[rfc] six-month stable release cycles

John Arbash Meinel john at arbash-meinel.com
Wed Jul 29 19:34:37 BST 2009

Hash: SHA1

Guy Gascoigne-Piggford wrote:
> I guess as a user, knowing that Dev and QA are complete doesn't really
> mean that a product is released if I can't install it.  As a user of bzr
> I take release announcements with a grain of salt since to me all they
> mean is that another stage in the release process has been triggered and
> that a little while later, sometimes a day, sometimes a week, there'll
> be a product I can install.  I don't really consider it waiting another
> day etc. I just consider it waiting for the release, email announcements
> to the contrary, I just can't be bothered to grab the source so I'll
> wait for installer.  I'm not that hung up on dates, I don't really care
> if it's a day-0 package, the installer's ready when it's ready, and then
> it's released. Everything before that is just an early access option
> from my point of view.
> The term Release means different things to different people, I'm a
> developer, I know that I've got a different opinion to it when compared
> to some others in my office,  but installers are first class citizens,
> they need to be part of the same process, and honestly they are what a
> lot of users consider to be the release vehicle.  None of this changes
> the technical challenges of who, how, where and when.
> Guy

Sure. But to point out:

1) If you were using something like Ubuntu, you would get your next
major release every 6 months, or on an LTS the "release" would be every
18 months.

2) If you subscribe to a feed which is faster, then you get faster
updates. So ~bzr/+archive gives a release about 1/mo,
~bzr-beta-ppa/+archive gives about 3/mo and ~bzr-nightly-ppa/+archive
gives you as many as you want.

And, of course, my personal preferences is:

Gives it to you as fast as we can make it stable.

3) Windows is a bit different, in that there isn't an "update feed" or
an "automatic updater". If there was, I'm not sure I would want everyone
on a 1-month cycle anyway. (Perhaps for a bugfix release, but not really
on the features+bugfix+etc that we have today.)

4) I still feel that problems in the *installer* should be fixed by
whoever is making the installer release an updated version, independent
of any such bzr release. I *don't* think it should be part of bzr core's
job (and certainly not the release manager's) to maintain all possible
installers for all possible platforms.

I do like Aaron's idea of separating "going gold" as when the tarball is
made, from "released" being when it is publicly announced for download.
That said, I would expect at least 1 week between the two, as there is
still a lot of manual work getting that to happen.

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