Releasing Bazaar

This document describes the processes for making and announcing a Bazaar release, and managing the release process.

We normally have one person acting as the release manager, who organizes development for the release and also actually makes the release tarball and posts announcements. It can be a different person from one release to the next.

See also: Bazaar Developer Document Catalog.


General process

Our usual process is that one week before release we will make a release branch from the trunk. We do one commit to that branch to change the version number to 'rc1', and advance the trunk version to 'dev' for the next release.

We then publish and announce this release candidate according to the process below. We then have a week of general testing of the rc, including some time for plugin authors to update their code for any changes.

Normally no changes will be made on the release branch unless serious bugs or regressions are found, and the release manager decides they should be merged in. After one week, the release branch's version number is updated and it's published as the final release. If regressions or serious problems are discovered after the final release we may make an additional point release from that branch.

The process or timing can vary if that seems appropriate in a particular case but we try to release on a regular four week cycle.

The net effect is that the code gets some extra testing before release, and the trunk is always open for general development.

Starting a Release

To start a new release cycle:

  1. Send mail to the list with the key dates, who will be the release manager, and the main themes or targetted bugs. Ask people to nominate objectives, or point out any high-risk things that are best done early, or that interact with other changes.
  2. Add a new "series" in Launchpad at <>. There is one series for every x.y release.

Weekly Metronome Mail

Every week the release manager should send a mail to the Bazaar list covering these points (as appropriate):

Preparing the tree for release

This is the procedure for making a new bzr release:

  1. If the release is the first candidate, make a new branch in PQM. (Contact Robert Collins for this step).

    Register the branch at

  2. Make a local branch for preparing this release. (Only for the first release in a series, otherwise you should already have a branch.)

    bzr branch trunk prepare-1.6
  3. Configure pqm-submit for this branch, with a section like this in ~/.bazaar/locations.conf:

    pqm_email = Canonical PQM <>
    submit_branch =
    submit_to =
  4. In the release branch, update version_info in ./bzrlib/ (This must match _script_version in the bzr script, but that is updated at the start of the release cycle, and doesn't need to say if it's an rc or final release.)

    Run this command and check the output:

    ./bzr --version
  5. Add the date and release number to ./NEWS, and a one-paragraph summary of changes in this release.

  6. Commit these changes to the release branch, using a command like:

    bzr commit -m "Release 0.12rc1."

    The diff before you commit will be something like:

    === modified file 'NEWS'
    --- NEWS        2006-10-23 13:11:17 +0000
    +++ NEWS        2006-10-23 22:50:50 +0000
    @@ -1,4 +1,4 @@
    +bzr 0.12rc1  2006-10-23
    === modified file 'bzrlib/'
    --- bzrlib/  2006-10-16 01:47:43 +0000
    +++ bzrlib/  2006-10-23 22:49:46 +0000
    @@ -35,7 +35,7 @@
     # Python version 2.0 is (2, 0, 0, 'final', 0)."  Additionally we use a
     # releaselevel of 'dev' for unreleased under-development code.
    -version_info = (0, 12, 0, 'dev', 0)
    +version_info = (0, 12, 0, 'candidate', 1)
     if version_info[3] == 'final':
         version_string = '%d.%d.%d' % version_info[:3]
  7. Submit those changes to PQM for merge into the appropriate release branch:

    bzr push
    bzr pqm-submit -m "(mbp) prepare 1.6"
  8. When PQM succeeds, pull down the master release branch.

Making the source tarball

  1. Change into the source directory and run

    make dist
  2. Now we'll try expanding this tarball and running the test suite to check for packaging problems:

    make check-dist-tarball

Publishing the release

Now you have the releasable product. The next step is making it available to the world.

  1. In <> click the "Release series" for this series, to take you to e.g. <>. Then click "Register a release", and add information about this release.
  2. Within that release, upload the source tarball and the GPG signature.
  3. Link from to the tarball and signature.
  4. Update to have a directory of documentation for this release. (Controlled by the update-bzr-docs script on escudero, and also update the latest symlink in /srv/
  5. Announce on the Bazaar home page.

Announcing the release

Now that the release is publicly available, tell people about it.

  1. Announce to bazaar-announce and bazaar mailing lists. The announce mail will look something like this:

    Subject: bzr 0.11 release candidate 1

    INTRO HERE. Mention the release number and date, and why the release. (i.e. release candidate for testing, final release of a version, backport/bugfix etc).

    and GPG signature:


    DESCRIBE-when the next release will be (if there is another - i.e. this is a release candidate)

    Many thanks to all the contributors to this release! I've included the
    contents of NEWS for VERSION below:

    To generate the data from NEWS, just copy and paste the relevant news section and clean it up as appropriate. The main clean-up task is to confirm that all major changes are indeed covered. This can be done by running bzr log back to the point when the branch was opened and cross checking the changes against the NEWS entries.

    (RC announcements should remind plugin maintainers to update their plugins.)

    • For point releases (i.e. a release candidate, or an incremental fix to a released version) take everything in the relevant NEWS section. For example, for 0.11rc2 take everything in NEWS from the bzr 0.11rc2 line to the bzr 0.11rc1 line further down.
    • For major releases (i.e. 0.11, 0.12 etc), take all the combined NEWS sections from within that version: for 0.11 take all of the 0.11 specific section, plus 0.11rc2, plus 0.11rc1 etc.
  2. Update the IRC channel topic. Use the /topic command to do this, ensuring the new topic text keeps the project name, web site link, etc.

  3. Announce on

    This should be done for both release candidates and final releases. If you do not have a Freshmeat account yet, ask one of the existing admins.

  4. Update -- this should be done for final releases but not for Release Candidates.

  5. Package maintainers should update packages when they see the announcement.

  6. For final releases, also send the announcement mail to and

  7. Also send a GNU directory update to

  8. Update the python package index: <> - best done by running

    python register

    Remember to check the results afterwards.

    To be able to register the release you must create an account on <> and have one of the existing owners of the project add you to the group.

Merging the released code back to trunk

Merge the release branch back into the trunk. Check that changes in NEWS were merged into the right sections. If it's not already done, advance the version number in bzr and bzrlib/ Submit this back into pqm for

See also