Last year at OpenForce Connections in Las Vegas, Shaun Walker announced an updated release policy. The goal in 2010 was to move to a monthly maintenance release schedule along with Quarterly major releases. Prior to this policy announcement, releases were quite sporadic which made it difficult for our internal planning purposes, and also made it difficult for our users to schedule their own upgrade testing and deployment. When we first committed to this new release schedule, we knew that it was going to take a little time before we could get into the groove with the new release cycle. By February we had 3 monthly releases under our belts and things looked to be going pretty well, so much so that I blogged about it.
We are now 8 months into the release schedule and following some issues with a few of our recent releases we’ve had a lot of feedback from customers and community members regarding the release schedule. Some users have indicated that monthly releases just didn’t give them time to properly test and upgrade their sites before a new release was coming out and they had to start the cycle all over again. Other users worried that committing to monthly releases was hurting the quality of our releases. Conversely, some users liked the frequent releases because it meant they could get bug fixes quicker. Some users also liked the predictability of the release schedule.
After a lot of discussions with community members, with the core team members, with customers and with partners we have decided to modify our release schedule to address many of these concerns. Starting with the 5.5 release we are moving to maintenance releases every two months and reducing our major releases to 2 or 3 a year depending on the complexity of the features included with each release. We will still be targeting specific release dates so that we can scope each release and set proper code-freeze dates, but we will adopt a more quality driven approach to the final release date. If we need an extra week or two on a release to make sure we get it right then we will extend the release date to make sure we meet both our own quality standards as well as yours.
We believe that these changes to the release schedule will allow us to still provide a level of predictability in our releases while also addressing the pacing and quality issues raised by many of you. We appreciate the feedback that has been provided on this and many other issues and are always willing to listen to your concerns. As I stated in a recent blog post, Open Source works best when you get involved. Your feedback does make a difference.