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release strategy proposal

Problems to address

  • Instability of stable releases
    • +1: covener
  • Conservatively managed distributions are drifting farther and farther away from HEAD
    • +1: covener

Things working well

  • New modules can get into users' hands pretty easily.
    • +1: covener
  • Few streams to worry about
    • +1: covener
  • Long lifecycle of a release
    • +1: covener

Proposal 1

This is a WIP. Please feel free to edit if you preserve the spirit, or fork it into a new proposal if you don't.

The philosophy here is to have 1 or more conservatively managed releases but to also always have 1 or more more liberally managed releases where slightly more disruptive things are tolerated. But the latter is neither trunk nor a "development" release.

Some things that characterize a more conservatively managed release:

  • Behavior changes tend to be opt-in.
  • Refactoring is limited.
  • New function, new directives, and new modules are acceptable if their enablement doesn't put the stability of existing function at risk.
    • For example, mod_md on its own would have been OK, but the changes to mod_ssl to accommodate it would have needed to be (at best) guarded differently.
  1. Establish a litmus test ("rules") for what can go into early maintenance levels of a release
  2. Establish rules for what can go into later maintenance levels of a release
  3. Establish rules for how a major.minor graduates from "early" to "late"
    • What does it mean for the previous 1 or 2 major.minor?
    • We owe special handling to 2.4 because it didn't start this way.
  4. Formally document the above

How this would work over time:

  • 2.6 is released with a few new/small things
  • 2.4 is stabilized
  • 2.6.$small continues to get the kinds of things we're doing in 2.4 today
  • Eventually something big comes along and we do a 2.7 or 2.8
  • 2.6 is stabilized when 2.7/2.8 is released
    • 2.4 sticks around but maybe we pick an EOL. For 2.4, we pick it farther out then we normally would since the policy is post-GA.


  • Do we need to only pick a subset of major.minor's to be eventually-LTS so we don't end up with different distributions on arbitrary major.minors? This helps cap the # of streams in service AND avoids distributions picking different ones and causing more work on all sides.
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