milestones for creating a new version of the OVAL Language. Each of these milestones is explained below.


The OVAL Moderator begins the process of gathering suggestions and comments from the OVAL Community for evolving the existing OVAL Language. The OVAL Board reviews the suggestions and determines which should be considered in the new version of the OVAL Language. The length of this period is based upon the number, extent, and urgency of the proposed changes.

Draft/Internal Review

A new version of the OVAL Language is officially proposed to the OVAL Community for consideration as the next version. The OVAL Community is expected to review the schema and to propose additions, deletions, and modifications, all of which are further reviewed by the community. During this period the OVAL Moderator coordinates the testing of the draft language and updates to any OVAL maintained tools, in order to ensure that the proposed changes to the language are valid and usable.

Release Candidate

The OVAL Board has determined that the proposed OVAL Language has reached a level of consensus within the OVAL Community, and the OVAL Moderator has verified that the language is valid. In the release candidate stage, the language remains frozen for a period of time determined by the OVAL Board. It is during this stage that vendors and tool developers can update their tools with the knowledge that the schema will remain stable. Subsequent release candidates may be released if a serious problem is discovered in the proposed language.


The OVAL Web site is updated to comply with the new version of the OVAL Language, including all of the OVAL Definitions hosted in the OVAL Repository and an updated release of the OVAL Interpreter. The previous schema files and its associated elements are then archived on the OVAL Web site.

Back to top

Revision Process Timeline

The timeline associated with the revision process will vary depending upon whether the planned modifications will result in a major or minor language version change. A major version change will require more effort in each stage of the process than a minor version change, and therefore, the overall time it will take to move from the planning stage to the release stage will be longer. The difference between a major and minor version change is outlined in the OVAL Language Versioning document.

Back to top

Page Last Updated: April 28, 2015