Fedora Release Life Cycle

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| Test GA RC || After Compose GA RC || 1 week
 
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| Final Go/No-Go Meeting || Monday @ 20:00 E{D,S}T before Tuesday release day || n/a
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| Final Go/No-Go Meeting || Tuesday @ 20:00 E{D,S}T before Tuesday release day || n/a
 
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| GA Release || Six days after Test GA RC ends || n/a
 
| GA Release || Six days after Test GA RC ends || n/a

Revision as of 00:26, 11 May 2010

The Fedora Project releases a new version of Fedora approximately every 6 months and provides updated packages (maintenance) to these releases for approximately 13 months. This allows users to "skip a release" while still being able to always have a system that is still receiving updates.

Contents

Development Schedule

We say developed and released approximately every 6 months because like many things, they don't always go exactly as planned.

The schedule for the release currently under development, Fedora 22, is on its release schedule page. Alpha, Beta, and General Availability (final) releases happen at 10:00am Eastern US Time, which is either 1500UTC or 1400UTC depending on whether or not daylight savings is in effect.

Schedule Methodology

Fedora release schedules are proposed by the Release Engineering team and ratified by Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo). FESCo is responsible for overseeing the technical direction of the Fedora distribution. A core schedule is created using the key tasks listed below. Detailed team schedules are built around these dates.

Task/Milestone Start Day Length
Planning and Development Day After GA of Previous Release Depends on GA date and working backwards from all the tasks below
Feature Acceptance Deadline Tuesday--Two weeks before Feature Freeze n/a
Feature Freeze Tuesday--1 week before Branch Freeze Until GA
Branch Freeze Event Tuesday--One week after Feature Freeze. Branch Freeze Policy in effect until GA.
String Freeze Same time as Branch Freeze Software String Freeze Policy in effect until GA.
Alpha Go/No-Go Meeting Wednesday @ 20:00 E{D,S}T before Tuesday release day n/a
Alpha Milestone Tuesday Public testing of Alpha lasts 3 weeks
Beta Go/No-Go Meeting Wednesday @ 20:00 E{D,S}T before Tuesday release day n/a
Beta Milestone Tuesday Public testing of Beta lasts 3 Weeks
Compose GA RC Two days after end of Beta Public Testing 1 day
Test GA RC After Compose GA RC 1 week
Final Go/No-Go Meeting Tuesday @ 20:00 E{D,S}T before Tuesday release day n/a
GA Release Six days after Test GA RC ends n/a
Maintenance GA release day ~13 Months
End of Life One month after GA of current release + 2 releases n/a

Development Schedule Rationale

Fedora generally develops new releases over a six month period to provide a regular and predictable release schedule. The bi-annual targeted release dates are May Day (May 1st) and Halloween (October 31) making them easy to remember and avoiding significant holiday breaks. Changes to this standard must be approved by the community-elected Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo).

A six month release schedule also follows the precedence of Red Hat Linux (precursor to Fedora). Former Red Hat software engineer Havoc Pennington offers a historical perspective here. GNOME started following a time based release based on the ideas and success of Red Hat Linux and other distributions following Fedora having adopted a similar release cycle. Several other major components, including the Linux kernel, Openoffice.org, Xorg, have started following a time based release schedule. While the exact release schedules vary between these components and other upstream projects, the interactions between these components and Fedora makes a six month time based release schedule a good balance.

Schedule Contingency Planning

If the Alpha or Beta Go/No Go meetings result in a "No Go" determination, that milestone and subsequent milestones will be pushed back by one week.

One week is the added to the schedule to maintain the practice of releasing on Tuesdays. Tuesdays are the designated release day because they are good days for news coverage and the established day we synchronize our content with the mirrors that carry our releases. Go/No Go meetings receive input from representatives of FESCo, Release Engineering, and Quality Assurance.

Maintenance Schedule

We say maintained for approximately 13 months because the supported period for releases is dependent on the date the release under development goes final. As a result, Release X is supported until one month after the release of Release X+2.

This translates into:

  • Fedora 20 will be maintained until 1 month after the release of Fedora 22.
  • Fedora 21 will be maintained until 1 month after the release of Fedora 23.

Maintenance Schedule Methodology

This methodology is documented in the End of life SOP.

Maintenance Schedule Rationale

Fedora is focused on free and open source software innovations and moves quickly. If you want a distribution that moves slower but has a longer lifecycle, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is derivative of Fedora or free rebuilds of that such as CentOS might be more suitable for you. Refer to the RHEL page for more details.

Historically, the Fedora Project has found supporting two releases plus Rawhide and the pre-release Branched code to be a manageable work load.

Additional Release Schedule Information