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 since you last read it) but it’s the most complex part.

If you’re doing your first release you can follow this document and read each step explanation. It’s also a good practice to read it for any release to ensure you don’t miss a step and to update it as the release process evolves.

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.


  1. PQM access rights (or you won’t be able to land any change)

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

    bzr branch lp:bzr-pqm ~/.bazaar/plugins/pqm
  3. Alternatively, you can download and install lp:hydrazine (the main difference is that hydrazine requires the branch to land to be hosted on launchpad).

What do we release

In this document, we’re talking about source releases only, packages and installers are built from this but we won’t talk about them here.

Every release is part of a series, bzr-2.4.1 is part of series 2.4.

We do two different kind of releases: the betas releases and the stable releases for a given series.

For a given series, releases will be done to deliver new versions of bzr to different kinds of users:

  1. beta releases: named x.ybn where x.y is the series and n starts at 1 and is incremented. These releases are targeted to beta testers who don’t want to run from source but are interested in features or improvements.
  2. stable releases: name x.y.z where x.y. is the series and z starts at 0 and is incremented. These releases are targeted at people that want bugfixes only and no new features.

Differences in the release process between beta and stable release will be mentioned when needed.

When do we relase ?

As of July 2011, we maintain four series (and one that is about to be EOLed). 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:

  1. as much as possible releases should not disturb development, and ongoing development should not disturb releases,
  2. the most recent development series should release once a month during the beta period (see Development cycles for more details),
  3. 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),
  4. previous series should release 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),
  5. 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 resurrection.)
  6. 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 though),
  7. 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 stable PPA but that the SRU processs allow us to reach a wider audience.

At the start of a series cycle

To start a new series cycle:

  1. Create a new series x.y at <>.

  2. Add milestones at <> to that series for the beta releases and the stable series mentioning their expected dates. Only the milestone associated to the next release in this series should be left active to avoid clutter when targeting bugs.

  3. If you made a new series, you will need to create a new pqm-controlled branch for this release series. This branch will be used only from the first non-beta release onwards. It needs to be created by a Canonical sysadmin (ask the core devs for instructions or to do it for you).

  4. 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
  5. Start a new whats-new file:

    cd doc/en/whats-new
    cp template.txt bzr-x.y.txt  # e.g. bzr-2.6.txt
    bzr add bzr-x.y.txt
  6. Update doc/en/index.txt to point to the new whats-new file.

At the start of a release cycle

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 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.

  2. Make a local branch to prepare the release:

    bzr branch lp:bzr/x.y x.y-dev

    If you’re doing your first beta release, branch from trunk:

    bzr branch lp:bzr x.y-dev

    Note that you will generally reuse the same branch for all releases in a given series.

  3. Configure pqm-submit for this branch, with a section like this (where x.y is the series for your release). Or use hydrazine for easier setup ~/.bazaar/locations.conf:

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

    version_info = (x, y, z, 'dev', 0)
  5. 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.

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

  7. Make sure a milestone exists for your release and that it is active, <> lists the existing milestones, <> allows you to toggle the active flag.

  8. 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. Merge into your branch all previous stable series fixes that haven’t been merged yet. For example, if you’re releasing 2.6.x, make sure the fixes on 2.5, 2.4, 2.3, etc have already been merged up:

    bzr merge lp:bzr/2.4

    and commit that merge in its own commit. This should happen only if the devs landing changes in previous releases forgot to merge them up. Since this can slow down the freeze, feel free to gently remind them about their duties ;) If you feel unsafe resolving the conflicts or it’s too time consuming, contact the related devs and skip this merge.

  3. 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, 6, 0, 'beta', SERIAL)

    For instance 2.6b1:

    version_info = (2, 6, 0, 'beta', 1)

    For stable releases use:

    version_info = (2, 6, 0, 'final', 0)
  4. Update the ./doc/en/release-notes/ section for this release.

