ReleasePlan

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Introduction

Time-based release trains have been shown to produce the best quality Free software. A time based release is one that does not wait for either features, or bug fixes - but is based (as purely as possible) on time. This enforces discipline in introducing fixes, gives predictability, and allows more regular releasing. It is also the case that we will necessarily release earlier, and then rapidly, incrementally bug fix releases based on the previous stable version. Thus if you have a need for the very highest quality version, it can make sense to defer a move until the first or perhaps second minor point release.

  • LibreOffice does bi-annual, predictable releases that are in sync with other Free Software projects (eg. Gnome) and are at least one month ahead major Linux distribution releases.
  • Synchronizing time-based release schedule with the wider Free Software ecosystem also has huge advantages, by getting our new features, out to users as quickly as possible – with a minimum of distribution cycle lag. In consequence, we aim at six monthly releases, and over time nudge them to align well with the March/September norms.
  • Time-based release trains have been shown to produce the best quality Free software. A time based release is one that does not wait for either features, or bug fixes - but is based (as purely as possible) on time. This enforces discipline in introducing fixes, gives predictability, and allows more regular releasing. It is also the case that we will necessarily release earlier, and then rapidly, incrementally bug fix releases based on the previous stable version. Thus if you have a need for the very highest quality version, it can make sense to defer a move until the first or perhaps second minor point release.
  • There are 2 branches: Fresh (the newest release) and Still (the previous release), which are intended for mainstream feature users and conservative, corporate deployments respectively.
  • As a result, users get new major version every six months with a wide range of features, fixes, and enhancements. In addition, they get many pure bugfix micro releases. The first X.Y.0 release is intended for early adopters. More conservative users are advised to wait for a later X.Y.Z bugfix release.

Note that the dates mentioned in the schedule might get shifted if there are serious technical or other problems with the release. An extra RC might be needed if the final release candidate does not fit the Release Criteria. Such problem would shift the final release by one week or even more.

7.0 release

Basic dates for the initial and bugfix releases
Release Freeze Publishing
7.0.0 (freeze: week 29) Week 19 , May 4, 2020 - May 10, 2020 Week 32 , Aug 3, 2020 - Aug 9, 2020
7.0.1 Week 33 , Aug 10, 2020 - Aug 16, 2020 Week 36 , Aug 31, 2020 - Sep 6, 2020
7.0.2 Week 38 , Sep 14, 2020 - Sep 20, 2020 Week 41 , Oct 5, 2020 - Oct 11, 2020
7.0.3 Week 43 , Oct 19, 2020 - Oct 25, 2020 Week 46 , Nov 9, 2020 - Nov 15, 2020
7.0.4 Week 48 , Nov 23, 2020 - Nov 29, 2020 Week 51 , Dec 14, 2020 - Dec 20, 2020
7.0.5 Week 06 , Feb 8, 2021 - Feb 14, 2021 Week 09 , Mar 1, 2021 - Mar 7, 2021
7.0.6 Week 15 , Apr 12, 2021 - Apr 18, 2021 Week 18 , May 3, 2021 - May 9, 2021
End of Life May 31, 2021

See also the detailed schedule and the release notes.

6.4 release

Basic dates for the initial and bugfix releases
Release Freeze Publishing
6.4.0 (freeze: week 02) Week 42 , Oct 14, 2019 - Oct 20, 2019 Week 05 , Jan 27, 2020 - Feb 2, 2020
6.4.1 Week 06 , Feb 3, 2020 - Feb 9, 2020 Week 09 , Feb 24, 2020 - Mar 1, 2020
6.4.2 Week 09 , Feb 24, 2020 - Mar 1, 2020 Week 12 , Mar 16, 2020 - Mar 22, 2020
6.4.3 Week 13 , Mar 23, 2020 - Mar 29, 2020 Week 16 , Apr 13, 2020 - Apr 19, 2020
6.4.4 Week 18 , Apr 27, 2020 - May 3, 2020 Week 21 , May 18, 2020 - May 24, 2020
6.4.5 Week 24 , Jun 8, 2020 - Jun 14, 2020 Week 27 , Jun 29, 2020 - Jul 5, 2020
6.4.6 Week 30 , Jul 20, 2020 - Jul 26, 2020 Week 33 , Aug 10, 2020 - Aug 16, 2020
6.4.7 Week 39 , Sep 21, 2020 - Sep 27, 2020 Week 42 , Oct 12, 2020 - Oct 18, 2020
End of Life November 30, 2020

See also the detailed schedule and the release notes.

