RFC: Release Management Going Forward

Harald Sitter sitter at kde.org
Fri Jun 10 15:33:54 CEST 2011

On Friday 10 June 2011 09:23:43 Aaron J. Seigo wrote:
> On Friday, June 10, 2011 03:49:21 Harald Sitter wrote:
> > More frequent releases does not translate to more frequent adoption
> > though, so I doubt it would have much affect for distros and 3rd party
> > developers
> i agree that this is the case on the desktop, but it would be rather useful
> for those working on non-desktop form factors. those of us working on
> tablets are already facing this issue.
> it would also allow us to hit a greater number of distro's release cycles
> with new releases. right now we release twice per year, and there are more
> significant distro releases than that. which means some distros come out
> with something relatively old, and some with something newer. by shortening
> the cycle, a distro may ship something as close to their package freeze
> cycle as possible. to me, this is more palatable than trying to allign our
> releases to one specific downstream's release cycle.

> it can also relieve us of doing frequent bug fix releases as we do now:
> instead of a bug fix every month and a new feature release every 6, we could
> do an actual release every two. we would probably still do large promo
> treatments at time-based punctuations through the year and we may also
> elect to keep a "long term branch" that rolls over once a year where we
> backport critical fixes to (release could be left up to packagers?)

Having a long term branch indeed sounds very handy and raises a point to be 
ironed out. How long is one invidual release going to be supported officially?

I reckon most distributions have at least 1 year of support and sometimes 
prelonged support (think Ubuntu's LTS releases).
Especially for enterprise distributions something that is "supported" (in 
terms of receiving critical bug fixes) for a longer period of time is a mission 
critical thing.
In particular I could imagine a long term branch to primarily receive input 
from those stakeholders. If a paying customer requests a fix to be shipped in a 
distro package, they might as well push it upstream, without much effort. 
Though perhaps that is wishful thinking.

At any rate, if such a branch were limited to critical fixes I suppose it would 
be as easy for the packagers as applying a patch every once in a while, which 
I believe to be a very managable effort.


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