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This page describes the process of making a release of the DebianInstaller. Its primary goal is to be a memento for the release managers of the DebianInstaller and to ease the transfer of these responsibilities to new people.

Process outline

  1. The debian-installer team upload every installer components (udebs) to unstable.

  2. After a testing phase through daily netboot and weekly CDs/DVDs builds, manual coordination with the release team is done to migrate the udebs to testing.

  3. A new debian-installer package is uploaded to unstable, then built as usual by the buildd network.

  4. ftpmasters copy stuff from the sid directories (dak copy-installer).
  5. The release team “urgents” the debian-installer source package, so that the source of the d-i images gets into testing.
  6. Then, CDs and DVDs are built using debian-cd.
  7. Images are put in some semi-public space where developers can perform last-minute checks.
  8. The release is announced: mail to dda@/dd@, and website update.

Announcing the release

Gathering package changelogs: scripts/prepare-release-announce to the rescue. A full example is available in the code.

Web site checkout (replace “kibi” with the proper username):

sudo apt-get install cvs
cvs -d :pserver:anonymous@anonscm.debian.org:/cvs/webwml login
cvs -d :ext:kibi@cvs.debian.org:/cvs/webwml checkout webwml
cvs -d :ext:kibi@cvs.debian.org:/cvs/webwml checkout cron/scripts/validate

Add a .wml file in the right directory, adding a Makefile (copying over is enough). Then render with make foo.en.html, run validate on the generated html file.

Update errata.wml; cat the news and errata to send the announce. Finally update index.wml and images.data to point to the new release.

Releasing DebianInstaller components

Even if any member of the team can upload a DebianInstaller component (udebs are no different than normal packages in this regard), release managers are expected to regularly test and upload the version in the repository.

The list-unreleased script is helpful to get an overview of packages which need an upload.

The package upload process is described in doc/devel/package-upload.txt.

Planning a release

In order to coordinate with every actors needed to get a release done, a schedule (see the one done for Etch RC2 as an example) needs to be done.

From previous experience, the most important blocker has always been waiting for the targeted kernel to migrate to testing. To announce a timeline it is a good idea to know when that migration will happen. Quite a few times it has been necessary to negotiate with RMs about this, either to speed up a kernel migration or, just as important, to _delay_ one in order to make a release with the version in testing.

Here is the procedure that was followed by FJP:

Stable point releases

For releases before Lenny the debian-installer package needed to be uploaded with a build/sources.list.udeb.local with <codename>-proposed-updates added as an extra source.

For later releases this is automated by the USE_PROPOSED_UPDATES in the debian/rules file, which should only need to be changed for the first upload to stable for a given Debian release.

Relationships with the debian-cd team

The debian-cd team is responsible for building out the full CDs and DVDs which can be used to install Debian systems.

The build box

CDs and DVDs builds, both for the weekly builds and for releases, are currently done on pettersson.debian.org.

Release managers and debian-cd hackers can be added to the debian-cd group by opening a ticket on RT and by being co-opted.

Example of tasks

Status of debian-cd

The software currently running on pettersson is the SVN version of debian-cd. The package in unstable is updated periodically.

New releases

Steve ?McIntyre usually takes care of the full CDs and DVDs builds done for a release. From past experience, it mostly boils down to a sleepless night.

Even if he's normally available through a reasonably short notice, warning him 3 weeks ago sounds like a good timeframe.

Checking pending requests from the Release Team

During last stages of release preparation, asking the release team to wait a bit before unblocking udebs is quite common. Then unblock requests are tagged 'd-i' to find them easily later on, which can be done using:

bts select package:release.debian.org status:open tag:d-i

Data sources

Here is a list of data that needs to be tracked in order to make nice releases:


Many thanks to JoeyHess and Frans Pop for the material that has been assembled here.