Releasing Bazaar

This document describes the processes for making and announcing a Bazaar release, and managing the release process. This is just one phase of the overall development cycle, but it’s the most complex part. This document gives a checklist you can follow from start to end in one go.

If you’re helping the Release Manager (RM) for one reason or another, you may notice that he didn’t follow that document scrupulously. He may have good reasons to do that but he may also have missed some parts.

Follow the document yourself and don’t hesitate to create the missing milestones for example (we tend to forget these ones a lot).


  1. Download the pqm plugin and install it into your ~/.bazaar/plugins:

    bzr branch lp:bzr-pqm ~/.bazaar/plugins/pqm

At the start of a release cycle

To start a new release cycle:

  1. If this is the first release for a given x.y then create a new series at <>. There is one series for every x.y release.

  2. If you made a new series, create a new pqm-controlled branch for this release series, by asking a Canonical sysadmin. This branch means that from the first release beta or candidate onwards, general development continues on the trunk, and only specifically-targeted fixes go into the release branch.

  3. If you made a new series, add milestones at <> to that series for the beta release, release candidate and the final release, and their expected dates.

  4. Create a new milestone <> and add information about this release. We will not use it yet, but it will be available for targeting or nominating bugs.

  5. Send mail to the list with the key dates, who will be the release manager, and the main themes or targeted bugs. Ask people to nominate objectives, or point out any high-risk things that are best done early, or that interact with other changes. This is called the metronome mail and is described in Development cycles.

  6. 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-1.14
  7. Configure pqm-submit for this branch, with a section like this (where x.y is the version to release). Or use hydrazine for easy use ~/.bazaar/locations.conf:

        pqm_email = Canonical PQM <>
        submit_branch =
        parent_branch =
        public_branch =
        submit_to =
        smtp_server =
    Please see <>
    for more details on PQM
  8. Update the version number in the bzr script, and the bzrlib/ file:

    version_info = (x, y, z, 'dev', 0)
  9. Add a new section at the top of NEWS about the new release, including its version number and the headings from NEWS-template.txt.

  10. Update the “What’s New” documents in doc/en/whats-new.

  11. Commit this and send it to PQM.

Doing a particular release

Update the source code

  1. Check that there is a milestone for the release you’re doing. If there is no milestone it indicates a process problem - make the milestone but also mail the list to raise this issue in our process. Milestones are found at <>.

  2. In the release branch, update version_info in ./bzrlib/ Make sure the corresponding milestone exists. Double check that ./bzr _script_version matches version_info. Check the output of bzr --version.

    For beta releases use:

    version_info = (2, 1, 0, 'beta', SERIAL)

    For instance 2.1b1:

    version_info = (2, 1, 0, 'beta', 1)

    For release candidates use:

    version_info = (2, 0, 1, 'candidate', SERIAL)

    For stable releases use:

    version_info = (2, 1, 2, 'final', 0)
  3. Update the ./NEWS section for this release.

    Fill out the date and a description of the release under the existing header. If there isn’t one, follow the above for using the NEWS template.

    See 2.1.1 or similar for an example of what this looks like.

  4. Add a summary of the release into the “What’s New” document.

  5. To check that all bugs mentioned in ./NEWS are actually marked as closed in Launchpad, you can run tools/

    ./tools/ NEWS

    (But note there can be some false positives, and this script may be flaky <>. Don’t let this slow you down too much.)

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

    bzr commit -m "Release 1.14."

    The diff before you commit will be something like:

    === modified file 'NEWS'
    --- NEWS        2008-09-17 23:09:18 +0000
    +++ NEWS        2008-09-23 16:14:54 +0000
    @@ -4,6 +4,23 @@
     .. contents::
    +bzr 1.7 2008-09-23
    +This release includes many bug fixes and a few performance and feature
    +improvements.  ``bzr rm`` will now scan for missing files and remove them,
    +like how ``bzr add`` scans for unknown files and adds them. A bit more
    +polish has been applied to the stacking code. The b-tree indexing code has
    +been brought in, with an eye on using it in a future repository format.
    +There are only minor installer changes since bzr-1.7rc2.
     bzr 1.7rc2 2008-09-17
    === modified file 'bzrlib/'
    --- bzrlib/  2008-09-16 21:39:28 +0000
    +++ bzrlib/  2008-09-23 16:14:54 +0000
    @@ -41,7 +41,7 @@
     # Python version 2.0 is (2, 0, 0, 'final', 0)."  Additionally we use a
     # releaselevel of 'dev' for unreleased under-development code.
    -version_info = (1, 7, 0, 'candidate', 2)
    +version_info = (1, 7, 0, 'final', 0)
     # API compatibility version: bzrlib is currently API compatible with 1.7.
  7. Tag the new release:

