As LOOT develops, it gains support for new metadata syntax features. However, using these new features in the masterlists may break functionality for LOOT users who have not updated to the latest version of LOOT, which isn't ideal. This is especially true when LOOT updates alter the load orders produced, as changing load order can affect game stability, and so users may be unable (rather than unwilling) to upgrade.
To allow the use of new features without breaking older versions of LOOT, the masterlists are also versioned. This is done by storing the versions as branches in the masterlists' Git repositories. Whenever a new version of LOOT that includes metadata syntax changes is released, a new branch for that version is created in each masterlist repository, and that branch is made the default for that version of LOOT.
For example, LOOT v0.8.1 uses the
v0.8 masterlist branches by default. LOOT v0.9.0 introduced metadata syntax changes, so it uses the
v0.9 masterlist branches. LOOT v0.10.0 uses the same metadata syntax as v0.9.0, so it also uses the
v0.9 masterlist branches.
In addition to the obvious version branches, each masterlist repository also has a
master branch. This is the version branch for LOOT v0.5 and v0.6.x, and it is also the default branch for LOOT v0.7.0, as the masterlist versioning system was introduced in conjunction with the release of LOOT v0.7.1. Users of LOOT v0.7.0 can safely switch to using the
v0.7 branch, but the
master branch cannot be renamed without breaking masterlist updates for LOOT v0.5 and v0.6.x users, which is why it keeps its ambiguous name.
Updates to the masterlists should be made to their most recent version branches. Back-porting of non-breaking updates to older version branches is left at the discretion of the contributor.