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Release plan

43,099 bytes removed, 20:26, 22 August 2013
Moved lessons learned to Release plan/Lessons learned. as these lessons are not part of the release plan (yet).
This '''release plan''' was originally developed by Mathias Fröhlich, Martin Spott, Thorsten Brehm and Torsten Dreyer during LinuxTag 2011.
If you think you have something to contribute to the release process, feel free to <span class=plainlinks>[{{SERVER}}{{localurl:{{NAMESPACE}}:{{PAGENAME}}|action=edit}} edit this page]</span>. In particular, improvements should be based on [[Release plan#/Lessons learned]] from past releases. Please discuss this concept at the mailing-list.
=== General release concept ===
New FlightGear releases are scheduled twice a year. The magic number to remember is 17 (we tried 42, but that didn't turn out so well. 17 is perfect: 1 is not a prime, 7 is a prime and so is 17). On the 17th of January (1) and July (7) a new release branch is created for [[SimGear]], FlightGear and FGDATA.
The development stream of SimGear, FlightGear and FGDATA is set into a frozen state one month before the branch-day (17th), to let the dust of development settle and to allow fixing the most annoying bugs in the code. During this period, developers should not add any new features, subsystems, and the like. Immediately after the stream has branched for the release, development in the main stream (next/master) is open for major changes until one month before the next branch-day. This results in a duty cycle of 5 month developing and 1 month thinking.
=== Version numbers ===
FlightGear version numbers consist of three digits, seperated by dots:
* '''Major''' (<u>2</u>.4.1): is only increased after significant changes to the functionality of the software, i.e. 1.X.X => 2.0.0 (due to switch to OSG).
* '''Revision''' (2.4.<u>1</u>): is increased by bugfix releases, i.e. 2.8.1, 2.8.2, 2.8.3.
=When referring to a major release in general, only the first two digits should be used, i.e. 2.6 refers to 2.6.0, 2.6.1 etc. == Detailed time schedule and checklist ===
# '''Dec/Jun 17th:''' Development stream is declared "frozen" or "yellow"
##Send a mail to the flightgear-devel mailing-list to announce the state, add a call for screenshots
##[[:Category:FlightGear Core developers|Core developers]] and other contributors should be invited to add their release related experiences (i.e. suggestions for improvements) to the wiki to help update and improve the release plan (i.e. this page) accordingly.
=== To bump up the version number ===
* fgdata
** edit the ''version'' file
** edit the ''version'' file
=== Definition of repository states ===
{| class="wikitable"
=== Bug fix committing policy ===
Fixes for bugs during the shakedown test of the release branch may be applied to the branches next or release/2.8.0.
A fix goes into release/2.8.0 if the development of next has moved forward and this fix does not apply there. It also goes into the release branch if there will be a better fix for next.
'''DO NOT''' merge next into release/2.8.0 or vice versa. Most likely, there will be commits that are not welcome in or even break the other branch.
=== Bug tracking ===
The [ bugtracker] will be our primary source for the bug fixing period. Bugs reported on the mailing list or forum will not be tracked! Reporters shall be requested to file a bug report at the bugtracker. Bugs shall be assigned a priority and a keyword to make the assignment to a developer easier. Bug reports that can't be confirmed or need more input from the reporter to get fixed will be assigned a new state "stalled" and only processed after more information has been provided. Bugs assigned a high priority will be downgraded, if no progress has been made over a certain amount of time. This is to prevent the release from being blocked by a bug that no developer is able (or willing) to fix. The only exception is "does not compile for one of the major platforms", which certainly is a release-blocker.
