Difference between revisions of "Release plan"

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* Track the bugs on the tracker, trigger developers, adjust bug-priorities
* Track the bugs on the tracker, trigger developers, adjust bug-priorities
* Beta testing
* Beta testing
* Update documentation: [[FAQ]], [https://gitorious.org/fg/getstart GetStart], wiki
* Update documentation: [[FAQ]], [https://www.gitorious.org/fg/getstart/ The Manual], wiki
* Pack RC and final version of FGDATA
* Pack RC and final version of FGDATA
* Create the RC and final version (source-tarball)
* Create the RC and final version (source-tarball)

Revision as of 18:53, 6 October 2011

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.

The original plan

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 edit this page. Please discuss this concept at the mailing-list.

General Release Concept

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 not 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.

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.

Version Numbers

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 one 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 and Checklist

  1. Dec/Jun 17th: Development stream is declared "frozen" or "yellow".
    Send a mail to the flightgear-devel mailing-list to announce the state.
  2. Jan/Jul 17th: Create new release branch, assign new version number to dev-stream, re-open streams
    1. Send a mail to the flightgear-devel mail-list, asking not to commit/push anything, declare the streams "closed" or "red"
    2. Bump up the version-number of simgear/next, flightgear/next and fgdata/master to an even number (2.5.0 -> 2.6.0)
    3. Compile and test drive FlightGear with the new version-number
    4. Commit the new version number to next (flightgear+simgear) and master(fgdata)
    5. Tag (annotated) flightgear, simgear and fgdata with "version/2.6.0"
      git tag -a version/2.6.0 (Enter a wise comment)
    6. Create the release branches on simgear, flightgear and fgdata named release/2.6.0
      git branch release/2.6.0
    7. On the next/master branches, bump up the version-number of simgear, flightgear and fgdata to an odd number (2.6.0 -> 2.7.0)
    8. Compile and test drive FlightGear with the new development version number
    9. Commit the changes of version-number to next/master
    10. Tag (annotated) flightgear, simgear and fgdata with "version/2.7.0"
      git tag -a version/2.7.0 (Enter a wise comment)
    11. Push the branches next/master and release/2.6.0 and the tags upstream
      for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: git push origin release/2.6.0
      for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: git push origin version/2.6.0
      for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: git push origin version/2.7.0
      for flightgear and simgear: git push origin next
      for fgdata: git push origin master
    12. declare dev-streams "open" or "green"
      Send a mail to the flightgear-devel mailing-list to announce the state.
    13. Trigger James for the Jenkins-builds and Curt for a snapshot release
  3. Feb/Aug 1st: Start preparing the release notes and a press announcement
  4. Feb/Aug 17th: Create binaries/installers, pack fgdata, publish files, announce new version, close the release-branch
    1. Tag the release/2.6.0 branches of simgear, flightgear and fgdata and push the tags.
      for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: git tag version/2.6.0-final
      for flighgear, simgear and fgdata: git push origin version/2.6.0-final
    2. Merge the branch release/2.6.0 into master (NOT next) for flightgear and simgear and push the branch
      We don't have a next branch for fgdata, no merging of the release branch here.
      for flighgear and simgear:
      git checkout -b master origin/master or git checkout master if you already have the local branch
      git merge version/2.6.0-final
      git push origin master

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";
    • edit configure.ac
      change the line AC_MSG_CHECKING([for SimGear 2.5.0 or newer])

Definition of Stream States

  • Open/Green
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.
  • Frozen/Yellow
    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.
  • Closed/Red
    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.

Bug fix committing policy

Fixes for bugs during the shakedown test of the release branch may be applied to the branches next or release/2.6.0. A fix goes into release/2.6.0 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/2.6.0 branch.

DO NOT merge next into release/2.6.0 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.

Bugs that were present in the latest stable release, and now considered "fixed", should be assigned a milestone label, corresponding with the upcoming stable release number. By doing so, they'll end up in the list of fixed bugs.


The branch for version 2.2.0 will be left untouched. No release has ever been created from this branch. The last official release was made from branch release/2.4.0, tag version/2.4.0-final. If everything goes well, version 2.6.0 will be available around Jan, 18th 2012.

Tasks and Owners

(taskowners not yet assigned)

  • Announce the state-change of the dev-streams
  • Create/maintain the git branches
  • Track the bugs on the tracker, trigger developers, adjust bug-priorities
  • Beta testing
  • Update documentation: FAQ, The Manual, wiki
  • Pack RC and final version of FGDATA
  • Create the RC and final version (source-tarball)
  • Create the RC and final version for Linux
  • Create the RC and final version for Windows
  • Create the RC and final version for MacOS
  • Distribute files to download servers
  • Make adjustments on the web-site
    • Collect/make screenshots for the gallery
  • Announce the new version to the public
    • Write a changelog: Changelog 2.6.0
    • Contact flightsim websites and send them/link them to a "press release"

Open Items, Questions

  • Automate the creation of Windows and Mac installers
  • Automate the creation of FGDATA distribution

Lessons Learned

This is a list of lessons learned from the previous release, things that turned out well and should be kept for the next release as well as thing thad didn't turn out so well and should be changed for future releases.

  • Good: 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.
  • Not so good: 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.
  • Not so good: 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.
  • Not so good: 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.