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From "Bill Stoddard" <>
Subject RE: A suggested ROADMAP for working 2.1/2.2 forward?
Date Thu, 17 Oct 2002 17:18:05 GMT
Justin, I think this answers most of your questions?

* +1, this is an extremely good start to drafting the rules for working on
stable releases. I could quibble with a point or two but this captures the
spirit nicely.

* Activity in the stable release would be limited to security and high
impact bug fixes and perhaps the occasional new function.  Effort to
maintain the stable release should be minimal.  This give us freedom to
continue to work on the 2.* development code base while providing users and
third party module developers some incentive to invest in the 2.0 codebase.

* Consider using the Linux versioning system... stable release is 2.x where
x >0 and x == even. Developmemt release is 2.x where x is odd.


> ==================
> Last modified at [$Date: 2002/10/01 19:13:06 $]
> ------------
> The Apache HTTP Server project must balance two competing and disjoint
> objectives; maintain stable code for third party authors, distributors and
> most importantly users so that bug and security fixes can be
> quickly adopted
> without significant hardship due to API changes; and continue the
> development
> process that requires ongoing redesign to work around earlier
> oversights in
> the implementation of a fluid and flexible API.
> The Apache HTTP Server versions, through 2.0, used the Module Magic Number
> to reflect the relatively frequent API changes.  This had the shortcoming
> of often leaving binary download users hunting to replace their
> loaded third
> party modules.  This left the third party module authors searching through
> the API change histories to determine the new declarations, APIs and side
> effects of making the necessary code changes.
> With the simultaneous release of Apache 2.1-stable and Apache
> 2.2-development,
> the Apache HTTP Server project is moving to a more predictable stable code
> branch, while opening the development to forward progress without concern
> for breaking the stable branch.  This document explains the
> rational between
> the two versions and their behavior, going forward.
> STABLE RELEASES, 2.{odd}.{revision}
> ------------------------------------
> All even numbered releases will be considered stable revisions.
> That means;
>   * Forward Compatibility; users are not be required to find new
> downloads of
>     currently loaded modules to upgrade from another revisions of
> the same
>     version.  To upgrade from 2.1.0 and 2.1.27 will require no
> new modules.
>     However, the third party modules may break from buggy code,
> or code that
>     used an undocumented side effect of an API call, which may be
> changed to
>     close bugs or security vulnerabilities.  Modules should be retested.
>     Moreover, new APIs may be introduced within the lifespan of
> the release,
>     and it is up to the third party module author to call out what version
>     forward this module is compatible with (e.g. "Compatible with Apache
>     HTTP Server version 2.1.12 and foward.")  The next stable
> release that
>     causes module incompatibility for 2.1.x users will be an upgrade to
>     either the current 2.2.x-development releases or the
> 2.3.0-stable release.
>   * No Deprecated modules; although new modules may be introduced
> within the
>     stable release, no loadable modules or their directives will
> be removed
>     within the lifetime of a given stable release version.  The
> next release
>     that deprecates old modules for 2.1.x users will be an
> upgrade to either
>     the 2.2.x-development release or the 2.3.0-stable release.
>   * Warnings should be provided in the documentation to give
> users a heads up
>     that a given module or directive will disappear in the future release,
>     and advise developers that a given API will change.  However,
> it is always
>     best to check the corresponding development release to
> determine the full
>     impact of such changes.
>   * No 'Experimental' modules; while it may be possible (based on
> API changes
>     required to support a given module) to load a 2.2-development
> module into
>     a 2.1-stable build of Apache, there are no guarantees.  Experimental
>     modules will be introduced to the 2.2-development versions and either
>     added to 2.1-stable once they are proven and compatible, or deferred
>     to the 2.3-stable release if they cannot be incorporated in
> the current
>     stable release due to API change requirements.
>   * The stable CVS tree must not remain unstable at any time.
> Atomic commits
>     must be used to introduce code from the development version
> to the stable
>     tree.  At any given time a security release may be in preparation,
>     unbeknownst to other contributors.  At any given time, testers may be
>     checking out CVS head to confirm that a bug has been
> corrected.  And as
>     all code was well-tested in development prior to committing
> to the stable
>     tree, there is really no reason for this tree to be broken
> for more than
>     a few minutes during a lengthy commit.
> DEVELOPMENT RELEASES, 2.{even}.{revision}
> -----------------------------------------
> All even numbered releases designate the 'next' possible stable release,
> therefore te current development version will always be one greater than
> the stable release.  Work proceeds on development releases, permitting
> the modification of the MMN at any time in order to correct deficiencies
> or shortcomings in the API.  This means that third party modules from one
> revision to another may not be binary compatible, and may not successfully
> compile without modification to accomodate the API changes.
> The only 'supported' development release at any time will be the most
> recently released version.  Developers will not be answering bug reports
> of older development releases once a new release is available, it becomes
> the resposibility of the reporter to use the latest development version
> to confirm that the bug still exists.
> Any new code, new API features or new ('experimental') modules may be
> promoted at any time to the next stable release, by a vote of the project
> contributors.  This vote is based on the technical stability of the new
> code and the stability of the interface.  Once moved to stable,
> that feature
> cannot change for the remainder of that lifetime of that stable verions,
> so the vote must reflect that the final decisions on the behavior
> and naming
> of that new feature were reached.  Vetos continue to apply to this choice
> of introducing the new work to the stable version.
> At any given time, when the quality of changes to the development branch
> is considered release quality, that version may become a candidate for the
> next stable release.  This includes some or all of the API
> changes, promoting
> experimental modules to stable or deprecating and eliminating
> older modules
> from the last stable release.  All of these choices are considered by the
> project as a group in the interests of promoting the stable
> release, so that
> any given change may be 'deferred' for a future release by the
> group, rather
> than introduce unacceptable risks to adopting the next stable release.
> Third party module authors are strongly encouraged to test with the latest
> development version.  This assures that the module will be ready
> for the next
> stable release, but more importantly, the author can react to shortcomings
> in the API early enough to warn the community of the
> shortcomings so that they can be addressed before the stable release.  The
> entire onus is on the third party module author to anticipate the needs of
> their module before the stable release is created, once it has
> been released
> they will be stuck with that API for the lifetime of that stable release.
> ---------------
> All emphasis will be focused on providing binary packages of
> stable release
> versions.  While they are a volunteer effort, and the project makes them
> available only as a convenience and not on demand, the project will frown
> on contributors providing development release binary packages when there
> are no available binary packages available for the current stable release
> for the platform in question.

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