This section defines stability requirements for telemetry produced by OpenTelemetry instrumentations.
All OpenTelemetry-authored instrumentations are labeled to be either
from the perspective of the telemetry they produce.
Adding of new metrics, spans, span events or log records and adding of
new attributes to spans, span events, log records or resources are considered
additive, non-breaking changes and are always allowed for
Other changes in the produced telemetry are regulated by the following rules.
Unstable telemetry-producing instrumentations (unstable instrumentations for short) SHOULD be clearly labeled so by any means the instrumentations authors consider idiomatic for their language, e.g. via version numbers, artifact names, documentation, etc.
Unstable instrumentations provide no guarantees about the shape of the telemetry they produce and how that shape changes over time, from version to version. Span or metric names, attributes of any telemetry items may change without any restrictions. The produced telemetry MAY specify a Schema URL if the telemetry data conforms to a particular Schema.
Unstable instrumentations authored by OpenTelemetry MAY produce additional telemetry that is not described by OpenTelemetry semantic conventions.
TODO: decide if it is necessary to indicate on the wire if the produced telemetry is coming from an unstable instrumentation.
Stable telemetry-producing instrumentations (stable instrumentations for short) SHOULD be clearly labeled so by any means the instrumentations authors consider idiomatic for their language, e.g. via version numbers, artifact names, documentation, etc.
Stable instrumentations fall into 2 categories: fixed-schema producers and schema-file driven producers.
Stable instrumentations authored by OpenTelemetry SHOULD NOT produce telemetry that is not described by OpenTelemetry semantic conventions. If, however, this rule is broken the instrumentations MUST NOT change such telemetry, regardless of whether they are fixed-schema producers or schema-file driven producers. Once the produced telemetry is added to the semantic conventions, changes will be allowed as described below.
Fixed Schema Telemetry Producers
Instrumentations that are labeled
Stable and do not include the Schema URL in the
produced telemetry are called Fixed Schema Telemetry Producers.
Such instrumentations are prohibited from changing any produced telemetry. If the specification changes over time and the semantic conventions are updated, the instrumentation is still prohibited from adopting the changes. If the instrumentation wishes to adopt the semantic convention changes it must first become a Schema-File Driven Telemetry Producer by adding an appropriate Schema URL in the produced telemetry.
Schema-File Driven Telemetry Producers
Stable instrumentations that include the Schema URL in the produced telemetry are called Schema-File Driven Telemetry Producers.
Such instrumentations are prohibited from changing the produced telemetry until April 1, 2023 and until that date are subject to exactly the same restrictions as Fixed Schema Telemetry Producers.
After April 1, 2023, stable instrumentations are allowed to change the produced telemetry if all the following conditions are fulfilled:
- The change is part of OpenTelemetry semantic conventions and is in a released version of the specification.
- The change has a corresponding published OpenTelemetry Schema File that describes the change.
- The produced telemetry correctly specifies the respective Schema URL.
If the change was introduced in the semantic conventions specification before April 1, 2023, the instrumentations must wait until April 1, 2023 before they can adopt the change and begin producing the changed telemetry.