=== Open items, questions ===
* Automate and/or document the creation of RC's: "We need to get this automated some day. Or at least documented...(another one from "famous last words": if you have to do it more than once, automate it. If you can't automate it, document it." []
* Automate the creation of Windows and Mac installers
* Possibly try to find a way to automate testing of updated jsbsim code, so that the chance for breakage is reduced by running scripted tests [] []
=== Lessons learned ===This is See [[Release plan/Lessons learned]] for a list of lessons learned from the previous releases, things that turned out well and should be kept for the next release as well as thing that didn't turn out so well and should be changed for future releases. Ideally, the release plan should be updated and augmented so that the lessons learned are incorporated accordingly. ==== 2.12 ===='''Release postponed''': Due to real life constraints and the low number of active core developers, we've hit a fluctuation where pretty much everyone is occupied with something else at the moment. As everybody seems to be caught in some real life trouble, we can't see a better way to get the release out than delaying it for a while.Also, it seems that it will take longer than usual to address any issues found in the RCs. Thus, we have agreed to postpone the upcoming FlightGear 2.12 release by a month, to provide sufficient time to handle release candidates and process end-user feedback. <ref></ref><references/> '''RCs:'''* we should try to get out release candidates earlier to give testers a chance to actually run the RCs []  {{cquote|<nowiki>could we generate a full installation RC package for testing? It would make it easier for testers not familiar with Git to use it, and would be quitehandy for people like myself who do their development on Linux, but have Windows systems available for testing but without the git infrastructure or the time to download the entire git fgdata repository.</nowiki><ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] 2.12 is branched</nowiki>|author=<nowiki>Stuart Buchanan</nowiki>|date=<nowiki>Wed, 21 Aug 2013 07:29:32 -0700</nowiki>}}</ref>|<nowiki>Stuart Buchanan</nowiki>}} {{cquote|<nowiki>Jenkins only does what it's told by the scripts (mostly in fgmeta besides the CMake files) - so we're still at the mercy of missing files in the installer description and so on - I didn't yet automate a 'smoke test'[1] on Jenkins, since that would mean keeping a clean environment to run test installs, and involve several expensive operations since we'd be launching the sim. That's all doable but requires VMs and more energy than I have. In general I've been hoping to get enough people using the nightly builds that an automated smoke-test would be unnecessary but that's probably optimistic</nowiki><ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] 2.12 is branched</nowiki>|author=<nowiki>James Turner</nowiki>|date=<nowiki>Wed, 21 Aug 2013 07:52:59 -0700</nowiki>}}</ref>|<nowiki>James Turner</nowiki>}} {{cquote|<nowiki>MSVC has a very powerful source view level debugging, but at present this fails in some auto-generated ctor/dtor code before it reaches 'main()' so can not be used ;=((. In the Debug build 'new' is replaced with a 'new_dbg' which deliberately fills the allocation with 0xcc... so if a person does NOT initialize ALL variables simple dtor code like 'if (buf) delete buf;' crashes.</nowiki><ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] 2.12 is branched</nowiki>|author=<nowiki>Geoff McLane</nowiki>|date=<nowiki>Wed, 21 Aug 2013 10:04:18 -0700</nowiki>}}</ref>|<nowiki>Geoff McLane</nowiki>}} <references/> '''FGData:'''* Some users reported broken sound configurations for a number of aircraft due to stereo files []* We still keep seeing issues due to aircraft developers contributing resources with files, file names, paths that would break support on OS with case-sensitive OS or a different locale, it would make sense to add some form of automated/scripted validation during startup to detect such issues, without requiring a manual review, possibly through [[Catalog metadata]] [] [] [] '''Usability/GUI:'''* the menubar is increasingly getting a little cluttered, especially the "debug" entry - given the inflexibility of PUI, this also means that there are usability issues, because certain menu items are only accessible with a certain minimal screen resolution, other items cannot be accessed easily. A short term suggestion made, was moving all "Reload X" items into a dedicated "reload" menu, and moving tools to a separate "tools" menu, so help reduce the size of the debug menu [] []  '''Core:'''* There we still some reports about "SQLite API abuse", presumably due to non-English characters in installation paths,maybe the installer could