6.3 release

Basic dates for the initial and bugfix releases
Release Freeze Publishing
6.3.0 (freeze: week 29) Week 19 , May 6, 2019 - May 12, 2019 Week 32 , Aug 5, 2019 - Aug 11, 2019
6.3.1 Week 32 , Aug 5, 2019 - Aug 11, 2019 Week 35 , Aug 26, 2019 - Sep 1, 2019
6.3.2 Week 36 , Sep 2, 2019 - Sep 8, 2019 Week 39 , Sep 23, 2019 - Sep 29, 2019
6.3.3 Week 41 , Oct 7, 2019 - Oct 13, 2019 Week 44 , Oct 28, 2019 - Nov 3, 2019
6.3.4 Week 47 , Nov 18, 2019 - Nov 24, 2019 Week 50 , Dec 9, 2019 - Dec 15, 2019
6.3.5 Week 05 , Jan 27, 2020 - Feb 2, 2020 Week 08 , Feb 17, 2020 - Feb 23, 2020
6.3.6 Week 15 , Apr 6, 2020 - Apr 12, 2020 Week 18 , Apr 27, 2020 - May 3, 2020
End of Life May 29, 2020

See also the detailed schedule and the release notes.

Dates

The release is time-based but the schedule defines calendar weeks instead of exact dates. It is because we are always a bit flexible. The release can be delayed by few days because of blocker bugs, build problems, and other technical issues.

The release consists of several beta and release candidate builds. There are needed several actions for each build. The ideal workflow looks like:

  • Monday: commit deadline; reminder is sent to devel, l10n mailing list before it happens
  • Tuesday: the tag is created on a commit that builds and passes unit-, subsequent-, and smoke-tests; tag is announced on the devel and qa mailing lists
  • Wednesday: builds are uploaded on the early pre-release site; they are announced on the devel and qa mailing lists
  • Thursday: builds are uploaded on mirrors. They are announced via many channels, e.g. mailing lists, twitter
  • Friday: builds are available via the official pre-release site

The final release is usually announced on Thursday, few days after the final release candidate is out.

Note that we are very strict about commits to the final release candidate, so full regression test is not needed. It is used as the final build when it passes the needed tests. It is just renamed on mirrors.

Schedule

The schedule is based on the following rules:

  • do the major release every six months and synchronize it (at least one month ahead) with major Linux distributions; it always comes with a wide range of features, fixes, and enhancements
  • do a pure bugfix release every month after the main release until it is good enough even for the most conservative people; do it less frequently afterwards
  • do pure bugfix releases, including security fixes, until the next release is ready for most conservative people
  • do not do two builds the same week.

The result is the following template:

Interlocking releases
Event Summer Winter
x.y feature freeze Jun(b) Dec(b)
x.y.0 first release Aug(b) Feb(b)
x.y.1 bugfix release Sep(b) Mar(b)
x.y.2 bugfix release Oct(b) Apr(b)
x.y.3 bugfix release Nov(b) May(b)
x.y.4 bugfix release Dec(b) Jun(b)
x.y.5 bugfix release Feb(m) Aug(m)
x.y.6 bugfix release Apr(m) Oct(m)

Where (b) means the beginning of the month, (m) means the middle of the month and (e) means the end of the month.

String freeze

The release plans for the first version of each major release indicate a "hard English string & UI freeze". The idea is to make the lives of translators easier. The translators should be able to trust that no new translatable strings are added into the UI or Help files between the period of the string freeze and release.

After the first version of a major release is out, correcting mistakes in the UI and Help strings is fine. Any completely new content should target the next major release.

Version scheme

We do several builds around each release. The following versioning scheme is used:

  • X.Y.0.0.alphaZ - Zth alpha version of the initial release
  • X.Y.0.0.betaZ - Zth beta version of the initial release
  • X.Y.0.Z - Zth release candidate of the initial release, last rc is considered as final and put on the main download page
  • X.Y.1.Z - Zth release candidate of the 1st bugfix release, last rc is considered as final and put on the main download page

It seems to be the best compromise with the following advantages:

  • easy to understand for normal users, alpha, beta flags are known from other projects, so they set reasonable expectations
  • correct alphabetical sorting in RPM, Bugzilla
  • “easy” to parse (alpha/beta strings delimited by dot)

There was a long discussion about this scheme on the mailing list.

Accelerating the release cycle

This acceleration of the release cycle involves some considerable release engineering and QA effort. To reduce the cost of these, we work to provide complete (ie. containing all languages) daily snapshots of the master branch to allow continual testing of code improvements. This works partially already, as can be seen/downloaded from here.

Similarly, we plan to increasingly automate the build process to allow a much lower-touch release flow, and to continue to shrink the footprint of our binaries to allow far more rapid transfer of product-equivalent builds.

End-of-Life Releases

A release normally has a lifetime of around nine months. We consider a release to have reached its End of Life (EOL) one month after the last planned release.

If you want longer term support for a release, you’re encouraged to engage any certified L3 provider who could provide you with the service.

Because of the amount of data, the releases were split out to ReleasePlan/Archive.