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{{ admon/note |This is a a draft which uses both tilde and the proposed ([[https://github.com/rpm-software-management/rpm/pull/597]]) caret notation for versioning.  The idea is to leverage these to the maximum amount possible in order to allow the Release: tag to be simple.}}
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{{ admon/note |This is a a draft which uses both tilde and the proposed ([[https://github.com/rpm-software-management/rpm/pull/597]]) caret notation for versioning.  The idea is to leverage these to the maximum amount possible in order to extract the greatest amount of simplification.  This seems to me to be simpler, though it may be longer because I've added more explanatory text.}}
  
 
Fedora's package versioning scheme encompasses both the <code>Version:</code> and <code>Release:</code> tags, as well as <code>Epoch:</code>.  The overriding goal is to provide sequence of packages which are treated as updates by RPM's version comparison algorithm while accommodating varied and often inconsistent upstream versioning schemes.
 
Fedora's package versioning scheme encompasses both the <code>Version:</code> and <code>Release:</code> tags, as well as <code>Epoch:</code>.  The overriding goal is to provide sequence of packages which are treated as updates by RPM's version comparison algorithm while accommodating varied and often inconsistent upstream versioning schemes.

Revision as of 20:59, 19 November 2018

Note.png
This is a a draft which uses both tilde and the proposed ([[1]]) caret notation for versioning. The idea is to leverage these to the maximum amount possible in order to extract the greatest amount of simplification. This seems to me to be simpler, though it may be longer because I've added more explanatory text.

Fedora's package versioning scheme encompasses both the Version: and Release: tags, as well as Epoch:. The overriding goal is to provide sequence of packages which are treated as updates by RPM's version comparison algorithm while accommodating varied and often inconsistent upstream versioning schemes.

Some definitions

Note that upstreams may each have their own terminology and it is in general impossible to define these terms with complete generality. For some upstreams, every commit is itself considered a version. Many upstreams never make releases, instead just letting users take whatever is in the code repository at any given time.

release version
A version of the software which upstream has decided give a version and call "released". The act of releasing the software can be as simple as adding a git tag. This includes so-called "point releases" or "patchlevels" which some upstreams make, since those are actually assigned versions and released, but it doesn't include so called "prerelease versions".
prerelease version
Before a release happens, many upstreams will decide which version that will release will have, and then produce "alphas", "betas", "release candidates", or the like which carry that new version but indicate that the final release of that version has not yet been made. These we call prerelease versions. The importance is that upstream is basically "counting down" towards some version number. Fedora needs to indicate that, but needs to make sure that the ordering is correct so that the Fedora package will properly upgrade to that version when it is actually released.
snapshot
An archive taken from upstream's source code control system which is not equivalent to any release version.
non-sorting version sequence
A sequence of version strings which is not ordered in the same way that RPM's version comparison function would order it. RPM has a somewhat complicated version comparison function which it will use to determine if a package is "newer". If upstream's idea of what constitutes a "newer" version differs from RPM's implementation then simply using upstream's versions directly will result in updates which don't actually update any packages because to RPM they look "older".

Examples

Examples of many possible versioning scenarios and tips on making your own version comparison tests are available from Package Versioning Examples.

Epoch: tag

The Epoch: tag provides the most significant input to RPM's version comparison function. If present, it MUST consist of a positive integer. It SHOULD ONLY be introduced or incremented when necessary to avoid ordering issues. The Epoch: tag, once introduced to a package, MUST NOT ever remove or be decreased in any way.

Release: tag

The Release: tag provides the least significant input to RPM's version comparison function. MUST consist of a positive integer, with the Dist tag appended. This integer MUST begin at 1 and MUST be incremented for each change made to the package that does not involve a change to the Version: tag. When a change is made that does change the Version: tag, the integer MUST be reset to 1.

In the case that you need to make a change to an older branch without rebuilding the newer branches and wish to preserve the ordering between branches, you MAY append a period and a second positive integer, beginning at 1. This goes after the Dist tag:

Release: 3%{?dist}.1

Simple versioning

Most upstream versioning schemes are "simple"; they generate versions like "1.2.03.007p1". They consists of one or more version components, separated by periods. Each component is a whole number, potentially with leading zeroes. The rightmost component can also include one or more ASCII letters, upper or lower case. The value of a component must *never* be reduced (to a value which sorts lower) without a component somewhere to the left increasing. Note that the version sequence ("1.4a", "1.4b", "1.4") does not meet this criterion, as "4" sorts lower than "4b". The sequence ("1.4", "1.4a", "1.4b") is, however, simple.

This is a very common versioning scheme, and the vast majority of software projects use something which works like this. To package release versions of software using this versioning scheme, simply use the upstream in the Version: tag. Don't trim leading zeroes.

If upstream uses a version containing dashes it usually suffices to either remove them or convert them to periods or underscores to get a simple versioning scheme. See #Upstream uses invalid characters in the version below.