check paths prior to installation? []* Like it used to be the case with detailed log files, most end users are usually very willing to help, but unable to provide backtraces - reconsider adding google breakpad support []* under some circumsances, initial navcache/POI processing took up to 10 minutes, even on powerful Linux boxes with plenty of horsepower and RAM using just the default settings []* the way we are incrementing version numbers in SG_SRC/FG_SRC and FGDATA seems to be causing issues ("base package check failed"), which were reported already during the last release cycles (all the way back to 2.8), even one core developer reported the issue during the 2.10 cycle (many people affected by this seem to be using brisa's download & compile script, but it doesn't appear to be Linux-specific, it also seems to happen on Windows). It seems fgdata version is 2.12 while the SG/FG source trees in next were still looking for 2.11 - could be also because of cmake caching, and the cache not being updated properly once certain files are touched in SG/FG source, still investigating... [] []. The problem seems to be [ this].* some rendering issues related to OSG 3.1.9 were reported [] [] [] []* it would probably be a good idea to explicitly check for the latest supported OSG version in our SG/FG CMakeLists.txt, to ensure that people do not build FG against OSG versions that are not yet supported, with some option to override/disable the check (for developers) [] []* while the delayed tile loading is a big improvement in the responsiveness, delayed loading of models caused issues for helicopter pilots, because they could no longer start on buildings - it might be better to make the new behavior property-configurable through a prop switch, so that helicopters could override the setting during startup in their aircraft-set.xml file [] '''Version numbering:'''{{cquote|There was already a couple of people on IRC confused that 2.12 is different to 2.1.2 (since minor version numbers > 9 are something of a rarity in many people's perception).<ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=James Turner|date=Mon, 24 Jun 2013 14:15:00 -0700}}</ref>|James Turner}} {{cquote|Give our release pattern is date scheduled, an Ubuntu style numbering scheme would actually make more sense, but a bit more effort to move too.<ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=James Turner|date=Mon, 24 Jun 2013 14:15:00 -0700}}</ref>|James Turner}} {{cquote|Externally, 3.0 is going to be considered a bigger deal than 2.12.0.<ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=Stuart Buchanan|date=Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:48:56 -0700}}</ref>|Stuart Buchanan}} {{cquote|I suggest that we zero-pad the minor release digit after 3.0.0 so we have 3.02, 3.04 etc. to reduce confusion if we reach double digits.<ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=Stuart Buchanan|date=Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:48:56 -0700}}</ref>|Stuart Buchanan}} {{cquote|many computer systems sort file names in ascii order, many people don't seem to pay careful attention to where the decimal points are placed, etc. Once we clear past the 2.10, 2.12, etc. series, I'd like to go back to keeping things single digits in the major and minor version numbers and when we run out of a single digits bump up the major number (so 3.8.x -> 4.0.x). Number are numbers, but this one confused a lot more people than I expected it would or should so maybe it's good to be sensitive to that after we clear the 2.x series of versions.<ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=Curtis Olson|date=Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:59:08 -0700}}</ref>|Curtis Olson}} {{cquote|That sounds OK to me, as it would imply a full release every 2.5 years, give a clear flag ahead of time when we're nearing a major release, and save having these discussions in the future. For reference, with the current plan there will be 4 years between 2.0.0 (Feb 2010) was and 3.0.0 (Feb 2014). <ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=Stuart Buchanan|date=Mon, 08 Jul 2013 14:42:16 -0700}}</ref>|Stuart Buchanan}} {{cquote|<nowiki>I've set the version files on 'next' to be 2.99, on the assumption the next release will be 3.0 as discussed.