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, (go re-read this document to ensure it hasn’t been updated) 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

When do we relase ?

As of October 2010, we mantain four series. Concurrently releasing them all at the same time makes it harder to shorten the delay between the source availability and the package building longer than necessary (we delay the official announcement until most of our users can install the new release).

In order to continue to do time-based releases, we need to plan the releases by series to minimize the collisions. In the end, it’s the Release Manager call to decide whether he prefers to do all releases at once though, so the rules presented here are a conservative approach.

We want to respect the following rules:

#. as much as possible releases should not disturb development, and
   ongoing development should not disturb releases,

#. the most recent development series should release once a month during
   the beta period (see `Development cycles <cycle.html>`_ for more

#. the most recent stable series should release every other month (based
   on the amount of bug fixes, this can be shorter or longer depending on
   the bugs importance),

#. previous series should relesase on a regular basis without interfering
   with the most recent series with a decreasing order of priority (again
   this should be based on bugs importance and user feedback),

#. the death of a series should be planned ahead of time. 6 months should
   give enough time to our users to migrate to a more recent series. This
   doesn't mean we will make a release at the end of the series, just that
   before the end date we _could_ possibly put out another release if
   there was a sufficiently important fix.  Beyond that date, we won't
   even land changes on that branch (unless something causes a miraculous

#. there should not be more than 2 releases in the same week (but the
   Release Manager is free to ignore this (get in touch with packagers

#. the series are aligned with Ubuntu releases for convenience since we
   create a new series every 6 months. This means that we support the
   stable series for 18 months. Note that we also propose the most recent
   stable series via the ppa, so whether we keep supporting LTS directly
   or via the ppa is still an open question.

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. If you made a new series, then start a new release-notes file:

    cd doc/en/release-notes
    cp series-template.txt bzr-x.y.txt  # e.g. bzr-2.3.txt
    bzr add bzr-x.y.txt
  10. Add a new section at the top of the current release notes (in doc/en/release-notes) about the new release, including its version number and the headings from release-template.txt.

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

  12. 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 ./doc/en/release-notes/ 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 instructions above for using the release-template.txt file.

    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 the release notes are actually marked as closed in Launchpad, you can run tools/

    ./tools/ doc/en/release-notes/bzr-x.y.txt

    As of 2011-05-26, only a few false positives remain in the older series. Don’t let this slow you down too much. This script accepts options you may find useful, use ./tools/ to display its usage.

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

    bzr commit -m "Release 2.3.1"

    The diff before you commit will be something like:

    === modified file 'bzrlib/'
    --- bzrlib/    2011-02-09 06:35:00 +0000
    +++ bzrlib/    2011-03-10 10:24:47 +0000
    @@ -52,7 +52,7 @@
     # Python version 2.0 is (2, 0, 0, 'final', 0)."  Additionally we use a
     # releaselevel of 'dev' for unreleased under-development code.
    -version_info = (2, 3, 1, 'dev', 0)
    +version_info = (2, 3, 1, 'final', 0)
     # API compatibility version
     api_minimum_version = (2, 3, 0)
    === modified file 'doc/en/release-notes/bzr-2.3.txt'
    --- doc/en/release-notes/bzr-2.3.txt      2011-03-09 08:30:16 +0000
    +++ doc/en/release-notes/bzr-2.3.txt      2011-03-10 10:40:47 +0000
    @@ -8,23 +8,10 @@
     bzr 2.3.1
    -:2.3.1: NOT RELEASED YET
    -External Compatibility Breaks
    -.. These may require users to change the way they use Bazaar.
    -New Features
    -.. New commands, options, etc that users may wish to try out.
    -.. Improvements to existing commands, especially improved performance
    -   or memory usage, or better results.
    +:2.3.1: 2011-03-10
    +This is a bugfix release. Upgrading is recommended for all users of earlier
    +2.3 releases.
     Bug Fixes
    === modified file 'doc/en/whats-new/whats-new-in-2.3.txt'
    --- doc/en/whats-new/whats-new-in-2.3.txt 2011-02-03 16:29:18 +0000
    +++ doc/en/whats-new/whats-new-in-2.3.txt 2011-03-10 11:10:36 +0000
    @@ -17,8 +17,13 @@
     improvements made to the core product, it highlights enhancements within the
     broader Bazaar world of potential interest to those upgrading.
    -Bazaar 2.3.0 is fully compatible both locally and on the network with 2.0 2.1,
    -and 2.2, and can read and write repositories generated by all previous
    +Bazaar 2.3.1 includes all the fixes in the un-released 2.0.7, 2.1.4 and 2.2.5
    +versions that weren't included in 2.3.0 and fixes some bugs on its own.
    +See the :doc:`../release-notes/index` for details.
    +Bazaar 2.3 is fully compatible both locally and on the network with 2.0, 2.1,
    +and 2.2. It can read and write repositories generated by all previous
     Changed Behaviour
  7. Tag the new release:

