Difference between revisions of "Release plan"

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This page contains details about how to release a new version of FlightGear into the wild. It is a continous work in progress to be improved with every every new release.
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{{GitStatus}}
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{{Release}}
  
If you think you have something to contribute to the release process, feel free to edit this page. Please discuss this concept at the mailing-list.
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The '''release plan''' is the process by which a new version of [[FlightGear]] is released. The release plan is actually a continual work-in-progress, and is refined with every new release and how much available resource and interest there is.
  
=== General Release Concept ===
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[[File:ReleasePlan.jpg|thumb|250px|The original release plan.]]
New FlightGear releases will be 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 a prime, 7 is a prime and so is 17). On the 17th of January (1) and July (7) a new release branch will be created for SimGear, FlightGear and FGDATA.  
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FlightGear has had multiple release plans over [[FlightGear History|history]].  
After branching, we will allow one month for bug fixing in the release branch, so building and packing of the binaries and FGDATA will take place around February, 18th and August, 18th. Allowing a few days for distribution of the files, new versions should be publically available around the 20th of February and August.  
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* Originally, releases were sporadic, irregular and took many months of manual preparation.
The development stream of SimGear, FlightGear and FGDATA will be 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 are requested not to add any new features, subsystems or alike. 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.  
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* Subsequently a release plan was developed by Mathias Fröhlich, Martin Spott, Thorsten Brehm and Torsten Dreyer during [[LinuxTag]] 2011.  
 +
* A more regular plan was proposed by Torsten Dreyer after the 3.6 release was [[FlightGear Newsletter November 2015#FlightGear v3.6 canceled|cancelled]].
 +
* Currently "Long Term Support" (LTS) releases are generated every ~24 months, with intermittent "preview" releases between them which receive less testing and support.
  
=== Version Numbers ===
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To suggest improvements and/or changes to the release plan, it is recommended to get in touch via the [[mailing list]]. Improvements can be based on the [[Release plan/Lessons learned|lessons learned]] from previous releases. However, do not underestimate the amount of effort go create a new release!  Most of the burden falls on a few people.
Releases will have even version numbers (2.2.0, 2.4.0, 2.6.0), bugfix releases will increase their least significant digit (2.2.0, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3).
 
The Development stream uses odd version numbers and is usually on number higher than the current release (Released is 2.4.0, development stream is 2.5.0, next release will be 2.6.0).
 
The Major version number will be increased after significant changes to the functionality of the software.
 
  
=== Detailed Time Schedule ===
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== General release concept ==
1) Dec/Jun 17th: Development stream is declared "frozen" or "red".
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At any given time there are two release "stream":
2) Jan/Jul 17th: Create new Release branch, assign new version number to dev-stream, 3) declare dev-stream "open" or "green", create binaries for RC0 from release-branch
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* A Long Term Support (LTS) release stream.  This is a stable release to which bug fixes are applied, and will be active for up to two years.  Most users and aircraft developers use this release.  Currently 2020.3.
Feb/Aug 17th: Create binaries/installers, pack fgdata, publish files, announce new version, declare release-branch "closed"
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* A "preview" release, based on the development branch "next".  This is for those interested in the latest developments.  There is not currently a preview release.
  
From step 1) to step 2), no new features or major changes shall be pushed onto the development stream (neither source nor data). This period is for preparing the code for the release and make sure there are no major issues.
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== Version numbers ==
After step 2) to the next step 1), development on the next/master stream is open again for any change. Bugfixes for this release go into the release branch only and gets a better fix in the dev-stream. Fixes that need to be in both branches go into the release branch and get backported into the next/master my merging, cherry-picking or whatever method applies (note: this needs to be discussed).
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FlightGear version numbers consist of three digits, separated by dots:
  
=== Bug Tracking ===
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* '''Year''' (<u>2020</u>.1.0): The year the version was released.
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.
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* '''Number''' (2020.<u>1</u>.0): Which release of the year the version is.
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* '''Revision''' (2020.1.<u>0</u>): The patch revision on that release.
  
=== Legacy ===
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{{note|In general, release are referred to by their first two digits (e.g., 2020.3). However, when filing a bug report or debugging problems, it is a good idea to give the full release number.}}
The current branch for the never release version 2.2.0 will be left untouched. No release will be created from this branch. The next/master branches will receive a new development version number 2.3.0 soon. The first release branch will be created on Jul, 17th 2011. The first freeze for the branches will be announced on Jun, 17th 2011. If everything goes well, Version 2.4.0 will be available around Aug, 18th 2011.
 