</nowiki><ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>[Flightgear-devel] 2.12 is branched</nowiki>|author=<nowiki>James Turner</nowiki>|date=<nowiki>Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:39:56 -0700</nowiki>}}</ref>|<nowiki>James Turner</nowiki>}} '''Backwards Compatibility:'''{{cquote|I think I sensible step in that case is to keep 3.0 as backward compatible (in terms of Aircraft APIs) with 2.12 as possible, which mostly means my resisting the urge to clean up legacy stuff :) Obviously it's tricky to offer a 100% guarantee, but I don't have anything planned for 3.0 that will require aircraft changes - I'm sure new technologies such as state machines, knob/slider animations and tooltips will mature and gain some new features but hopefully aircraft developers will be able to work against 2.12 with confidence that things will work the same in 3.0<ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=James Turner|date=Wed, 26 Jun 2013 02:49:00 -0700}}</ref>|James Turner}} {{cquote|It's a bit tricky because I haven't had much feedback from aircraft developers about the new APIs (since they aren't in 2.10), but once 2.12 ships we would want to keep them compatible, so fingers crossed the current design is sensible <ref>{{cite web |url=|title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] reminder: entering feature freeze now</nowiki>|author=James Turner|date=Wed, 26 Jun 2013 02:49:00 -0700}}</ref>|James Turner}} ==== 2.10 ===='''!!! NOTE: None of these issues have been incorporated into the release plan yet !!!'''* '''FlightGear Core related ''':** a number of users reported segfaults related to the new flight recorder system [] [] ** the [[Scripted_Compilation_on_Linux_Debian/Ubuntu| download & compile]] script in fgmeta should be updated for each release []** {{Thumbs up}} It is great news if you are able to crank out full installers right from Jenkins. That will save me a bunch of downloading and hours of uploading for every new release candidate [].** But it might be a good idea to create a script that will distribute the new builds to the various mirrors. That way I'm less likely to throttle the build server to 10k/sec []** we could also automatically seed them in BitTorrent, on a Linux box and use "btmakemetafile" which I use here to generate those update packages on [ the tracker] []** {{Improve Release Plan|perform a sync with JSBSim sources before the feature freeze}} [].** {{Improve Release Plan|decide early on if/when navdata can be updated}} []** {{Improve Release Plan|merge requests that didn't make it into the previous release should probably be handled early during the upcoming release cycle}}** {{Improve Release Plan|distro-specific repositories should probably be updated, too}} []** {{Improve Release Plan|the "FlightGear & friends" SuseStudio images should probably be also updated for each release cycle }}[]** every now and then, people raise the issue of the major/minor version numbering scheme being a little confusing to people not familiar with software development, thinking that 2.8 must be newer/better/more recent than 2.11 - using code names or release dates instead was suggested []** there are usually reviews posted on blogs, forums etc after each release - we should specifically collect links to those and evaluate all opinions [] []** {{Improve Release Plan|the release plan should be augmented for the sub-release procedures }}[]** there were a number of navcache/SQLite related issues reported via the issue tracker and the forum/devel list [] [] []** a little irritation/frustration was caused due to the conflicting review statements concerning the new radio propagation code [] [] [] - some of this boiled down to coding style related issues, highlighting the fact that different core developers have different "coding styles" and requirements when reviewing merge requests, because we still lack an official "FlightGear coding style guide" []** according to Windows users, the installer created by jenkins could use some optimizations []** a number of Windows7/Windows8 users reported issues that needed a "force 32/64 bit" workaround during startup [][][]** {{Improve Release Plan|new GUI widgets, new fgcommands and new Nasal APIs should ideally be documented prior the release, at least through updated README files, preferably also through the wiki}}  * '''Better bug reports and troubleshooting''':** show HLA/OpenRTI availability {{fixed since|release=2.11+}} []** add a string property with list of startup arguments used by the user, for use in the about dialog** add a property specifying if the binary is 32/64 bit for use in the about dialog (to check if segfaults are related to 32bit RAM limits)** add a property specifying the CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE variable used during compilation, for use in the about dialog (debug, release, RelWithDbgInfo) []** show the threading mode in use in the about dialog** show average frame rate and frame spacing in about dialog** add a property specifying how much physical RAM is detected (to see if people are running out of RAM) []** is there a portable ARB/WGL extension to determine the amount of dedicated VRAM available ?