tl;dr: what’s up with ABI stability?
To my surprise, I recently discovered that contrary to popular software development conventions, the releases of the same “minor” version of HDF5 but different “patch” version are not binary compatible with each other.
This causes major grievances for packagers like Linux distributions. For example, the HDF5 version of CentOS - a Linux distribution that’s popular with many scientists - will forever stick with HDF5 version 1.8.12, which is 5 years old at the time of writing.
The reason is that a bump in the version would require a rebuild of all the dependent packages in the EPEL repository.
When redistributing HDF5 along with a binary application, this also effectively locks the application out of all bugfixes and security fixes that may have been released after the original version.
In June 2016 (now 2.5 years ago) @epourmal has acknowledged that the issue is of “high priority” and that they "will get back to it after all features planned for 1.10.0 are finally out ". Are there any updates regarding binary compatibility?
After checking out the ABI stability tracker for HDF5  that was created by another user of this forum , it seems that the ABI has mostly stabilized. Are there official statements, or statements in the documentation about the ABI compatibility between versions?
 HDF5_DISABLE_VERSION_CHECK and disable_version_check
 Binary compatibility report