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what happened to regular releases

by audiovolume (Initiate)
on Nov 25, 2005 at 21:41 UTC ( #511749=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

audiovolume has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I think I read somewhere earlier this year, that Perl would follow a regular release approach - one release each Q. But since 5.8.7 was released in June, half year passed, and no new release, what's going on?

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Re: what happened to regular releases
by grinder (Bishop) on Nov 25, 2005 at 22:26 UTC

    I don't think it was ever one a quarter, more like once every six months.

    There is more or less a feature freeze on right now, concerning the release of 5.8.8. Nicholas Clark, the current maint pumpking posted plans a while back, indicating that he was hoping for an October release.

    A week or so ago, he posted a message saying that he had Real $Work to do, which was going to occupy him up until the end of November. So with a bit of luck, there might be a release in December.

    Keep an eye on the weekly p5p summaries, available on dev.perl.org and use.perl.org. All news concerning the Release Candidate series and the betas will no doubt appear therein.

    • another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl

Re: what happened to regular releases
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Nov 26, 2005 at 01:50 UTC

    Nicholas Clark, the maintperl pumpking, decided this summer that releasing every three months was too much work and scaled it back to every four months or so. He released a snapshot of 5.8.8 to be in October and a few people tested it. It'll be out soon.

    Remember, though, just about everyone working on Perl (of any version) is a volunteer.

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Re: what happened to regular releases
by Zaxo (Archbishop) on Nov 26, 2005 at 03:37 UTC

    Regular releases on a schedule are probably not a realistic goal for an open source project. Possibly not even desirable.

    Sometimes a bug is discovered which demands a quick fix and immediate release. Sometimes development hits a lull from a design debate, or holidays, or demands of the money job.

    There's no need to release a minimal revision just because you used to think it would be time for a release. That pressure is reserved for pay-to-play software with a marketing cycle.

    After Compline,
    Zaxo

      Regular releases on a schedule are probably not a realistic goal for an open source project. Possibly not even desirable.
      I think regular releases are very desirable. Even for an open source project. Just look at how 5.8.1 came to be. The first release candidate for 5.8.1 came a year after the release of 5.8.0. It took 5 release candidates, and two and a half months of hard work to get 5.8.1 out. Why? Because a year after the previous release, and no scedule for a next release, and 5.10 man years away, everyone wanted their new feature/bug-fix in.

      If you have a garanteed release cycle, one every three or four months, it's easy to say to someone "you missed the deadline for this release' code-freeze, in three months time there's another". But what do you say if there's no scedule? "That's a great fix, we'll use it some time in the future"?

      That pressure is reserved for pay-to-play software with a marketing cycle.
      Perl isn't free. That is, it isn't free because making/maintaining/extending it doesn't cost resources. Maintaining Perl means people have to spend resources - not so much money, as well putting in time and lending expertise (and it takes investment to build expertise). The ratio of people contributing to Perl vs the people using Perl is very low. Which means that marketing is important for Perl. For every people contributing to Perl, you need thousands of people using Perl. If having regular releases is good from a marketing perspective - it will benefit Perl itself.
      Perl --((8:>*

        I think you're conflating regular releases with frequent releases here. The latter are usually desirable (and give all the benefits you name in your post), while the former introduce some nasty side-effects and IMO are not a worthwhile goal. Smacks too much of five-year-plan mentality to me. I agree it's good to formulate a release plan and stick to it as much as possible, but a forced recurring release date just leads to unfixed bugs and inefficient organisation. Commercial companies have to do it because for some reason they are viewed as more professional if they can ship a piece of crap on time rather than a functioning app some time later. But free software doesn't have to care about that and shouldn't want to.


        Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. -- Brian W. Kernighan
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