** try to detect Intel GPUs and Mesa drivers ? (some of the more common issues were related to Intel/Mesa)  * '''Changelog / Release Announcement''':** {{Thumbs up}} Walking through the list of "lessons learned" as part of the "Upcoming release" announcement was useful []** {{Improve Release Plan|Probably it would be even better to directly process all "lessons learned" items and improve the release plan after each release accordingly}}** To get to the 3.0 goal sometime in the near future, it's probably a good idea to [[FlightGear 3.0 backlog|create a backlog of open items in the wiki and link the release plan document to that]]. As usual, we don't have to be perfect for a new major release number. But the new features being the reason for the new major number should work reasonably correct. [] (also see [[:Category:Developer Plans]])** {{Thumbs up}} Posting the link to the changelog for the upcoming release helped writing the changelog early, this should also be done for the [[Hardware Recommendations]] and [[Notebooks known to run FlightGear]] pages probably?** {{Thumbs up}} The changelog can be easily written by using "git log", searching the issue tracker and by going through the last 6 newsletters published since the previous release. It might make sense to explicitly add a "ChangeLog" message to important commits, so that the Changelog can be compiled more easily ?** Alternatively, request developers to add major changes also to $FG_SRC/ChangeLog again (last updated in 2001)?** {{Improve Release Plan|for the web-based release announcement, it would be helpful to have screen shots or even youtube videos to demonstrate new features - get the community involved EARLY}}** {{Improve Release Plan|it may make sense to also allow artwork contributors to contribute new splash screen images for use in the upcoming release. The screen shot contest should provide plenty of options}} [].** {{Improve Release Plan|a screenshot/banner contest should be held early on, so that we can use the images for our promo work-NOT after the release}} []** {{Improve Release Plan|for the changelog we should early on invite volunteers to help translate it, useful for the release promotion}}** {{Improve Release Plan|having dedicated promo videos sounds like a good idea}}, see [] [[Howto:Creating FlightGear Promo Videos]]** The RC announcement should also contain links to 1) the issue tracker and 2) the RC subforum []** Using wiki tagging, we could ensure that we can also tag our wiki documentation after each release, so that we can provide older versions of our docs for old FG versions []** various files in $FG_ROOT haven't been updated in YEARS, either update them in the future, or just get rid of them: THANKS, NEWS, ChangeLog etc * '''Shaders''':** the ATI viewport hack didn't seem enabled in the RCs, as reported by a number of users on the forum []** the ATI viewport hack should only be enabled by default if ATI/AMD hardware is detected [] [][]** we should probably try to detect if software emulated OpenGL is in use (i.e. using Mesa) and show a corresponding warning []** texture compression should be disabled by default [] [] [] [] []** {{Thumbs up}} lowering the default shader level to 1 improved compatibility for older/underpowered systems []** but there were still '''many''' users reporting issues like crashes/segfaults during startup, that seemed affected by changing graphics settings []** we should make sure that the default shader level (and related shaders!) works for all common setups, including ATI/AMD cards (Mac!) and Intel GPUs** {{Improve Release Plan|GLSL shaders and effects should be treated like core code, and should be tested on different platforms before being enabled by default (i.e. signed-off by people using NVIDIA, ATI/AMD, Intel)}} []** {{Improve Release Plan|modified shaders should be tested with other shader-related features to prevent breakage }}[] (there might be a way to automate this a litle by catching GLSL compiler errors?)** to address all the intel GPU related issues, we may want to show an info dialog on computers where /sim/rendering/gl-vendor contains "intel" as a substring and provide an option to disable all shaders []** we probably need a separate article detailing GLSL coding requirements to ensure that portable constructs are used [] so that problematic shaders are not just identified at the end of the release cycle * '''Installer''':** The installer should be updated to show a warning regarding TerraSync update time []** When Flightgear releases a new version, can the staff create a way for the average computer users to install a new version without doing anything to the old version but still use the terrain files from the older version? []** I believe Fred intentionally chose to use the same registry key from one version to the next. Thus if you install a new version over the top of an existing version it will end up in the same path under C:\<PF> []  * '''FGData