More complex versioning

There are several ways in which the simple scheme might not work in a particular situation:

  • You wish to package a prerelease version.
  • You wish to package a snapshot (which may be a snapshot of a prerelease version).
  • Upstream has never chosen a version; only snapshots are available for packaging.
  • Upstream simply doesn't use a version scheme which orders properly under RPM's version comparison operation.
  • Upstream was thought to be following one scheme but then changed in a way that can't be sorted.
  • More than one of the above may apply (lucky you). Follow all of the relevant recommendations below together.

The methods for dealing with most of these issues involves tag while imposing additional structure onto the Version: tag. There are potentially three fields which comprise the structured Version: tag:

  • Upstream release version (<upstreamrel>)
  • Upstream prerelease identifier (<upstreamprerel>)
  • snapshot information (<snapinfo>)

Those items which are present are combined to construct the final Version:in the following form. The usual convention where items in square brackets might not be present applies.

  • <upstreamrel>[~<upsteamprerel>][^<snapinfo>]

A tilde ('~') indicates a prerelease and a caret ('^') indicates a snapshot. These characters are special to RPM and provide for special version comparisons. See Package Versioning Examples for more information on how these work.

The actual values to be used for those fields are given in the sections below.

Prerelease versions

In the Version: tag, use the following construction: <upstreamrel>~[<upstreamprerel>]. That is a literal tilde ( ~) which instructs RPM to sort this Version: immediately before a package with the same version but no tilde.

  • <upstreamrel> should contain the version which upstream has decided this line of development will become once it has been released.
  • <upstreamprerel> should contain a string which upstream has chosen to version the prereleases in this line of development. Usually this will be something like "alpha3" or "pre2", and may need to be altered such that it includes no invalid characters. (See above.) Note that it is possible that upstream has decided on the next release version but has not yet tagged a prerelease. In this case you would be packaging a snapshot (see below) and you would simply leave <upsteamprerel> empty while still including the tilde.

Snapshots

All snapshots MUST contain a snapshot information field (<snapinfo>) in the Version: tag (for prerelease snapshots) or the Release: tag (for post-release snapshots). That field must at minimum consist of the date in eight-digit "YYYYMMDD" format. The packager MAY include up to 17 characters of additional information after the date. The following formats are suggested:

  • YYYYMMDD.<revision>
  • YYYYMMDD<scm><revision>

Where <scm> is a short string identifying the source code control system upstream uses (e.g. "git", "svn", "hg") or the string "snap". <revision> is either a short git commit hash, a subversion revision number, or something else useful in identifying the precise revision in upstream's source code control system. Obviously if CVS is used, no such revision information exists, so it would be omitted, but otherwise it SHOULD be included.

Note that if you take a snapshot which comes after a prerelease, the Version: MUST still include the prerelease information. So a snapshot taken after beta1 has been released (but before beta2 or rc1 or the final release is tagged) still indicates "beta1" in the Version: tag. If you are packaging a prerelease snapshot where upstream has chosen the next version but not yet tagged any prerelease, the Version: tag still includes the tilde and the caret, as in "1.2~^20180101.abcdef".

Upstream makes unsortable changes

It is possible that upstream simply adopts a different versioning scheme, fails to follow an expected pattern, or even simply resets their version to some lower value. If none of the above operations can help with giving a version which sorts properly, or give you a version which simply sorts lower than the packages already in Fedora, then you have little recourse but to increment the Epoch: tag, or to begin using it by adding Epoch: 1. At the same time, try to work with upstream to hopefully minimize the need to involve Epoch: in the future.

In the rare case that upstream uses unsortable prerelease tags, there may be an alternative to introducing Epoch:. You can instead insert an integer in the Version: tag before the prerelease information. So from the following sequence:

  • 1.2 beta, 1.2 gamma, 1.2 delta

You can use the following vesions:

  • 1.2~beta, 1.2~gamma, 1.2~1.delta

In general, if it is possible to insert an integer into a version sequence in such a way that it doesn't imply a version not actually released by upstream, then doing this is preferable to introducing Epoch:.

Upstream has never chosen a version

When upstream has never chosen a version, you MUST use 0 for <upstreamrel> and otherwise follow the guidelines for prerelease snapshots. "0" sorts lower than any other possible value that upstream might choose. And if upstream does choose to release "version 0.1" (or "0.0.1" or something similar) then you can immediately move to using Version: 0.1 and Release: 1%{?dist} with no ordering issues.

Upstream uses invalid characters in the version

It's possible that upstream uses characters besides digits, ASCII letters (upper and lower case), periods and underscores in its version. They must be removed and potentially replaced with valid characters. Any such alterations MUST be documented in the specfile. It is not possible to cover all potential situations here, so it is left to the packager to alter the upstream versioning scheme consistently. It is common, however, to either remove dashes or replace them with underscores or periods (which RPM treats identically).

After altering the version to be free of invalid characters, see #Unsortable versions below if the modifications, when applied to successive releases from upstream, will not order properly. It is, however, often the case that a simple modification will give a scheme appropriate for #Simple versioning.

Rawhide is allowed to lag temporarily

A package MAY temporarily have a lower EVR in Rawhide when compared to a release branch of Fedora ONLY in the case where the package fails to build in Rawhide. This permits important updates to be pushed to existing Fedora releases regardless of the current state of Rawhide.