Proposed adjustments to our release cycles

Inge Wallin inge at lysator.liu.se
Sun Jun 17 02:44:04 BST 2012


On Friday, June 15, 2012 13:05:44 Sebastian K├╝gler wrote:
> Hi all,
> 
> During our sprint in Pineda de Mar, we sat down and thought about how our
> release cycles relate to the structures in our software, we came up with
> the following proposal we'd like you to consider and provide feedback
> about.
> 
> Starting with KDE Frameworks 5, we will release Frameworks, Workspaces and
> Applications each with their own release cycles. Each of these releases
> would be a set of tarballs of the latest stable versions of the
> application (or codebase in more general).
> As an example, Frameworks could release updates every 2 months, while our
> application collection is updated monthly. New iterations of the workspaces
> come every four months. (These numbers are completely arbitrary, and here
> only for illustration purpose!)
> 
> More specifically for the Workspaces, we would like to release all
> workspaces at the same time.
> 
> This model would
> 
> * Allow components to skip releases if they need to take a longer
> development cycle
> * encourage developers to have an always releasable master
> * put more emphasis on continuous integration and other automated testing
> 
> As far as we can judge, this would be in line with our communication
> strategy, and allow us to target different groups more clearly. That is
> something to streamline with the people at kde-promo, though.
> 
> Opinions?

As far as I could understand from the above the main ideas are:
 - Splitting the SC into 3 parts
 - Shortening the release cycles significantly.

My problem is with the second.  While some people always want to have the 
latest and greatest, I wonder what it will do to stability. You didn't write 
anything above about how many bugfix updates any given version would receive. 
The shorter the release cycles, the fewer the number of bugfix releases. If 
not, we would have to maintain several active branches at the same time, which 
would increase overhead a lot.  Somebody else mentioned translations, which is 
another related issue.

The reasoning behind the move towards shorter release cycles is exactly the 
opposite of how large organizations reason when they select software. Remember 
the outcry when Firefox went to its current way of releasing. When Brazil 
rolls out KDE to 24 million users, they don't want to have to update that 
every 2-4 months.

It seems to me that a current trend in larger free software projects is to go 
to a 6-9 month release schedule with a kind of "Long Term Support" release 
once in a while (every 2 years?). If we shorten the release cycles (an idea 
which I am actually not that fond of) then could we also consider to have an 
LTS release now and then?




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