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From Stephen Connolly <>
Subject Re: How can we support a faster release cadence?
Date Fri, 07 Feb 2014 11:14:07 GMT
On 7 February 2014 11:02, Stephen Connolly

> One of the projects I am involved with is the Jenkins project. At Jenkins
> we cut a release of Jenkins every wednesday... assuming the test all pass...
> Not every release is as stable as people might desire (the tests don't
> catch everything), hence there is the LTS release line, but none the less,
> there is a major release every 7 days... and if you look at the usage stats
> (e.g.
> most users actually stick fairly close to the latest release.
> I have found that this 7 day release cadence can be really helpful for
> some code bases.
> When I started to think about could we follow this model for the Maven
> project as we move towards Maven 4.0, there is one thing that gets in the
> way... namely release votes.
> The standard answer is that we could publish snapshots... but those are
> not indented for use by users... and where the cadence can help is that
> these things can be picked up by users.
> So what is it that gets in the way with release votes:
> * The 72h "soft" requirement for vote duration
> * The actions that a PMC member is required to perform before they can
> vote. See which states:
>     > Before voting +1 PMC members are required to download the signed
> source code package, compile it as provided, and test the resulting
> executable on their own platform, along with also verifying that the
> package meets the requirements of the ASF policy on releases.
> So how exactly do these things get in the way?
> Well as I see it the 72h vote duration isn't necessarily a big deal... we
> need some duration of notice about what is going into the release, there
> will always be people who feel the duration is either too short or two
> long... but with a 7 day cadence and maybe a few hours before the release
> manager closes out the vote and then you wait for the release to finished
> syncing to the mirrors and then the release manager gets a chance to verify
> that the release has synced to at least one mirror... you could easily lose
> half a day's duration in that process...

My bad... looking at I missed

> Please ensure that you wait at least 24 hours after uploading a new
release before updating the project download page and sending the
announcement email(s).

So that basically means it could be 4.5 days after the release is cut
before it is announced as available to users... wait an average of 12h for
a user to download it, add another 12h for them to identify the bug/issue
and report it with a test case... That leaves maybe a 1.5 day window for
the committers to fix the issue the user has...

> oh look the release is out 3.5 days after it was cut... and we're cutting
> another one in 3.5 days... it is likely we will not get much meaningful
> feedback from users in the remaining 3.5 days... so essentially you end up
> with a ping-pong of break... skip... fix since if a bleeding edge user
> finds an issue in 4.0.56 we will have cut 4.0.57 by the time they report it
> to us and the fix ends up in 4.0.58... with a shorter vote duration, say
> 12h, the bleeding edge user reports the issue, we fix and the next release
> is the one they can use.

The point of a fast cadence is that users know if they have an issue and
report it reasonably early enough, they will get the fix in the next
release... if we lose 4.5 days between the cutting of the RC and the [ANN]
email we can actually harm the community, at least from my experience with
the Jenkins project with respect to user engagement.

> In the context of a fast cadence, where every committer in the community
> knows there will be a release on wednesday cut from the last revision that
> passed all the tests on the CI system unless there have been no commits
> since the last release that meet that criteria, do we need to wait the full
> 72h for a vote? Would 12h be sufficient (assuming the 3 PMC +1's get cast
> during those 12h... and if not, well just extend until enough votes are
> cast)
> I think this is different use case from my understanding of the concerns
> that drove the 72h vote duration convention, as this would not be 3 PMC
> members who all work for the same company and are in the same location
> conspiring to drive their changes into the release... everything would be
> happening in the open and a 12h window mid-week should allow at least 4h of
> waking time in any TZ.
> So the second issue is what a PMC member is required to do before voting...
> As a PMC member you are required to
> 1. Download the source code package
> 2. Compile it as provided
> 3. Test the resulting executable on your own platform
> 4. Verify that the package meets the requirements of the ASF policy on
> releases
> Do we really have to personally do all that *by hand*?
> Why can we not have a trusted build server hosted on Apache hardware do
> the download of the source package, compile it as provided and run the
> automated acceptance tests (on a range of platforms), the RAT tooling and
> perhaps verify that the source code package matches what is in source
> control? The trusted build server could then report the results to the
> project mailing list and then the PMC members just need to confirm the
> build server said OK, review the commits between the last time they looked
> at the commits and the tag (which they know matches what is in the source
> bundle) and then vote +1?
> The PMC members are supposed to be keeping an eye on the commits anyway,
> so that shouldn't be too onerous, and the release manager could even
> provide a link to the build server confirmation build in the VOTE email.
> I would appreciate any people's thoughts on the above.
> -Stephen
> P.S.
> * Speaking in my personal capacity as a member of the ASF.
> * I am not saying that Maven will move to such a model, or even wants to
> move to such a model... more that I was thinking about the issues that
> might prevent us if we so desired... I know other projects at Apache are
> interested in fast release cadence however, so getting this topic discussed
> in the open is no bad thing IMHO

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