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From Erik Weber <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] LTS Release Cycle
Date Fri, 15 Jan 2016 21:26:47 GMT
On Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 7:48 PM, John Burwell <>

> Motivation
> ========
> The current monthly release cycle addresses the needs of users focused on
> deploying new functionality as quickly as possible. It does not address the
> needs of users oriented towards stability rather than new functionality.
> These users typically employ QA processes to comply with corporate policy
> and/or regulatory requirements. To maintain a growing, thriving community,
> we must address the needs of both user types. Therefore, I propose that we
> overlay a LTS release cycle onto the monthly release cycle to address the
> needs of stability-oriented users with minimal to no impact on the monthly
> release cycle. This proposed LTS release cycle has the following goals:
> * Prefer Stability to New Functionality: Deliver releases that only
> address defects and CVEs. This narrowly focused change scope greatly
> reduces the upgrade risk/operational impact and shorter internal QA cycles.
> * Reliable Release Lifetimes: Embracing a time-based release strategy, the
> LTS release cycle will provide users with a reliable support time frames.
> Users can use these time frames provide users with an 20 month window in
> which to plan upgrades.
> * Support Sustainability: With a defined end of support for LTS releases
> and a maximum of two (2) LTS releases under active maintenance at any given
> time, community members can better plan their commitments to release
> support activities. We also have a agreed upon policy for release
> end-of-life (EOL) to debate about continuing work on old releases.
> Proposed Process
> ==============
> LTS release branches will be cut twice year on 1 Jan and 1 July from the
> tag of the most recent monthly release. The branch will be named <base
> version>-LTS and each LTS release will be versioned in the form of <base
> version>-<LTS revision number>. For example, if we cut an LTS branch based
> on 4.7.0, the branch would be named 4.7.0-LTS and the version of the first
> LTS release would be 4.7.0-0, the second would be 4.7.0-1, etc. This
> release naming convention differentiates LTS and monthly releases,
> communicates the version on which the LTS release is based, and allows the
> maintenance releases for monthly releases without version number
> contention/conflict. Finally, like master, an LTS branch would be always
> deployable following its initial release. While it is unlikely that LTS
> users would deploy from the branch, the quality discipline of this
> requirement will benefit the long term stability of LTS releases. All PRs
> targeting an LTS would require two LGTMs in order to be merged.
> The following are the types of changes that would permitted and guarantees
> provided to users:
> * No features or enhancements would be backported to LTS release branches.
> * Database changes would be limited to those required to address the
> backported defect fixes.
> * Support for the release/version of the following components from the
> release on which the LTS is based throughout the entire release cycle:
> * MySQL/MariaDB
> * Linux distributions
> * API compatibility for between all LTS revisions. API changes would be
> limited to those required to fix defects or address security issues.
> An LTS release would have a twenty (20) month lifetime from the date the
> release branch is cut. This support period allows up to two (2) months of
> branch stabilization before initial release with a minimum of eighteen (18)
> months of availability for deployment. LTS releases would have the
> following support periods:
> * 0-14 months: backport all defect fixes in the scope of the LTS release
> functionality; fix all blocker and critical priority defects identified in
> the branch
> * 14-20 months: backport only CVE fixes in the scope of the LTS release
> functionality; fix all blocker priority defects in the branch
> Defect fixes that originate in an LTS branch will be pulled forward to
> master only. Finally, an LTS branch should be release the fewest times
> necessary to deliver fixes in a relatively timely manner. Therefore, LTS
> releases will be triggered based on the number of pending of fixes and
> their severity with no defect fix awaiting release more than forty-five
> (45) days. CVE fixes would trigger an immediate release of an LTS branch.

Is this going to be official ASF CloudStack releases following the
necessary protocol of vote periods, binding votes etc. or will this be a
community release by 3rd parties?
I am asking now so that we are all on the same page here when we get to the
first release.

> Resourcing and Proposed Timeline
> ===========================
> Broad community support is vital to guarantee the twenty (20) month
> support period for each LTS branch. Given the ebbs and flows of
> contribution and committer priorities, ShapeBlue will provide a release
> manager, as well as, engineering support to fill any contribution gaps to
> ensure that the community fulfills LTS commitments.
> In order to prepare for supporting LTS releases, we would need to complete
> the following items:
> 1. All tools that do version number comparisons would be made aware of the
> LTS versioning scheme
> 2. Officially support running the management server on Java 8 since Java 7
> has been EOL since last April [1] (i.e. compile to 1.7 with the Java 1.8
> compiler and run on Java 1.8). Providing a 20-month support window on an
> EOL JVM is an unacceptable security risk.
> 3. Update the wiki and website to explain the new release cycle and help
> users decide which release type suits their needs
> 4. Define an initial test plan for LTS stabilization
> 5. Agree on the definitions of ticket severities
> In order to address these items and start on a regular rhythm, I propose
> that first LTS cycle begin on 1 July 2015. In the interim, we would
> continue to ship critical bug fixes from the 4.5 release as this release
> seems to be the most commonly deployed in the community.

1 July 2016 I assume? :-)

> Together, the monthly and LTS release cycles address the needs of the
> entire Apache CloudStack user community. I believe that the process
> described in the proposal will yield releases that meet the needs of users
> requiring release stability without adversely affecting the velocity of the
> monthly release cycle.

Huge +1.
I understand that a lot of people want fast and rapid releases, but that
does not work for everyone, me included. I'll most likely run LTS in
production, but latest monthly in labs/testing.


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