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 new release.
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{{GitStatus}}
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{{Release}}
  
[[File:ReleasePlan.jpg|thumb|250px|The original plan]]
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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.
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>. Please discuss this concept at the mailing-list.
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[[File:ReleasePlan.jpg|thumb|250px|The original release plan.]]
 +
FlightGear has had multiple release plans over [[FlightGear History|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 [[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.
  
=== General Release Concept ===
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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.
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.  
 
  
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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== 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.
  
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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== Version numbers ==
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FlightGear version numbers consist of three digits, separated by dots:
  
=== Version Numbers ===
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* '''Year''' (<u>2020</u>.1.0): The year the version was released.
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).
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* '''Number''' (2020.<u>1</u>.0): Which release of the year the version is.
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).
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* '''Revision''' (2020.1.<u>0</u>): The patch revision on that release.
  
The Major version number will be increased after significant changes to the functionality of the software.
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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.}}
  
=== Detailed Time Schedule and Checklist ===
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== Detailed time schedule and checklist ==
# Dec/Jun 17th: Development stream is declared "frozen" or "yellow".
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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.
#: Send a mail to the flightgear-devel mailing-list to announce the state.
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# A series of "preview" releases generated for cutting edge users. For each release:
# Jan/Jul 17th: Create new release branch, assign new version number to dev-stream, re-open streams
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## A release branch is cut from "next". E.g. release/2021.1
##Send a mail to the flightgear-devel mail-list, asking not to commit/push anything, declare the streams "closed" or "red"
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## The version files are incremented. 
##Bump up the version-number of simgear/next, flightgear/next and fgdata/master to an even number (2.3.0 -> 2.4.0)
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## Builds are generated.
##Compile and test drive FlightGear with the new version-number
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# When a new LTS preview is declared (after ~12 months):
##Commit the new version number to next (flightgear+simgear) and master(fgdata)
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## A release branch is cut from "next".  E.g. release/2022.1
##Tag (annotated) flightgear, simgear and fgdata with "version/2.4.0"
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## The version files are incremented.
##:''git tag -a version/2.4.0'' (Enter a wise comment)
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## Builds are generated for the preview LTS.  Testing of aircraft against these releases is strongly encouraged.
##Create the release branches on simgear, flightgear and fgdata named release/2.4.0
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## Additional branches are created for subsequent releases from the original release branch (e.g. release/2022.1 -> release/2022.2)
##:''git branch release/2.4.0''
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## Fixes are merged into the release branch as well as "next"
##On the next/master branches, bump up the version-number of simgear, flightgear and fgdata to an odd number (2.4.0 -> 2.5.0)
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## Further builds and release are generated until an LTS is declared (e.g release/2022.3).
##Compile and test drive FlightGear with the new development version number
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## fgaddon is branched and a new catalog generated.
##Commit the changes of version-number to next/master
 
##Tag (annotated) flightgear, simgear and fgdata with "version/2.5.0"
 
##:''git tag -a version/2.5.0'' (Enter a wise comment)
 
##Push the branches next/master '''and''' release/2.4.0 '''and''' the tags upstream
 
##:for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: ''git push origin release/2.4.0''
 
##:for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: ''git push origin version/2.4.0''
 
##:for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: ''git push origin version/2.5.0''
 
##:for flightgear and simgear: ''git push origin next''
 
##:for fgdata: ''git push origin master''
 
## declare dev-streams "open" or "green"
 
##:Send a mail to the flightgear-devel mailing-list to announce the state.
 
## Trigger James for the Jenkins-builds and Curt for a snapshot release
 
# Feb/Aug 17th: Create binaries/installers, pack fgdata, publish files, announce new version, close the release-branch
 
##Tag the release/2.4.0 branches of simgear, flightgear and fgdata.
 
##Merge the branch release/2.4.0 into '''master''' (<u>'''NOT'''</u> next) for flightgear and simgear
 
##:We don't have a next branch for fgdata, no merging of the release branch here.
 
