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Re: [Xen-devel] A document for Xen release management

Hi Wei,

Thank you for writing down the document :).

On 17/07/17 16:09, Wei Liu wrote:
It is agreed during the summit we should write down such document. Here
is my attempt of doing so.

We should probably commit something like this into xen.git so that it
gets updated regularly.

Comments are welcome.


% Xen Release Management
% Wei Liu <<wei.liu2@xxxxxxxxxx>>
% Revision 1

# Motivation

Over the years we have had different people from different company signning
up as the Release Manager of Xen. It would be rather wasteful if every new
Release Manager has to go over everything and tripped over by the same
mistakes again and again.

This file intends to document the process of managing a Xen release. It is
mainly written for Release Manager, but other roles (contributors,
maintainers and committers) are also encouraged to read this document, so
that they can have an idea what to expect from the Release Manager.

# Xen release cycle

The Xen hypervisor project now releases twice a year, at the beginning of
June and the beginning of December. The actual release date depends on a lot
of factors.

Do we have a document detailing the release cycle (e.g last posting date, hard code freeze...)? If not, would it be worth describing the current cut-off scheme here?

We can roughly divide one release into two periods. The development period
and the freeze period. The former is 4 months long and the latter is about 2
months long.

During development period, contributors submit patches to be reviewed and
committed into xen.git.

During freeze period, the tree is closed for new features. Only bug fixes are
accepted. This period can be shorter or longer than 2 months. If it ends up
longer than 2 months, it eats into the next development period.

# The different roles in a Xen release

## Release Manager

A trusted developer in the community that owns the release process. The major
goal of the Release Manager is to make sure a Xen release has high quality
and doens't slip too much.


The Release Manager will not see much workload during development period, but
expects to see increasing workload during the freeze period until the final
release. He or she is expected to keep track of issues, arrange RCs,
negotiate with relevant stakeholders, balance the need from various parties
and make difficult decisions when necessary.

The Release Manager essentially owns xen-unstable branch during the freeze
period. The committers will act on the wishes of the Release Manager during
that time.

## Maintainers

A group of trusted developers who are responsible for certain components in
xen.git. They are expected to respond to patches / questions with regard to
their components in a timely manner, especially during the freeze period.

## Committers

A group of trusted maintainers who can commit to xen.git. During the
development window they normally push things as they see fit. During the
freeze period they transfer xen-unstable branch ownership and act on the
wishes of the Release Manager. That normally means they need to have an
Release Ack in order to push a patch.

## Contributors

Contributors are also expected to respond quickly to any issues regarding the
code they submitted during development period. Failing that, the Release
Manager might decide to revert the changes, declare feature unsupported or
take any action he / she deems appropriate.

## The Security Team

The Security Team operates independently. The visibility might be rather
limited due to the sensitive nature of security work. The best action the
Release Manager can take is to set aside some time for potential security
issues to be fixed.

## The Release Technician

The Release Technician is the person who tags various trees, prepares tarball
etc. He or she acts on the wishes of the Release Manager. Please make sure
the communication is as clear as it can be.

## The Community Manager

The Community Manager owns xenproject.org infrastructure. He or she is
responsible for updating various web archives, updating wiki pages and
coordinating with the PR Personnel.

## The PR Personnel

They are responsible for corrdinating with external reporters to publish Xen


release announcement. The Release Manager should be absolutely sure the
release is going out on a particular date before giving them the signal to
proceed, because there is a point of no return once they schedule a date with
external reporters.

# What happens during a release

## Development period

Send out monthly update email. The email contains the timeline of the
release, the major work items and any other information the Release Manager
sees fit. Please consider adding a recurring event to your calendar.

I would also add a paragraph to send remainder a week before at least and "Last posting date" and maybe the "Hard code freeze"?

How about:

"Send out monthly update email. The email contains the timeline of the release, the major work items and any other information the Release Manager sees fit. Reminder should also be sent a week before important cut-off date (e.g last posting date, hard code freeze). Please consider adding a recurring even to your calendar.".

