Release early, Release often

Andrew Bartlett abartlet at
Sat Apr 25 03:06:20 MDT 2015

(I started this discussion somewhere else, but it belongs on samba-technical, 
so I'm starting it again here)

Since the long-delayed release of Samba 4.2, I have been thinking about 
our release process, and I would like to suggest a 4-6 month release cycle.

We agreed back in 2010 (just after 3.5) to move to 9 month release
cycles. However, I think that '9' month release cycles are hurt us more
than they have helped.  Since 2010 our last release cycles have lasted
17, 16, 10 and 15 months!

Moving to a 4-6 month release cycle means that we would stop holding up
releases for features that 'can't wait for the next release', because it
will be along soon enough.  

I'm mindful of the load on Karolin, but it should be less stress because
we certainly won't be waiting for features that are not already finished
in master, and the shorter RC releases should only be addressing actual
regressions, not backported features that really belong in the next

For Samba 4.2 in particular, this release not only started quite late -
we cut rc1 a full year after 4.1, but we kept on waiting and waiting for
a feature (leases) that wasn't in master at the time we wanted to
freeze, and we kept chasing that almost right to the end.

The position I have is that, now that we are past the disruptive time of
the 4.0 merge, we just shouldn't be waiting for features.  We should
instead have a much more 'linux-kernel' release schedule, making new,
production releases on a time-frame measured in months, not years.  

We need a much higher release velocity to give our users and customers
confidence that even if a feature is on the Roadmap as under active 
development, or that if a feature is in master, that it will soon be 
in a release.  

We have managed 6 month releases in the past, between 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4.
It was only after taking 9 months to do 3.5, and that decision at
SambaXP 2010, that the timeframes started to really extend.


Andrew Bartlett

Andrew Bartlett             
Authentication Developer, Samba Team
Samba Developer, Catalyst IT

More information about the samba-technical mailing list