org.apache.hadoop.util.VersionInfo is commonly used by applications that work with multiple versions of Hadoop.
In case of Hive, this is used in a shims layer to identify the version of hadoop and use different shim code based on version (and the corresponding api it supports).
I checked Pig and Hbase as well and they also use this class to get version information.
However, this method is annotated as "@private" and "@unstable".
This code has actually been stable for long time and is widely used like a public api. I think we should mark it as such.
Note that there are apis to find the version of server components in hadoop, however, this class necessary for finding the version of client.