Occasionally check the status of the xen-unstable branch, make sure it gets
timely pushes to master.

## Freeze period

Before or at very early stage of the freeze period, agree with the Community
Manager a schedule for RC test days.

Once the freeze starts, the ownership of xen-unstable branch automatically
transfers to the Release Manager.

Here is a list of things to do for making RCs:

1. Check the status of the tree. Ask the Release Technician to make an RC if 
the tree is good.

1. Send an email to xen-devel, xen-users and xen-announce to announce the RC.

1. Branch and / or reopen the tree for further feature submission if 

1. Collect and track any issues reported, determine their severity, prod 
relevant developers and maintainers to fix the issues.

1. When patches to fix issues are posted, determine if the patches are good to 
be included.

1. Go back to 1.

It is normally OK in the early RCs that you hand back xen-unstable branch to
committers so that they can commit bug fixes at will. As we approach late
RCs, the standard for accepting a patch will get higher and higher. Please
communicate clearly when committers can commit at will and when formal
Release Ack is needed.

At the same time, work with the Community Manager, PR Personnel and
Contributors to gather a list of features for the release. Discuss the
support status of new features with stakeholders. Help prepare the press
release, write a blog post for the release.

When you think all pending issues are fixed and Xen is ready to be released
from the last RC:

1. Send out commit moratorium emails to committers@.

1. Check all the trees (mini-os, qemu-trad, qemu-xen, seabios, ovmf etc).
They have the correct commits and all security patches applied. There will be
tools provided.

1. Ask the Community Manager and Release Technician to double-check all
security patches have been applied. If not, apply them, arrange another RC
and restart this checklist.

1. Ask the Release Technician to tag the trees and make the tarball. Ask the
Community Manager to update relevant web assets.

1. Give the PR Personnel signal to proceed. Cooridinate with him / her on the


public annoucement.


1. Make the announcement on various mailing list, publish the blog post.

Allow for contigencies. It is not uncommon that some last minute (security or


not) bugs are discovered. To provide a fix takes time, the test of the fix
will also take time. Allow for at least 1 week from getting a fix to getting
a push. For security bugs, corrdinate with the Security Team to adjust the


dates according to our security policy.

# Email templates

## RC emails

Hi all,

Xen X.Y rcZ is tagged. You can check that out from xen.git:

git://xenbits.xen.org/xen.git X.Y.0-rcZ

For your convenience there is also a tarball at:

And the signature is at:

Please send bug reports and test reports to xen-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
When sending bug reports, please CC relevant maintainers and me

As a reminder, there will be another Xen Test Day.

See instructions on: URL_TO_TEST_INSTRUCTIONS

I would consider to add the templates for "Development update" and maybe the script?

## Development update e-mails

This email only tracks big items for xen.git tree. Please reply for items you woulk like to see in $RELEASE_VERSION so that people have an idea what is going on and prioritise accordingly.

You're welcome to provide description and use cases of the feature you're
working on.

= Timeline =

We now adopt a fixed cut-off date scheme. We will release twice a
year. The upcoming $RELEASE_VERSION timeline are as followed:

* Last posting date: $RELEASE_CUTOFF
* Hard code freeze: $RELEASE_FREEZE
* RC1: TBD
* Release: $RELEASE_DATE

Note that we don't have freeze exception scheme anymore. All patches
that wish to go into $RELEASE_VERSION must be posted no later than the last posting
date. All patches posted after that date will be automatically queued
into next release.

RCs will be arranged immediately after freeze.

We recently introduced a jira instance to track all the tasks (not only big) for the project. See: https://xenproject.atlassian.net/projects/XEN/issues.

Most of the tasks tracked by this e-mail also have a corresponding jira task referred by XEN-N.

I have started to include the version number of series associated to each feature. Can each owner send an update on the version number if the series was posted upstream?

= Projects =


Julien Grall

Xen-devel mailing list



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