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In 2019 there was a decision to move towards a time-based, quarterly release schedule for Apache NetBeans releases.  This started from Apache NetBeans 11.1, and retrospectively designated Apache NetBeans 11.0 as an LTS release.

At the end of 2019 the schedule was shifted back by one month, to avoid the end of year period. At the end of 2020, master freezing was replaced by a move to a delivery and release branch mechanism.

In early 2021, a decision was made to review the process and requirements for LTS releases. No LTS release will be made in 2021. Subject to that review, the next LTS will not be until at least Feb 2022 (the second release after JDK 17).

Schedule

Date
202020212022
January 15th

Feature freeze for next release.
Delivery and release branches created.
Weekly beta builds made available for testing.




February 7th - 15thVoting candidate created and release vote commences.


February 15th - 30thApache NetBeans release.
NetBeans 12.3NetBeans 13 or 13.0 (LTS?)
April 15th

Feature freeze for next release: create Beta.
Delivery and release branches created.
Weekly Release Candidate made available for testing.




May 7th - 15thVoting candidate created and release vote commences.


May 15th - 30thApache NetBeans release.NetBeans 12.0 LTSNetBeans 12.4NetBeans 14 or 13.1
July 15th

Feature freeze for next release.
Delivery and release branches created.
Weekly beta builds made available for testing.




August 7th - 15thVoting candidate created and release vote commences.


August 15th - 31stApache NetBeans release.NetBeans 12.1NetBeans 12.5
NetBeans 15 or 13.2
October 15th

Feature freeze for next release.
Delivery and release branches created.
Weekly beta builds made available for testing.




November 7th - 15thVoting candidate created and release vote commences.


November 15th - 30thApache NetBeans release.NetBeans 12.2 NetBeans 12.6NetBeans 16 or 13.3

Key points

  • Four releases a year on known dates (within reason, weekends, blockers, etc.).
  • Each release has a fixed and well known feature-freeze date. Features may be targeted for releases, but no promises are made of features being included unless they have been merged to master by that date.
  • Everything merged to master at all times prior to feature freeze is intended and ready to be included in the next scheduled release.  Keep master releasable!
  • Merging earlier rather than later in the merge window is to be encouraged!
  • After the feature freeze date, fixes intended for the release should be merged to delivery until the next feature window opens. The delivery branch will be merged to both master and release branches on a weekly schedule.
  • All fixes merged to delivery after the feature-freeze date should be assessed and reviewed in accordance with the Bug Priority Guidelines
  • Currently under review - One release a year is designated a long-term / extended support version -
    • Only this release has a full NetCAT process, and subsequently a much shorter (month less) merge window to accommodate it (and because the emphasis for this release should be on fully stabilising features added in the previous 3 releases).
    • For 9 months of the year that means that people have a choice of two downloads (need to consider how to describe that, and what if any infrastructure concerns that brings?).  NetBeans 11.0 remains available until April 2020.
    • Minimal serious bug fixes might be backported to the LTS release and pushed via UC, taking into account the Bug Priority Guidelines (critical or blocker affecting significant users?) These should be done on the relevant release branch.
    • Users needing features should be encouraged on to the faster release train, and help test those features before next LTS.
    • Major version number is incremented for LTS.  So NetBeans 12.0 would be in April 2020.  Perhaps counter-intuitively the major version number would be increased for the versions with least new features. (Consider NetBeans 11.1 equivalent to NetBeans 11 feature update 1?)

Details, notes, and discussions: Notes and Discussions on the Release Schedule

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