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Studying what has really delayed the previous Debian releases could help us improve our process.

For potato: FIXME: I don't remember

 1) boot-floppy

For Woody:

 1) toolchain issues
 2) boot-floppy
 3) security infrastructure update

For Sarge:

 1) toolchain issues
 2) debian-installer
 3) security infrastructure update

For Etch:

 1) We will probably have toolchain issues when moving to gcc-4.x
 2) We might be able to keep debian-installer releasable
 3) The security infrastructure update will still have to happen.

However, security infrastructure update took 3 months for woody, so this cannot accounted for all the delay.

We see that the large number of packages did not delay the releases.

We could release etch in 18 months by doing:

 12 months: etch debian-installer ready, start of security infrastructure update, toolchain almost ready
 15 months: security infrastructure update+toolchain ready
 18 months: final fixup, upgrade  test, CD creation, release notes.

If JoeyHess move to gather a security team for testing succeeds, that might provide an incentive to setup the testing-security infrastructure much earlier.