    bzr tag bzr-2.3.1
  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 "(vila) Release 2.3.1 (Vincent Ladeuil)"

    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 | subunit2pyunit

    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. Alternatively, you can use BZR_DISABLE_PLUGINS or BZR_PLUGIN_PATH=-site to disable one or all plugins.

    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 series 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 (gone gold). Be extra clear that this is only a source release targeted at packagers and installer builders (see <>). 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. 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.)
  3. 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.

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!
    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 <>.
    <<Summary paragraph from news>>
    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.
    <<release notes 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.

    The purpose here is to point users to the latest stable release while still publishing announcements for development releases.

    There are several kinds of modifications that could be done there via the Administration box in the lower right area of the page:

    • Edit the project: This is where most of the URLs proposed in the Links box are edited. This should rarely change except for the URLs related to the latest stable release.
    • New announcement: When doing a release (beta, candidates, final), put the summary of the release (you can’t embed URLs there, the moderation staff remove them). Users can still access the releases notes via the Release Notes URL in the Links box in the upper right area of the page. When doing the first stable release in a series, delete the Unstable installers <> and Unstable source tarball <> links. Conversely, when creating the first beta in a development series, create these links again. Check all links when doing other kinds of release.
    • Set direct download: When releasing a new stable release, this should point to the corresponding launchpad page: <>
  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 – this should be done for final releases but not for beta releases or Release Candidates.

    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. The doc/en/release-notes changes should be merged into the right place because each release series has its own release-notes file, but double-check.

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.

Getting the release into Ubuntu

(Feel free to propose or add new sections here about what we should do to get bzr into other places.)

For the currently-under-development release of Ubuntu, no special action is needed: the release should be picked by Debian and synced from there into Ubuntu.

Releases off stable bzr branches should go in to the -updates of the Ubuntu release that originally contained that branch. (Ubuntu Lucid had bzr 2.2.0, so should get every 2.2.x update.) This means going through the SRU (Stable Release Updates) process.

As of September 2010, bzr has applied to the technical board to be added to the MicroReleaseExceptions category so that whole bugfix releases can more easily be approved.

After making a bzr stable-release release, nominate the most serious bug for the appropriate Ubuntu release and subscribe the `ubuntu-sru` team.

This requires a couple of tricks (please reconsider and tweak as things evolves from one release to the other):

  • create a distro task with the Also affects distribution button and select bzr (Ubuntu).
  • change the URL to point to ubuntu/+source/bzr instead of bzr (this is needed if you create the distro task but not if it exists already). You should now be able to click the Nominate for release button and select the right Ubuntu release. As of September 2010, this means:
  • maverick for the 2.2 series,
  • lucid for the 2.1 series,
  • karmic for the 2.0 series.
  • Subscribe the ~ubuntu-sru team to the bug.
  • Add a comment targeted to ~ubuntu-sru explaining the expectations (we are targeting running the test suite during the build which, as of September 2010, fails for known reasons that are currently addressed). Search for bugs tagged with sru for examples and don’t forget to tag the bug you selected.

See also