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From Jacob Rhoden <>
Subject Re: Proposed changes to C* Release Schedule
Date Tue, 17 Jun 2014 07:42:33 GMT
Isn't this how it works now? Aka

2.0 is the "I'm risk averse" stable, and
2.1 is the "I'm living on the edge" stable 

Sent from iPhone

> On 17 Jun 2014, at 5:16 pm, Michael Kjellman <> wrote:
> Hi Dev@ List—
> TL;DR:
> I’d love it if we could modify the C* release cycle to include an additional “experimental”
release branch that straddles the current major releases that includes somewhat “untested”
or “risky” commits that normally would only go into the next major release. Releases based
from this branch wouldn’t contain any features that require breaking changes or are considered
highly “untested” or “risky” but would include the many other commits that today are
considered too unsafe to put into the previous stable branch. This will allow us to run code
closer to the current stable release branch when we are unable to move fully to the new major
release branch. Also, during the release cycle of the next major release branch the project
can get feedback from a subset of the total changes that will ultimately make it into that
final new major release. Also — i’m aware that any additional branches/releases will add
additional work for any developer that works on C*. It would be great if we could strike a
balance that hopefully doesn’t add significant additional merging/rebasing/work for the
> The Longer Story:
> Last week I had a conversation with a few people regarding a proposed change to the current
C* release schedule. 
> Other than an attempt to make Jonathan and Sylvian’s lives more difficult, it would
be ideal if we could better sync our internal release schedule with more recent Cassandra
releases. The current cycle has resulted in currently “active” branches for 1.2, 2.0,
2.1, and +3.0. Official stable releases are from 2.0, beta’s/RC’s from 2.1, and there
is the potential for another out-of-band 1.2/previous stable release build. We would love
to always run the current “stable” release in production but generally/historically it
takes time and a few minor releases to the current “major” branch stable to get to a state
where we can accept for use in production. Additionally, as major releases are currently used
to make “breaking” changes that require a more involved and risky upgrade process, it’s
a much bigger deal to deploy a new major into production than a release without breaking changes.
(upgrade-sstables for example is required when upgrading to a new major release branch. this
unavoidable step adds lots of temporary load to the cluster and means deploying/upgrading
to major releases tends to be a bit more risky than between minor releases and a more involved/long
running process). This means even though there are months worth of stable hard work/awesome
improvements in the current “stable” major release branch (today this is 2.0), we end
up with an unavoidable and undesired lag in getting more recent C* changes pushed into production.
This means we are unable to provide feedback on newer changes sooner to the community, stuck
and unable to get even a subset of the awesome changes as we can’t yet take ALL the changes
from the new major release branch, and finally if we find an issue in production or want to
work on new functionality it would be ideal if we can write it against a release that is closer
to the next major release while also providing us a reasonable way to get the feature deployed
internally on a branch we are running.
> Currently, the project generally tends to include all risky/breaking/more “feature”
oriented tickets only into the next major release + trunk. However, there is a subset of these
changes that are “somewhat” more risky changes but pose little/less/no risk the commit
with introduce a regression outside of the scope of the patch/component. Additionally, any
changes that  depend on other higher risk/breaking commits/changes wouldn’t be candidates
for this proposed release branch. In a perfect world we would love to target a new “interim”
or “experimental” train of releases which is loosely the most stable current release train
but also includes a subset of changes from the next major train. (While we were discussing
we thought about possible parallels to the concept of a LTS (Long Term Support) release cycle
and what some people have dubbed the “tick-tock” release cycle.) This might look something
like 1.2 branch + all moderately-to-“less”-risky/non-breaking commits which currently
would only end up in a 2.0 or 2.1 release. (Off the top of my head, immediately bad candidates
for this build would be for changes to components such as gossip, streaming, or any patch
that changes the storage format etc). This would enable the project to provide builds for
more active/risk-adverse users looking for a reasonable way to get more features and changes
into production than with today’s release cycle. Additionally, this would hopefully facilitate/increase
quicker feedback to the project on a subset of the new major release branch and any bugs found
could be reported against an actual reproducible release instead of some custom build with
a given number of patches from Jira or git SHAs applied/backported.
> As it will always take both time and n releases to reach a stable minor release for a
new major train; users could deploy this new release to get a subset of new features and changes
with higher risk than would otherwise go into a minor release of the previous stable release
train. If internally we wanted to add a new feature we could target this release while testing
internally, and hopefully given the smaller delta between this “interim/experimental”
to make it easier to re-base patches into the next major release train. This would help us
avoid what today has unfortunately become a unavoidable large lag in getting new C* builds
into production as while we attempt to sync our internal releases with a internally/or community
QA’ed/accepted build/release of the current “stable” build/branch (currently this is
> To accomplish this, the commit workflow would unfortunately need change where an additional
process is added to determine “eligibility” or “appropriateness” of a given commit
to additionally also be committed to the “experimental” build branch (maybe it’s as
simple as leaving it up to the reviewer + author to determine the risk factor and difficulty
in merging the change back into the “experimental” build?). If it is agreed the commit/change/patch
is a good candidate for the “experimental” branch, in addition to committing the patch
to the current major release branch, the commit would also be merged into the new “experimental”
release. If commits make it into the “experimental” branch frequently, I would expect/hope
merging patches into the “experimental” build would be relatively easy as the “experimental”
branch should also have most of the changes from the major release branch sans those considered
highly risky or breaking. Additionally, if internally we want to work on a new feature and
test internally before submitting a patch, we could target our code against the “experimental”
branch, allowing us to test our changes in production without forking C* internally, writing
our code against more recent “modern” changes, and then hopefully getting that work back
to the community.
> Hope this was clear enough and accurately summarizes the conversation a few of us had!
Looking forward to everyone’s feedback and comments.
> best,
> kjellman

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