related (Base Package)''':** accessibility of README files in $FG_ROOT/Docs should be improved for our Win/Mac users [] {{fixed since|release=2.11+}} (by Stuart)** aircraft included in the base package should not require DDS support []** a bunch of Intel GPU related issues were tracked down to be related to texture dimensions beyond 512x512 not being supported, suggested workarounds are mentioned at []** "Funny how the 172P doesn't have it (crash detection via limits.nas). It is something like a default aircraft for the sim, isn't it? Which aircraft are considered the most "finished"?" []** " I'm a bit confused by all the aircraft models in various stages of completion. Even the install package comes with some below-par and alpha stage models. Is there a compiled list of aircraft that are considered "well done"?" []** The default set of airplanes in FG should be the absolute best of the best, simply because that's what a new user is going to be exposed to for their first time. []** Language files should be synced between English and other languages, so translators can work on them before the release ;-)** the [] script in $FG_SRC/scripts/python should be run as part of the release process, to create an updated doc file for [[$FG_ROOT]]/Docs and ship it with each release []** {{Improve Release Plan|New/updated Nasal scripts contributed to the base package should be checked to properly support important features like simulator reset, this also applies to Nasal scripts used by aircraft, Nasal scripts that fail these criteria, end up breaking existing features! }}[] (also see [[Release:Aircraft Selection Criteria]])** {{Thumbs up}} regarding aircraft included in the release: "I must stress usefulness of the Autostart feature, present in most aircraft not running at startup. It keeps frustration away from those who just want to enjoy the flight . (Please note that I actually agree with aircraft being shut down at startup, as long as autostart is present, or the starting procedure is trivially doable by just trying what you see in the cockpit.) " [] (also see [[Release:Aircraft Selection Criteria]])** {{Thumbs up}} also, it would apparently make sense to provide tutorials for the default aircraft: "At first startup, I noticed the "Need help? use help->tutorials" message, and because I had no idea how to start up the plane (it would be just plain try and fail, than try something else), I did just that and started some basic tutorials. I wouldn't say going through the tutorials was frustrating, but they were quite boring and I was eager to get in the air as soon as possible." [] (also see [[Release:Aircraft Selection Criteria]])** "I discovered however, that there can be some problems on Linux about the planes (eg. some versions of the L39 Albatros undergoing several improvements lately). The problems can be caused by Linux being case sensitive about file paths (Windows is not), and I suspect, more models could suffer from some developers not knowing that. It's easy to fix if you know about the problem, but it would better be done on the developer side, as you never know if the smoke is just not implemented or missing due to this. Not to mention how lengthy it would be to go through more aircraft..." []** Docs: Relevant FlightGear paths should ideally not be "hard-coded" in the manual, but rather also configured via the build system, i.e. using cmake, so that the FG/SG cmake configuration can be shared, to automatically update the correct paths without requiring manual maintenance [] * '''Usability''':** the huge number of ads placed on the official website, and the non-intuitive layout of the website caused quite some irritation, not only among new users, but also among seasoned long-time contributors - has been repeatedly described as leaving the impression of even being a "scam" [] []** {{Thumbs down}} A little downside is how the FGcom is done as a standalone program just cooperating with FG itself. It took me some fiddling with the settings for about two hours to get it working, but again installation was simply done from repos (FGcom and than FGcomGui as well). [] (this is planned [])** {{Thumbs down}} Most likely because of the Intel graphics, I suffered for a long time from a problem with aircraft models (and some ground textures too) being black or missing some parts (see my post in an older thread complaining about similar problem). I solved it by adding a command line option turning off texture compression. [] (also see [[Release:Aircraft Selection Criteria]])<!