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Is there a clear definition of a module being stable in comparison with a release candidate? When can a stable version be released?

As an example, can't the Read only mode module considered stable?

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    It's up to you and your own risk assessment, really. Remember Drupal 7.31 was considered "stable", and we all know how that turned out...
    – Clive
    Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 11:00

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Read the docs.

Release naming conventions

rc: A release candidate should only be created when the all critical bug type issues are reported fixed in the project's issue queue. This tag should only be used when the developer believes that the project is ready for use on a production site. There is no official best practice for how long a project should be a release candidate before creating a official .0 release, but it is suggested that it should be out for at least a month with status set to "needs review". If something (e.g. a new critical bug is reported) makes it necessary to create a new release during this period, a new release candidate should be created and this should remain for at least a month with status set to "needs review".

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