On Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 11:40 AM, Jori Mäntysalo <jori.mantys...@uta.fi> wrote:
> On Mon, 17 Oct 2016, Erik Bray wrote:
>> I'm mostly just talking about a policy that generates a (rough)
>> release schedule.
> OK, so you mean something like Fedora release, where it was decided about
> half a year ago that version 25 will be out at 2016-11-08 (and that was
> later changed to 2016-11-15).
> In principle doable. It would mean that Volker won't change beta to rc until
> some predefined date, and will make the change unless there is a very good
> reason to release still one beta.

Something like that, yes.  It doesn't even have to be that
precise--experience shows that beta testing/release candidates can
hold things up if they expose major issues.  One way to deal with that
is to estimate, based on experience, how long release testing
typically takes (one can even go back through history and get some
quantitative evidence for this).  Another is to not set exact release
dates, but do set dates for cutting off the main branch to a release
branch, where from that point forward only fixes will be merged (it's
good to make a branch so that normal development can continue in the
main branch in the meantime).

Regardless, for the dates, it is still very useful to set rough
estimates based on a policy like you described.  This helps
contributors plan how to target work they wish to contribute to a
particular release.  Sage is fortunate that it is not commercial
software and doesn't have paying customers (like RedHat does) who
expect things at specific times.  But we can still do better to
communicate a plan--this can help making the software itself more
stable too.

Here's an example of a release plan I helped develop for Astropy:
https://github.com/astropy/astropy-APEs/blob/master/APE2.rst  It isn't
set in stone--it's been amended once or twice since its inception as
we gained experience with how well previous versions of the plan were
working.  But for the most part it's been quite stable.

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