    Check that all news entries related to this release have been added in the right section. For example, if you’re releasing 2.6b2, the following command should display a a single chuk diff for the 2.6b2 release:

    bzr diff -rbzr-2.6b2.. doc/en/release-notes/bzr-2.6.txt

    Fill out the date and a description of the release under the existing header (the diff above will help you summarizing). If there isn’t one, follow the instructions above for using the release-template.txt file and remind people that they should document their changes there ;)

    See 2.6b1 or similar for an example of what this looks like.

  5. Add or check the summary of the release into the “What’s New” document.

If this is the first release in a new series make sure to update the introduction mentioning:

  • the date of this first release,
  • until when the series is expected to be supported.

Looking at bzr annotate for previous series should give you the right hints. The doc/en/_templates/index.html file should also be updated.

  1. 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 2011-07-18, all bugs mentioned in the output of the script requires some sort of intervention (either changing the status if it’s not ‘Fix Released’ or setting a different milestone if the bug hasn’t been fixed). A few false positives may 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 (-w will open each bug in your browser for example).

  2. For beta releases update the translation template:

    BZR_PLUGIN_PATH=-site make po/bzr.pot

    This is especially important for the final beta release which is when translations are frozen and translators are requested (see The final beta - branching and translations) to make the translations.

  3. For stable releases update the translations:

    bzr merge lp:~bzr-core/bzr/bzr-translations-export-x.y
  4. 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
  5. Tag the new release:

    bzr tag bzr-2.6.0
  6. Push those changes to a bzr branch that is public and accessible on the Internet. PQM will pull from this branch 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 2.6.0 (Vincent Ladeuil)"

    Note that bzr push should mention updating one tag (which you just created). If it doesn’t, double-check that you created (and pushed) this tag.

    Or with hydrazine:

    bzr lp-propose -m "Release 1.14" --approve lp:bzr/1.14
    feed-pqm bzr
  7. 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.

    Until <> is fixed, you may encounter issues if you cut a release for old stable branches (<= 2.2) and use a more recent OS/distro. If that’s the case, check the bug status and use the following workaround if no fix is available:

    export TTPATH=<local branch of lp:testtools -r 0.9.2>
    export SUPATH=<local branch of lp:subunit -r 0.0.6>
    PYTHONPATH=$TTPATH:$SUPATH/python PATH=$SUPATH/filters:${PATH} BZR_PLUGIN_PATH=-site make check-dist-tarball PYTHON=python2.6 | subunit2pyunit

    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! <>

Kick off the next cycle

From that point, there is no possible return, the tarball has been uploaded so you can relax a bit.

You’re still holding a “social” lock on the launchpad branch though. Until your start the next cycle, nobody should land anything on this branch. If they do, they either targeted the wrong branch or didn’t update the news file correctly, so the sooner the branch is opened again, the better.

This matters more for lp:bzr than for lp:bzr/x.y, lp:bzr should always be open for landing, so you should do At the start of a release cycle as soon as possible (i.e. update the version number in bzr and bzrlib/__init__, create/update the news files and create/update the milestone for the next relase).

You may also need to do At the start of a series cycle if you’re starting a new series.

The final beta - branching and translations

A word of caution: the instructions above works well for all releases but there is one special case that requires a bit more care: when you release the last beta for a given x.y series (from trunk aka lp:bzr), you need to setup two branches for the next cycle:

  1. lp:bzr needs to be opened for the next series x.(y+1).
  2. lp:bzr/x.y needs to be opened for the next release x.y.0 in the series. Since this is first real use of lp:bzr/x.y, this is also the deadline for the PQM branch to be created.

Both are important as lp:bzr should remain open so any change can be landed, lp:bzr/x.y on the other hand should be ready to receive bug fixes.

lp:bzr is generally more important as the bug fixes on lp:bzr/x.y won’t be released sooner than a month from now whereas people may already been waiting to land on lp:bzr.

