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***********************************************************************
********************* Release Policy (RFC) ****************************
***********************************************************************

We suggest this structure of the proposal document as part of a tiny
social process in order to find a decision in a cooperativ and common
way.


I. Driver 
=========
(What is the problem and what solution did we find?)

In the past it was sometimes unclear when and how the community would reach its
next release. Members were lacking in orientation and felt demotivated. 

Another minor concern not yet analysed in depth was the expectation to show the
public that the GNUnet project is still active and making progress. With an old
release distributed by popular linux distributions it was hard to showcase
people the GNUnet features and encourage to participate in the project. 

To show people how the GNUnet project is releasing its software we hereby
document the current release model:

* All main development (e.g. towards 0.12.x) continues on master.
* Developers can continue to develop features in their own feature
  branches, but are encouraged to frequently merge into master (as long as they
  don't break the build) to avoid divergence and to detect issues from a
  merge/rebase early.
* 0.11.x releases *must* be protocol-compatible to 0.11.0. So once
  master is NOT protocol-compatible to 0.11.0, development for 0.11.x
  must continue in an 0.11-branch where we only cherry-pick those
  changes from master that preserve protocol-compatibility.
* better CI may allow us to detect breaking changes before merges in the future
  (but we shall never fault anybody for breaking stuff in master in non-obvious
  ways);
* actual _release policy_:
  - tests must pass
  - no compiler warnings for -Wall
  - acceptance tests (manual feature test) must succeed
  - no known "release critical" bugs (where RC has no formal definition,
    mostly we rather explicitly declare certain bugs as "not critical")
  - Whenever API changes happen the person making that changes should update
    dependencies or at least work with people who hack on the dependencies to
    cooridnate the adjustments
  o buildbots are happy (if running)
  o static analysis is happy (if available, false-positives => ignore)
  o documentation is reasonably up-to-date
  + reasonable test coverage (if too terrible => move subsystem to experimental?)
  + texinfo (HTML+PDF) and doxygen happy? Ideally without warnings!
  + nobody screaming bloody murder because of almost-completed features/bugfixes
    almost ready to be merged?
  Legend: -: absolutely mandatory; o: important; +: nice to have


For further information see: https://trunkbaseddevelopment.com/

II. Evaluation Criteria 
=======================
(what are criterias to interprete the results as success if we review
the problem and solution after a year or so)

III. Concerns (of team members)
===============================
(if there are concerns of team members, write them down here to later
review)

I disagree that "bugs tend to accumulate until they are not managable".
The real issue is that neither writing testcases nor fixing bugs are
fun tasks volunteers like to do. As you write yourself: you want a
sense of achievement, recognition, "new features".  So as long as that
is what you are motivated to do, you will not get stable, well-tested
code. I don't have a magic bullet to motivate you to write more tests,
or to improve existing tests. -CG

  Your argument is good. Two or three of us thought that the problem is about
  missing releases which we feld demotivating. We thought, we were stucked
  somewhere. But as you state, it is us not doing the necessary work. What I
  still find useful is to document the release process. In consequence I
  changed the problem statement. -xrs

I also disagree that releases have to be 'known bug free'.  That bar is
way too high. However, there are obviously 'critical' bugs, but what
they are is another debate.  But not all bugs are critical. Also,
I would distinguish between 'standard' and 'experimental' subsystems.
Experimental subsystems should build. They don't have to run, or do
anything useful. Not even tests have to pass for a release IMO. -CG

  Thank you, I agree and changed it. -xrs

Git is also not a "release model".  Git is a software development
tool.  But introducing branches in Git won't fix bugs. It also won't
improve test coverage. It won't test the code on a broad range of
platforms.  It also doubt it will give you the recognition you crave.
More importantly, what you describe is already happening, and
partially has contributed to the problems. Bart kept his own CADET
hacks in his personal branch for years, hence without much feedback or
review.  The secushare team kept their patches in their own branch,
hence revealing interesting failure modes when it was finally merged.
Martin kept some of his ABE-logic in his own branch (that one was
merged without me noticing major problems).  Anyway, what you propose
as Option 1 is already largely done, except that certain CI tasks
simply cannot be productively done pre-merge right now (and I'm all
for improving that situation). -CG

  With resprect to changes kept in branches the reason why I personally keep
  changes back is because it takes very long for me to get something really
  working in C. Before that I either not worth it or I don't want to blame
  other before not being sure it's not my fault. 

  Can we track branches? Can we write a little cronjob that checks for branches
  that are to long undercover with the aim to recommend the responsible person
  to merge soon?
  - xrs

Finally, there is one last elephant with respect to branches and
merging that I would like you to consider. Given that GNUnet is highly
modular, you have largely benefited from the modular architecture and
been able to hack in your respective corners, unaffected by other
modules (modulo bugs in dependencies).  That is great, and the desired
development mode.  It has the critical advantage that bugs in modules
that nobody depends upon (auction, rps, social) can be in 'master' and
won't disturb anything. As most new development usually happens on the
leaves of the dependency graph, that is great.  However, occasionally
there are architectural changes. Not of the type where the graph
changes, but where key API assumptions change. We recently had one for
the GNU Name System with the dropping of ".gnu".  Before, CADET
changed the semantics and paramter for 'port'.  In the future, CORE
will introduce protocol versioning.  Whenever such a change happens,
it usually falls upon the person making that change to update
dependencies as well (or at least to work with people who hack on the
dependencies to coordinate the adjustments).  That way, changing an
API for in-tree dependencies is a minor nuisance.  However, if
branches exist, making sure that API changes do not break _any_ branch
somewhere is impractical.  So at least at times where "major" API
rewrites are happening, it is important to minimize the number of
branches. -CG

  Thank you for clarifying. I added the API aspect above. -xrs
  

IV. Doing
=========
(who does what within which time frame?)

Let me list what I think needs doing:

1) Better CI setup: build on multiple platforms, build of
   "arbitrary" branches, reporting of regressions with
   decent diagnostics (!) to developers (not the crap
   Gitlab gives where I don't even easily get a stack
   trace on a core dump).
2) A culture of fixing "other people"'s bugs: test case failures,
   portability issues, Mantis reports, all the non-sexy
   stuff.  Not the 'psycstore' was written by tg, so no
   need for !tg to try to fix it, or the "I use sqlite, 
   why should I bother with postgres?"-crap I have heard
   too often.
3) Improving test cases: better code coverage, more corner
   cases, complex deployment scenarios (NAT!), etc.;
   less manual testing by hand, more writing automated
   tests.
4) There are also some bigger architectural changes ahead
   that I have mentioned in other places.  Without those,
   we won't be able to serve non-expert users.  So help
   with those would be welcome, but in terms of _process_
   I think 1-3 is what matters.

Note that none of this really adds up to a "release policy".

  We should thing and talk about point 2 and 3 more in depth with the question
  in mind, how to make this task more attractive for the community :-)


V. Previous Versions
====================
(if we found some flaws in the solution, and we want to change the
release policy, we document the old ones here als previous versions.
the goal is establish a learn process.)

IV. References
==============
(if there are references to paper, web pages and other sources.)