[Squeakfoundation]Re: release prioritization (was "ClassBuilder problem")

Doug Way dway at riskmetrics.com
Tue Mar 4 01:13:49 CET 2003

On Friday, February 28, 2003, at 11:56 AM, Simon Michael wrote:

> ...
> I've found releasing on the first of every month to be a useful 
> discipline.
> What changes would be needed to make this practical for squeak, I 
> wonder ?
> Maybe none.

I think releasing every month probably isn't realistic, and I'm not 
sure it's a good idea anyway.

One problem is that I don't think we'd be able to do it very soon and 
still keep a reasonable level of quality in the releases.  To attain a 
release cycle that rapid, with such short beta/gamma stages, we'd 
probably need to have unit tests for the whole image to ensure that 
stuff wasn't breaking.  We're not too close to that point yet.  (I 
agree there are some advantages to a rapid release cycle, though.)

Another problem is that I'm not sure a monthly release with new 
features in every release is desirable for a public "stable" software 
release, even if they are relatively bug-free.

For example, let's say Squeak 3.5 is released in April, 3.6 in May, 3.7 
in June, 3.8 in July, etc., through 4.3 in December.  This would 
require that people who try to write production-quality packages for 
Squeak would constantly have to test their packages to make sure they 
work with the latest version.

Or, the owner of package X may not bother and just test it with 3.7 and 
declare it compatible with that.  Package Y may also be written during 
the summertime but its maintainer may have used 3.9 instead.  Then, if 
some user wants to use package X and package Y together, they wouldn't 
be able to.  (Or, they would have to at least do some testing to see if 
package X still worked in 3.9, which is some effort/worry to deal with.)

Some of these problems might be lessened by having the image split up 
into packages with a powerful dependencies scheme in place. (with 
compatibility ranges and that sort of thing)

But it still seems that you'd just have too many versions out there for 
people to make sense of. :-)  Are there any open-source projects out 
there which come out with a (non-alpha/non-testing) release as often as 
every month?  To me, a monthly release makes a lot of sense for 
something that is still in development, or perhaps for a level of user 
somewhere in between bleeding-edge-alpha tester and stable-product-only 
user.  I believe Debian has something like that.

Whether a one-time one-month release is appropriate for 3.5 is a 
different question, for a different email. :-)

- Doug Way

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