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From Niall Pemberton <>
Subject Re: How can we support a faster release cadence?
Date Fri, 14 Feb 2014 21:23:42 GMT
I love the release cadence - more projects should do it - and I can
understand why you fight anything that you believe would hinder that. But I
don't really get how a vote affects that - whatever cycle you're on - it
just shifts it 3 days? So if you were cutting a release on the last Friday
of every month (for example) - nothing changes for the user except that the
monthly release is available 3 days later - they still get it monthly, just
on the Monday?


On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 3:25 AM, Brian LeRoux <> wrote:

> I'd like to throw out some thoughts in support of this thinking and help
> explore how we can support faster releases at Apache.
> Cordova has bias to shipping. We started shipping on a schedule mid 2011
> and this was a very deliberate choice, after two years of scattered, and
> frankly reactionary, releases.
> At that time we called the project PhoneGap and we realized our offering
> was playing cat and mouse with the very fast moving dependencies of iOS and
> Android. Being reactionary made shipping a fire drill, inevitably drawn out
> since we didn't exercise those muscles enough, and ultimately this made our
> software a risk for adoption. We didn't want to be a risk for adoption. We
> also did not want our volunteer committership killing themselves every time
> iOS or Android landed a patch.
> Moving to a schedule acted as a forcing function to exercise those
> muscles, find our cadence, and only positives to the code and community
> resulted. Shipping brought our core together. It meant if we didn't have a
> fix for a feature the branch would land in the next release which is only a
> month away. This built huge confidence in our team by our community. Our
> code become better tested, and more streamlined. A consistent release
> cadence not only helped us find more quality in our code, but that
> confidence really helped us build our committer and developer community.
> The story is hardly unique: Chrome, Ubuntu, Docker, Firefox, and many
> others have adopted this model in recent years.
> I feel anything that can be considered a better practice for higher
> quality code and driving community confidence, and subsequently adoption,
> really embodies Apache ideals.
> The current process could be largely automated and the vote doesn't
> necessarily have to be in the form of an email. I've found these past weeks
> the act of voting seems near cultural at Apache so I hope that doesn't
> sound crazy! I mean well.
> Another issue I am personally unclear on is the wide variety of artifacts
> destinations that an Apache project can be shipped today. Maven has some of
> these smarts built in but projects like the npm registry do not. Another
> area we need to address is the proliferation of various app stores. I'm not
> a fan of them, but they happen, and we should have a mechanism for our
> projects to deliver to them.
> On Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 3:02 AM, Stephen Connolly <
>> wrote:
>> 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... 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.
>> 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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