Release plan

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Current release: 2020.3 (6 Nov 2020)
Next release: 2021.1 (-181 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.

The original release plan.

FlightGear has had two release plans over history. The original release plan was developed by Mathias Fröhlich, Martin Spott, Thorsten Brehm and Torsten Dreyer during LinuxTag 2011. The current plan was proposed by Torsten Dreyer after the 3.6 release was cancelled.

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.

General release concept

Cquote1.png Hi Everybody,

Today, December 17th would be the day to announce the feature freeze for 3.8 if we were following the usual release schedule.

A while ago I proposed a change in that schedule and I have spent some time on preparing the scripts for an automated release process since then. I think I have pretty much everything ready to go for automated releases and now I'd like to give it a first try for the 3.8 release next year.

For the first execution, I'd like to trigger the scripts manually on my local machine instead of Jenkins to have some better control of it. If it works out as expected, I'll put this onto our Jenkins server afterwards to be executed automatically for the release following after 3.8.

For now, I propose the following and would do so if nobody objects:

  • There is no feature freeze for the next (3.8) and the following releases
  • On Jan., 17th I trigger my first script to create release/3.8 branches with version 3.8.1 (!)
  • Immediately after that I let Jenkins create the binaries for 3.8.1 and we have our first release
  • Patches going into the release/3.8 branch automatically trigger a new build with a previous increase of the micro version number (3.8.2, 3.8.3,..) and we immediately have a bugfix release
  • On 'next', version numbers go to 3.9.0
  • Nightly builds are created from next after every push in that branch

After a to-be-defined period (my proposal: 3 month) we start over:

  • Create a release/3.9 branch with version 3.9.1
  • etc. etc.

Note: there will be no odd-even version number scheme (odd equals unstable, even equals stable). Instead, x.x.0 is unstable, nightly from next and x.x.n where n >= 1 is a stable release.

If everything works as expected, we have a major release every to-be-defined months, a bugfix release after every push to the release branch and a nightly build after every push to 'next'.

I hope this sounds reasonable and keeps everybody happy.

Feedback welcome.

— Torsten Dreyer (Dec 17th, 2015). [Flightgear-devel] Relesae 3.8.
(powered by Instant-Cquotes)
Month Number in cycle
January 4 (previous year)
February 1
March 1
April 1
May 2
June 2
July 2
August 3
September 3
October 3
November 4
December 4

Version numbers

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

Before 2016.1

  • Major (3.4.0): Only increased after significant changes to the functionality of the software (e.g., 1.x.x → 2.0.0 (due to switch to OSG).
  • Minor (3.4.0): Has two applications:
    • Stable releases always have even numbers (e.g. 2.8.0, 2.10.0, 2.12.0).
    • The latest Git version or nightly build uses an odd number, always one more than the latest stable release's minor revision numbere. For example, when the latest release was 3.4.0, the current development stream was 3.5.0.
  • Revision (3.4.0): Increased by bugfix releases (e.g., 2.12.1).

2016.1 and after

  • Year (2016.1.0): The year the version was released.
  • Number (2016.1.0): Which release of the year the version is (note: starts at 1).
  • Revision (2016.1.0): Indicates one of two things:
    • In the latest Git version or nightly build, this digit is 0, indicating that it is unstable.
    • When a new release is created, this digit is set to 1. With bugfix that is made, this digit is increased by 1, and a new version created.
Note  In general, release are referred to by their first two digits (e.g., 3.4). 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. (On the 17th of the release month): The first Jenkins script is triggered to create release/xxxx.x.0 branches with version xxxx.x.0.
  2. Jenkins creates the binaries for xxxx.x.1.
  3. Patches going into the release/xxxx.x.0 branch automatically trigger a new build with a increase of the revision version number (see above) and we immediately have a bugfix release.
  4. On the next branch, the version number is changed.
  5. Nightly builds are created from next after every push in that branch.

The process is repeated after a set number of months (to-be-decided).

Version files


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.

Related content

Mailing lists