Ishan Chhabra In the end this an open source project. As long as there is a maintainer there'll be updates.
The reasoning for retiring 0.96 is that everyone should rather go to 0.98 (you can do a rolling upgrade from 0.96 to 0.98, no data upgrade required).
If we had semantic versioning going from 0.96 to 0.98 would something like going from version 2.0.x to 2.1.x (i.e. a minor version update). We're just saying: No more patches for the 2.0 code line, please upgrade to 2.1.x for bugfixes.
0.94 is the prior major version. Retiring that in favor of 0.98 would be like going from 1.0.x to 2.x.y, with no rolling upgrades, no client-server protocol compatibility, and a data upgrade step and new version of Hadoop (likely) required.
So we'd be maintaining the equivalent of 1.x.y, and 2.x.y.
Eventually 0.94 will be retired (i.e. nobody will contribute patches to it any more). If we want save the work maintaining 0.94 or nobody is using it anymore anyway we can retire it soon. If we want to keep maintaining it for folks who cannot risk upgrading their data we can do so too.
Why are you asking? You feel we should retire 0.94 as well? Or you're worried we might retire it?