  
=== Tasks and Owners ===
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== Detailed time schedule and checklist ==
(taskowners not yet assigned)
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# Just after an LTS is generated, the next default airport is decided on by a poll on the forum. The next LTS release will be named after it.
* Announce the state-change of the dev-streams
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# A series of "preview" releases generated for cutting edge users. For each release:
* Create/maintain the git branches
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## A release branch is cut from "next".  E.g. release/2021.1
* Track the bugs on the tracker, trigger developers, adjust bug-priorities
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## The version files are incremented. 
* Create the RC and final version (source-tarball)
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## Builds are generated.
* Create the RC and final version for Linux
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# When a new LTS preview is declared (after ~12 months):
* Create the RC and final version for Windows
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## A release branch is cut from "next".  E.g. release/2022.1
* Create the RC and final version for MacOS
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## The version files are incremented. 
* Distribute files to download servers
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## Builds are generated for the preview LTS.  Testing of aircraft against these releases is strongly encouraged.
* Make adjustments on the web-site
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## Additional branches are created for subsequent releases from the original release branch (e.g. release/2022.1 -> release/2022.2)
* Announce the new version to the public
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## Fixes are merged into the release branch as well as "next"
 +
## Further builds and release are generated until an LTS is declared (e.g release/2022.3). 
 +
## fgaddon is branched and a new catalog generated.
  
=== Open Items, Questions ===
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* Can Hudson create binaries (RC) from the release branch?
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== Version files ==
* If not, how often will we create RC?
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; FGData: {{fgdata file|version}}
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; SimGear: {{simgear file|simgear-version}}
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; FlightGear: {{flightgear file|flightgear-version}}
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<!--
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== Bug fix committing policy ==
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Fixes for bugs during the preview release are applied to both "next" and the release branch (e.g. release/2022.2)
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 +
'''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.
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-->
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 +
== Bug tracking ==
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The [http://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/codetickets/ bugtracker] is the primary source of bug reports. Unlike the forum or mailing list, bugs reported there will be tracked, making it easier for developers to keep up with them. When reporting bugs, it is best to provide as much information as possible to more easily find the bug. If you can provide a backtrace, please do so and attach it to the bug report. When creating backtraces, please use "thread apply all bt full" at the gdb command prompt.
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<!--
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=== Tasks and owners ===
 +
 
 +
The following table should be updated and augmented after each release, according to the [[Release plan#Lessons learned|Lessons learned]] section below.
 +
 
 +
{| class="wikitable"
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! Stage
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! width="500px" | Task
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! Owner(s)
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|-
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! rowspan="7" | Preparation
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| Announce the state-change of the dev-streams, '''cross-post to JSBSim list''' (see lessons learned!)
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| TorstenD
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|-
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| Create/maintain the git branches
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| TorstenD
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|-
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| Track the bugs on the tracker, trigger developers, adjust bug-priorities
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| ThorstenB, Gijs, James, ...
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|-
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| Sync the language files so they can be translated
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| ThorstenB, James
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|-
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| Beta testing
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| '''EVERYBODY'''
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|-
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| Update documentation: [[FAQ]], [https://www.gitorious.org/fg/getstart/ The Manual], wiki
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| Stuart, Gijs and anyone else
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|-
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| Pack RC and final version of fgdata
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|
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|-
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! rowspan="5" | Create the RC and final version
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| Source-tarball
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| Curt
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|-
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| Linux
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| ThorstenB (for openSUSE)
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|-
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| Windows
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| Curt
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|-
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| MacOS
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| Tat/James
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|-
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| Distribute files to download servers
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| Curt
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|-
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! rowspan="3" | Make adjustments on the web-site
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| Collect/make screenshots for the gallery
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| Curt
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|-
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| Generate aircraft page
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| Curt, Gijs
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|-
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| Tag the [http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php?title=Talk:Next_newsletter&action=edit&section=45 newsletter template] according to the released version
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<nowiki>[[Category:Changes after 2.12]]</nowiki>
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| Hooray, Gijs, Stuart (other wiki admins)
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|-
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! rowspan="2" | Announce the new version to the public
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| Write a changelog: [[Next changelog]]
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| All developers/contributors
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|-
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| Contact flightsim websites and send them/link them to the "press announcement". See [[release promotion]] for a list of already-contacted and yet-to-contact websites/magazines.
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| '''EVERYBODY'''
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|}
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== Open items, questions ==
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* 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."<ref>{{Cite web |url=http://www.mail-archive.com/flightgear-devel@lists.sourceforge.net/msg39205.html |title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] Release candidates</nowiki> |author=Torsten Dreyer |date=29 January 2013}}</ref>
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* Automate the creation of fgdata distribution
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* 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 <ref>{{Cite web |url=http://www.mail-archive.com/flightgear-devel@lists.sourceforge.net/msg39109.html |title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] [Jsbsim-devel] JSBSim Synch with FlightGear</nowiki> |author=Torsten Dreyer |date=13 January 2013}}</ref><ref>{{Cite web |url=http://www.mail-archive.com/flightgear-devel@lists.sourceforge.net/msg40201.html |title=<nowiki>Re: [Flightgear-devel] JSBSim Synch with FlightGear</nowiki> |author=Anders Gidenstam |date=11 June 2013}}</ref><ref>
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{{Cite web |url=http://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/mailman/message/31762085/
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|title=<nowiki>Release preparations - feature freeze starts today</nowiki> |author=Anders Gidenstam |date=2013-12-17 19:46:48}}
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</ref>
 +
 
