Requiring bleeding edge versions

The requirement for the latest bleeding edge versions of php and mariadb means the current version of concrete can’t be installed on a lot of hosting platforms, especially the mariadb requirement - while php supports having several versions installed, that’s not the case for mariadb and when you have hundreds or thousands of sites, upgrading mariadb is not possible. You have to create a new server and migrate sites and is not a fast process, nor one you undertake very often.

I don’t believe the latest version of Concrete requires the bleeding edge of PHP.

Whilst the latest stable version of PHP is going to be recommended, I believe you can run version 9 on any version of PHP8:

I believe the same is for the database. It doesn’t require the very latest MariaDB, just something that is the equivalent of MySQL 5.7 or higher.
And I think MySQL 5.7 came out roughly 10 years ago.

Maybe you’re on a server that is very conservative with installed versions, i.e Debian.

When I try to install 9.2.6 at Hostwinds, I get: " * Required MARIADB version greater than equal to 10.2.0 AND found version is : 10.0.38" 8.5.15 works though

MariaDB 10.0.38 came out in Jan 2019.
Whilst not that old, it’s no longer maintained, and the 10.0.x version hit ‘end of life’ March 2019

Keep in mind that Version 9 of Concrete was released towards the end of 2021, and by then even version 10.1 of MariaDB had hit end of life.

I understand your frustration with having to do upgrades or spinning up a new server, but Concrete has to draw the line on supporting older versions of MySQL/MariaDB at some point, and Maria 10.2 is pretty reasonable to be honest.

Unfortunately, I’m just a hostwinds client and don’t have the option of spinning up a new server, short of paying for a dedicated vm. I’m curious if there are really any new features that make the newer versions worth requiring? Most updates are just minor bug fixes and tweaks that most people won’t even notice…

If Hostwinds don’t have something later than MariaDB 10.0 on offer, I’d recommend finding another host.

For modest Concrete sites I tend to recommend some more vanilla cPanel style hosting, where things tend to then be kept up to date (and it’s not your responsibility to manage the hosting itself), but you still get flexibility with PHP versions, etc.

I believe there was a decent shift between MySQL 5.6 and 5.7, with some changes in the way grouping is done, JSON support, different defaults, etc.
And MySQL 5.7 equates to MariaDB 10.2.x

It might also not be Concrete itself that is setting the requirement, it could be things like Doctrine, or other database libraries. And often those have really good reasons to update.