To many users, unreleased software is non-existent software. Even when the source code is freely available, most users desire, or even require, releases which are packaged, provided, and blessed by the project. Creating these releases takes effort and energy, and projects must balance releasing high-quality software with providing timely features and bugfixes for their users.
In this talk, I discuss project release management, and where the role of the release manager fits in an open source project. I also discuss release strategies applicable to projects of differing size and scope. Finally, I give a couple of case studies of projects that ignored these suggestions and the resultant struggles they faced.
This talk is born of experience. Having been the release manager through the Subversion 1.5 release cycle, I experienced first-hand how painful an ill-executed release process can be. This talk is meant to prevent others from having those same problems, no matter the size of the project.
Hyrum is a PhD student studying Software Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been the release manager of the Subversion project since early 2008. Hyrum’s research interests include version control systems and release engineering.
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