 +
-->
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 +
== Lessons learned ==
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See [[Release plan/Lessons learned]] for a list of 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.
 +
<!-- {{Appendix}} -->
 +
 
 +
== Wiki articles that should be updated ==
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 +
See [[:Category:Articles to be updated for each release]]
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 +
== Related content ==
 +
=== Mailing lists ===
 +
* {{cite web
 +
|url = http://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/mailman/message/34701971/
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|title = <nowiki>[Flightgear-devel] Release 3.8</nowiki>
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|author = Torsten Dreyer
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|date = Dec 17th, 2015
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}}
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 +
[[Category:Core developer documentation]]
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[[Category:FlightGear]]
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[[Category:Release plans]]

Latest revision as of 17:20, 22 January 2021

Current release: 2020.3 (6 Nov 2020)
Next release: 2021.1 (-101 days from now)
See release plan for details.

The release plan is the process by which a new version of FlightGear is released. The release plan is actually a continual work-in-progress, and is refined with every new release and how much available resource and interest there is.

The original release plan.

FlightGear has had multiple release plans over history.

  • Originally, releases were sporadic, irregular and took many months of manual preparation.
  • Subsequently a release plan was developed by Mathias Fröhlich, Martin Spott, Thorsten Brehm and Torsten Dreyer during LinuxTag 2011.
  • A more regular plan was proposed by Torsten Dreyer after the 3.6 release was cancelled.
  • Currently "Long Term Support" (LTS) releases are generated every ~24 months, with intermittent "preview" releases between them which receive less testing and support.

To suggest improvements and/or changes to the release plan, it is recommended to get in touch via the mailing list. Improvements can be based on the lessons learned from previous releases. However, do not underestimate the amount of effort go create a new release! Most of the burden falls on a few people.

General release concept

At any given time there are two release "stream":

  • A Long Term Support (LTS) release stream. This is a stable release to which bug fixes are applied, and will be active for up to two years. Most users and aircraft developers use this release. Currently 2020.3.
  • A "preview" release, based on the development branch "next". This is for those interested in the latest developments. There is not currently a preview release.

Version numbers

FlightGear version numbers consist of three digits, separated by dots:

  • Year (2020.1.0): The year the version was released.
  • Number (2020.1.0): Which release of the year the version is.
  • Revision (2020.1.0): The patch revision on that release.
Note  In general, release are referred to by their first two digits (e.g., 2020.3). However, when filing a bug report or debugging problems, it is a good idea to give the full release number.

Detailed time schedule and checklist

  1. Just after an LTS is generated, the next default airport is decided on by a poll on the forum. The next LTS release will be named after it.
  2. A series of "preview" releases generated for cutting edge users. For each release:
    1. A release branch is cut from "next". E.g. release/2021.1
    2. The version files are incremented.
    3. Builds are generated.
  3. When a new LTS preview is declared (after ~12 months):
    1. A release branch is cut from "next". E.g. release/2022.1
    2. The version files are incremented.
    3. Builds are generated for the preview LTS. Testing of aircraft against these releases is strongly encouraged.
    4. Additional branches are created for subsequent releases from the original release branch (e.g. release/2022.1 -> release/2022.2)
    5. Fixes are merged into the release branch as well as "next"
    6. Further builds and release are generated until an LTS is declared (e.g release/2022.3).
    7. fgaddon is branched and a new catalog generated.


Version files

FGData
fgdata/version
SimGear
simgear/simgear-version
FlightGear
flightgear/flightgear-version

Bug tracking

The bugtracker is the primary source of bug reports. Unlike the forum or mailing list, bugs reported there will be tracked, making it easier for developers to keep up with them. When reporting bugs, it is best to provide as much information as possible to more easily find the bug. If you can provide a backtrace, please do so and attach it to the bug report. When creating backtraces, please use "thread apply all bt full" at the gdb command prompt.


Lessons learned

See Release plan/Lessons learned for a list of 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.

Wiki articles that should be updated

See Category:Articles to be updated for each release

Related content

Mailing lists