  
=== To bump up the version number ===
 
* fgdata
 
** edit the ''version'' file
 
* SimGear
 
** edit the ''version'' file
 
* FlightGear
 
** edit the ''version'' file
 
** edit ''CMakeLists.txt''
 
**: change the line '''find_package(SimGear 2.5.0 REQUIRED)'''
 
** edit ''src/Main/main.cxx''
 
**: change the line '''static char required_version[] = "2.5.0";'''
 
  
=== Definition of Stream States ===
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== Version files ==
* Open/Green
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; FGData: {{fgdata file|version}}
: Normal development of the code base and fgdata. Unrestricted (well, sort of) access to the streams. This state lasts for five month after the release branches were created.
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; SimGear: {{simgear file|simgear-version}}
* Frozen/Yellow
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; FlightGear: {{flightgear file|flightgear-version}}
*:No new features or major changes shall be pushed onto the development streams (neither source nor data). This period is for preparing the code for the release and make sure there are no major issues. It lasts for four weeks until creation of the release branches.
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<!--
* Closed/Red
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== Bug fix committing policy ==
*:Nothing shall be pushed to the development streams (simgear, flightgear and fgdata). This state is for creating the release branches. It lasts for just a few hours on Jan 17th and Jul 17th around 12:00 UTC.
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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)
  
=== Bug fix committing policy ===
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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.
Fixes for bugs during the shakedown test of the release branch may be applied to the branches next or release/2.4.0.
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-->
A fix goes into release/2.4.0 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.  
 
A fix goes into next if it is also solves an issue for the next version. Cherry-pick this commit into the release/2.4.0 branch.
 
  
'''DO NOT''' merge next into release/2.4.0 or vice versa. Most likely, there will be commits that are not welcome in or even break the other branch.
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== 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.
  
=== Bug Tracking ===
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<!--
The [http://flightgear-bugs.googlecode.com 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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=== Tasks and owners ===
  
=== Legacy ===
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The following table should be updated and augmented after each release, according to the [[Release plan#Lessons learned|Lessons learned]] section below.
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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{| class="wikitable"
(taskowners not yet assigned)
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! Stage
* Announce the state-change of the dev-streams
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! width="500px" | Task
* Create/maintain the git branches
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! Owner(s)
* Track the bugs on the tracker, trigger developers, adjust bug-priorities
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|-
* Beta testing
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! rowspan="7" | Preparation
* Update documentation: [[FAQ]], [https://gitorious.org/fg/getstart GetStart], wiki
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| Announce the state-change of the dev-streams, '''cross-post to JSBSim list''' (see lessons learned!)
* Pack RC and final version of FGDATA
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| TorstenD
* Create the RC and final version (source-tarball)
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|-
* Create the RC and final version for Linux
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| Create/maintain the git branches
* Create the RC and final version for Windows
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| TorstenD
* Create the RC and final version for MacOS
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|-
* Distribute files to download servers
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| Track the bugs on the tracker, trigger developers, adjust bug-priorities
* Make adjustments on the web-site
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| ThorstenB, Gijs, James, ...
** Collect/make screenshots for the gallery
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|-
* Announce the new version to the public
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| Sync the language files so they can be translated
** Write a changelog: [[Changelog 2.4.0]]
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| ThorstenB, James
** Contact flightsim websites and send them/link them to a "press release"
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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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| 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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! 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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|}
  
=== Open Items, Questions ===
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== Open items, questions ==
* <s>Can Jenkins create binaries (RC) from the release branch?</s> Binaries: yes, installers: semiautomatic (Curt &amp; Tat)
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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>
* <s>If not, how often will we create RC?</s> Weekly
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* Automate the creation of fgdata distribution
* Surely the beta testing rôle could/should be undertaken by selected members the community - selected based on their ability to write clearly and to write usefully. (computer specifications, errors from the console, and other pieces of useful objective information - no subjective rot such as "it doesn't work")
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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>
** Surely not! The more people beta-test our release candidates, the better.
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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}}
 +
</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]]
 +
 
 +
== 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 (-33 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