In a nutshell:

  1. Open lp:bzr for x.(y+1)
  2. Create or update the x.y PQM branch based on whatever revision you want to release. Since it takes time to create the PQM branch for the new series you should plan to get it created a few days before you need it and seed it with the revision from trunk you want to base your release of (ask a LOSA for pulling this revision from trunk and pushing it to the series branch (lp:bzr/x.y) when you’re ready).
  3. Release x.y.0 from lp:bzr/x.y
  4. Open lp:bzr/x.y for bug fixes

You also need to ensure Launchpad is set up to import/export translations for the new branch and inform translators.

  1. Push the last beta release to a new branch:

    bzr push lp:~bzr-core/bzr/bzr-translations-export-x.y
  2. On the translations series synchronization settings page <> turn on Import template files then for exports click Choose a target branch and point it at the branch you just pushed.

  3. E-mail translators to announce that the forthcoming stable release of bzr is ready for translations. Send to and

  4. The series is now frozen for strings and API, see below for adding that to the announcement.

Announcing the source freeze

  1. Post to the and lists, saying that the source has been frozen. 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.

    The freeze announcement generally guess the date of the official public announcement, for the most recent stable series (the one supported by the installers and most of the distributions) it’s generally a few days after the freeze. For older series supported only via SRUs for Ubuntu, we don’t control the process as tightly so guessing the date is not appropriate.

    For the final beta release include in your announcement a notice of API and translation freezes noting that public methods should not be removed or changed and strings should not be added or changed.

  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 for 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 in in 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. When the first release is created in a new series, a branch needs to be created on escudero:

    sudo -u bzr-web -s
    cd /srv/
    bzr branch lp:bzr/2.7 bzr/bzr.2.7

    And the bzr/bin/update-bzr-docs script needs to refer to it.

    The lp:bzr-alldocs branch also needs to be updated when a new series is introduced, see the README file there for more instructions (looking at the branch history is also a good way to understand what needs to be done and to document any policy changes).

Announcing the release

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

  1. Make an announcement mail.

    For beta releases, this is sent to the and lists.

    For stable releases (excluding SRUs which are for older stable 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 a Canonical project and part
    of the GNU project <> to produce a free operating
    <<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 <> mentioning the milestone URL <> so people get an easy access to details.

  3. Announce on

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

    The purpose here is to point users to the latest stable release (i.e. SRUs are excluded) while still publishing announcements for beta 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, 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.
  4. Update – this should be done for the stable and beta releases.

  5. Update the python package index: <>

    From the tarball created and tested earlier

    twine upload -s ../bzr-2.7.0.tar.gz

    Remember to check the results afterward – this should be done for stable releases but not for beta releases nor SRUs.

    The twine command is provided by the twine package on Debian and Ubuntu.

    If in doubt, you can test with <> where you can register yourself, register the bzr project and upload (and then remove the upload and delete the project so a new release manager can enjoy the same facilities). If the project already exists, have one of the existing owners of the project add you to the group.

    To use the pypi test site, you need to record your credentials for an existing user (the registration process is manual and starts at <>.

    Once registered, you can record your crdentials in your ~/pypirc file with

    username:<login on testpypi>
    password:<password on testpypi>
    repository =

    Registering the bzr project if doesn’t exist is achieved with:

    python -r register

Uploading is done with:

 twine upload -r testpypi -s ../bzr-2.7.0.tar.gz

To be able to upload the release you must create an account on
<> and have one of the existing owners of the
project add you to the group and update your ``[pypi]`` section in your
``~/pypirc`` file.

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 series cycle and follow the instructions from there.

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, you’re not finished yet. Another beta or hopefully a stable 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 and stable 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.

Since September 2010, bzr has received approval by the technical board for the MicroReleaseExceptions category so that whole bugfix releases can more easily be approved.

Progress on these realeases is tracked on the SRU wiki page.

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:
  • quantal for the 2.6 series,
  • precise for the 2.5 series,
  • oneiric for the 2.4 series,
  • natty for the 2.3 series,
  • maverick for the 2.2 series,
  • lucid for the 2.1 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