    bzr tag bzr-1.14
  8. Push those changes to a bzr repository that is public and accessible on the Internet. PQM will pull from this repository when it attempts to merge your changes. Then submit those changes to PQM for merge into the appropriate release branch:

    bzr push
    bzr pqm-submit -m "(mbp) prepare 1.14"

    Or with hydrazine:

    bzr lp-propose -m "Release 1.14" --approve lp:bzr/1.14
    feed-pqm bzr
  9. 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

    You may encounter failures while running the test suite caused by your locally installed plugins. Use your own judgment to decide if you can release with these failures. When in doubt, disable the faulty plugins one by one until you get no more failures.

    Remember that PQM has just tested everything too, this step is particularly testing that the pyrex extensions, which are updated by your local pyrex version when you run make dist, are in good shape.

Publishing the source tarball

  1. Go to the relevant milestone page in Launchpad.
  2. Create a release of the milestone, and upload the source tarball and the GPG signature. Or, if you prefer, use the tools/packaging/lp-upload-release script to do this. Note that this changes what the download widget on the Launchpad bzr home page shows, so don’t stop the release process yet, or platform binary installers won’t be made and the download list will stay very small! <>

Announcing the source freeze

  1. Post to the bazaar list, saying that the source has been frozen. This is the cue for platform maintainers and plugin authors to update their code. This is done before the general public announcement of the release.

Kick off the next cycle

  1. To let developers work on the next release, do At the start of a release cycle now.
  2. Pause for a few days.

Publishing the release

There is normally a delay of a few days after the source freeze to allow for binaries to be built on various platforms. Once they have been built, we have a releasable product. The next step is to make it generally available to the world.

  1. Go to the release web page at <>
  2. Link from to the tarball and signature.
  3. Announce on the Bazaar website. This page is edited via the lp:bzr-website branch. (Changes pushed to this branch are refreshed by a cron job on escudero.)
  4. Announce on the Bazaar wiki.
  5. Check that the documentation for this release is available in <>. It should be automatically build when the branch is created, by a cron script update-bzr-docs on escudero. As of today (2009-08-27) igc manually updates the pretty version of it.

Announcing the release

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

  1. Make an announcement mail.

    For release candidates or beta releases, this is sent to the bazaar list only to inform plugin authors and package or installer managers.

    Once the installers are available, the mail can be sent to the bazaar-announce list too.

    For final releases, it should also be cc’d to,,

    In all cases, it is good to set Reply-To:, so that people who reply to the announcement don’t spam other lists.

    The announce mail will look something like this:

    Subject: bzr x.y.z released!
    <<Summary paragraph from news>>
    The Bazaar team is happy to announce availability of a new
    release of the bzr adaptive version control system.
    Bazaar is part of the GNU system <>.
    Thanks to everyone who contributed patches, suggestions, and
    Bazaar is now available for download from as a source tarball;
    packages for various systems will be available soon.
    <<NEWS section from this release back to the last major release>>

    Feel free to tweak this to your taste.

  2. Make an announcement through <>

  3. 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.

  4. Announce on

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

  5. Update – this should be done for final releases but not for beta releases or Release Candidates.

  6. 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

The rule is to keep NEWS sections sorted by date. You’ll need to review the merge and make sure that that is respected.

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

As soon as you change the version number in trunk, make sure you have created the corresponding milestone to ensure the continuity in bug targeting or nominating. Depending on the change, you may even have to create a new series (if your change the major or minor release number), in that case go to At the start of a release cycle and follow the instructions from there.

You should also merge (not pull) the release branch into lp:~bzr/bzr/current, so that branch contains the current released code at any time.

Releases until the final one

Congratulations - you have made your first release. Have a beer or fruit juice - it’s on the house! If it was a beta, or candidate, you’re not finished yet. Another beta or candidate or hopefully a final release is still to come.

The process is the same as for the first release. Goto Doing a particular release and follow the instructions again. Some details change between beta, candidate and final releases, but they should be documented. If the instructions aren’t clear enough, please fix them.

See also