--** I also vote for hosting a non-GPL hangar on the FG site, and tighter coordination with the aircraft developers (I think they should be asked to actively propose their models to the hangar once it is created, of course there could be link to their site/hangar). It would help nice models to be more easily found, an more people could enjoy them. And that's why people spend time creating them, right? []-->** We should probably add a new menu to the menubar for our online resources (wiki, forum, issue tracker, FAQ) so that people more easily find important resources just by selecting them from a menu.<!--** Our GUI dialogs are currently not designed with a fixed resolution in mind, also they cannot be easily resized/changed, so that some dialogs may not be usable under certain circumstances [][] We should ensure that all dialogs can be used with the recommended minimal screen size, or even better, provide a way to dynamically make dialogs resizable/tabbed to support smaller screen devices (like netbooks). This should be easier with the upcoming [[Canvas GUI]] system.--> * '''Release Candidates''':** a number of users reported crashes, for better debugging support, consider linking in Google BreakPad (cross platform stack traces) []** Release Candidates should probably have a higher default logging level while writing everything to a log file that can be easily shared via the issue tracker/forums, so that end users can provide better bug reports.** some users reported "OpenGL out of memory" and "out of space" errors when testing the RCs, we may want to link in a leak detector library or simply add BoehmGC - which is used by Mozilla to track leaking subsystems (a runtime log is created and dumped at process termination), that way non-developers could provide better leak reports. [] [] []** How about having a test run a week or two in advance, just to make sure we can indeed produce release installers for Win+Mac - and then release the first RC on December 17th/18th or 19th []** We've already got a fairly extensive lead-in time for the release. More testers on more platforms would seem to be the answer. Perhaps we should advertize for testers of those platforms that aren't adequately covered by developers running git? Making a complete package available, not just the binaries would help, as testers wouldn't need to be git-aware. []** {{Improve Release Plan|The main area to improve is to distribute release candidates for all platforms earlier - preferably starting immediately after the freeze. That would already give us more time for testing - without extending the actual freeze period.}}[]** {{Improve Release Plan|aircraft packages should be prepared prior to the official release date: "For the 2.8 release I didn't start making aircraft download packages (or uploading them to the ftp servers) until after the official release date which was a mistake"}} []** {{Improve Release Plan|RC's should probably be built with [[Built-in Profiler]] support enabled}} [].** {{Improve Release Plan|When releasing RC's do not limit them to Win/Mac binaries, but also create source snapshots so that distros can already work on the next package versions.}}** {{Improve Release Plan|For RC's it might make sense to distribute binaries with debugging symbols included}} and [[Built-in Profiler|profiling support enabled]], so that people can more easily provide useful bug reports, or even backtraces.** Also, many end users still prefer using the forum for making bug reports and don't use the issue tracker - it might help to add a link (button) to the issue tracker to the about dialog or maybe even directly to the help menu ("Report an issue") (same for wiki/troubleshooting/faq ?)** {{Improve Release Plan|it might make sense to give wider exposure to our RCs, i.e. via the newsletter - possibly by adjusting the release schedule}}** actually, it would even seem better to use our [[Release promotion]] checklist to send out an "Upcoming Release" announcement 4-6 weeks prior to the actual release, so that all the flightsim websites can notify their users to participate in RC beta testing.** a number of forum users reported that the RC/release mirrors were a real bottleneck, and that downloading the 800MB RC installer would often take 2-3 hours (using torrents instead was suggested)** it also seemed that a number of users had issues related to their browser corrupting the huge image download [] (website should suggest to use a download manager instead!)