Release schedules

Jonathan McKeown jonathan+freebsd-questions at
Sat Dec 13 08:38:02 PST 2008

On Friday 12 December 2008 19:26, Sean Cavanaugh wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Joe S" <js.lists at>
> Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 12:20 PM
> To: "Roland Smith" <rsmith at>
> Cc: <freebsd-questions at>; "Jonathan McKeown"
> <jonathan+freebsd-questions at>
> Subject: Re: Release schedules
> > On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 4:01 AM, Roland Smith <rsmith at> wrote:
> >> On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 12:59:24PM +0200, Jonathan McKeown wrote:
> >>> I've been biting my tongue about this because I'm not sure that I can
> >>> offer
> >>> any help or useful suggestions, but here goes...
> >>>
> >>> What on earth is going on with release scheduling?
> >>
> >> Two words: volunteer project
> >>
> >> I would propose to do away with the release schedule altogether, or make
> >> it very succinct;
> >>
> >>  next release: when it's done.
> >
> > What? Isn't that the Linux kernel schedule?
> >
> > Give me a break. The OpenBSD team of volunteers makes a new release
> > every six months, with target release dates in May and November. I
> > can't recall a slip of even one day. I know, this isn't OpenBSD, but
> > it proves that a regular release schedule is indeed possible.
> also remember that 6.4 was being worked on at the same time. there's only a
> finite number of people to spread across both projects. finalization of 7.1
> should come faster as 6.4 has been released

According to , the ports 
tree was frozen on 8 September, tagged on 22 September and unfrozen. (I see 
elsewhere in this thread someone saying it's still frozen - I'm not sure 
which statement is correct). 7.1-RELEASE should have been done a couple of 
weeks later - early in October for announcement on 13 October.

We are now looking at a release in January. That's not a few days or even a 
few weeks late - it's almost four months late; and 7.1-RELEASE will ship with 
a ports tree that's almost 5 months out of date. Not only that - it's 
shipping mere weeks before the end-of-life for 7.0-RELEASE (currently 28 Feb 

I have been watching the web page and freebsd-stable. There has been no 
obvious indication of the reason for the delays or the expected duration. 
(For earlier releases, there was a todo page linked from the release webpage 
which listed areas needing more work and areas needing testing). The -RC1 
release announcement finally acknowledged that there had been a number of 
major problems, not all of which have been fully addressed yet.

As a community, we should be ashamed of this: ``volunteer effort'' just isn't 
a good enough excuse - and those of us who haven't volunteered need to find 
out how we can help get things back on track for the next release. When I 
first raised this, I asked if there was anything I could do to help the 
release engineering team with communication. Zbigniew Szalbot made a similar 

I really think that once 7.1 is out, we (collectively) need to have a long 
hard look at the release process and make sure this doesn't happen again (and 
again and again and again - it's not the first time that I've scheduled work 
around release dates and ended up being embarrassed or having to do jobs 
twice, with a pre-release and then again when the release arrives.)


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