** so reducing the size of the installer (i.e. base package) would seem like another good idea to give our RCs wider exposure, for example by focusing only on 2-3 aircraft** certain reported issues were really tricky to reproduce, we may want to provide an option to export crucial runtime settings to an XML file that can be easily shared with other testers/developers, or even extend the new flight recorder/replay tape system accordingly []** it might be good if the forum release-candidates announcement mentions that tests and bug-reports should be done with a clean install of the release-candidate, with no third-party data used in tests. * '''Build related''':* A normal Linux user has practically no chance to get last stable on his box running if it isn't in his distro - a normal Windows user gets everything nice and streamlined. []* According to the issue tracker there were 3-5 different contributors who provided C++ patches that didn't end up reviewed/merged, which caused some irritation. ==== 2.8 ====* {{Thumbs down}} Lack of stress-testing: A number of users reported severe memory growth issues (with fgfs consuming as much as 14gb of RAM), many directly related to new features, such as random buildings: [] [] [] [] These could have probably been identified earlier by running FG for extended periods of time, and testing the shipped aircraft with the default KSFO scenery, and new features such as random buildings enabled.* {{Thumbs down}} Lack of graceful feature scaling: Several users with old graphics cards reported not being able to run FG 2.8 without crashing during startup, because the FG defaults didn't scale for old hardware []* {{Thumbs down}} According to it seems that the NOAA metar source got phased out in 04/2012 and moved to a new URL[], some users reported issues related to this[]. However, the metar URL is currently hard-coded in the fgfs/metar source code - in addition, the default format is no longer a plain text dump []. It would make sense to make the URL a string property that can be put into preferences.xml and then use a Nasal listener to parse the resulting XML/HTML and set a plain text property instead, that can be processed by the existing metar code.* {{Thumbs down}} [ Broken OSX downloads]* {{Thumbs down}} [ the OSX 10.8 release and code signing caused some irritation]* {{Thumbs down}} [ After the 2.8 release a number of users on the forums reported seeing GLSL related errors, because some of the 2.8 shaders used GLSL features only supported by more recent GLSL compilers/drivers - it would probably make sense to test all shader settings on all 3 platforms and check if they cause any errors (and "backport" shaders as necessary). Apple/Mac OSX seems to be more problematic]* {{Thumbs down}} [ Microsoft Redistributables were apparently not shipped with the Windows installer ?]* {{Thumbs down}} [ The changelog should be written as early as possible]* The code freeze could probably be lifted for patches that are not normally enabled/used by any default code paths (or shipped aircraft) in a FlightGear release. This probably involves Nasal extension functions, fgcommands, telnet commands, but also custom hard coded instruments or instrumentation-related APIs (think Canvas). Basically, whenever there's no chance to break a release by committing a certain patch, because the code path will not be executed by default without explicitly enabling it. For 2.8, this also meant that the Nasal [[Canvas]] API could not be included due to the code freeze, which however wasn't used by any systems or aircraft - so that there would have been zero chance for breakage [] [].* The wiki contains a number of resources to help new users with hardware decisions, such as [[Hardware Recommendations]] [[Notebooks known to run FlightGear]] and [[Supported Video Cards]] - these should probably be updated for each release several weeks in advance. ==== 2.6 ====* {{Thumbs up}} feature freeze in general*: helped a lot during release management. Kept the commit traffic low and thus helped identifying those commits required to pick into the release.* {{Thumbs down}} feature freeze for aircraft*: Technically, a feature freeze for aircraft is not necessary as long as this aircraft is not part of the base distribution and no common parts are affected. If it's guaranteed that the changes remain in FGDATA/Aircraft/MyAircraft and no other files are touched, these updates should be OK up to shortly before the release.* {{Thumbs down}} switching to a new version of supporting libraries like OSG.*: The move to OSG 3.x introduced some major issues. If at all possible, switch to a new library early in the development cycle.* {{Thumbs down}} manual creation of release candidates and the release binaries*: It's preferable to have equal numbers for release candidates for all O/S and probably a git-tag for each candidate.* {{Thumbs down}} release date/time frame*: It took several days to release all the subparts. Might be better to upload all files and pages to hidden folders and publish them all at once (or at least within a couple of hours). That'll have several advantages:*:* no big difference between releases for the various OS.*:* the website will switch to the new release state quickly. With 2.6.0, the aircraft page was published before the setup. The release announcement was published even later.
[[Category:Core developer documentation]]

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