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From Mark Thomas <ma...@apache.org>
Subject Ease of release process and exit criteria
Date Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:23:43 GMT
Hi,

I've noticed a pattern in some the board reports of PMCs who are
beginning to experience difficulties. In a notable number of cases a
significant part of the problem is difficulty in producing a release.
The sorts of phrases I am seeing are along the lines of releases "are
too difficult", "take too much effort" or "the person that used to do
the releases is no longer active". I've seen this in projects of all
sizes and maturity levels.

I've also experienced this in projects I have been involved in.
Fortunately, in those cases the community was able to figure out the
release process, simplify/automate it and document it, reducing the
future risk to the project.

To put some specifics on this to give an idea of what I am talking
about. The documented Windows build process for Tomcat Native is this:

http://tomcat.apache.org/native-doc/#Building/Windows

which is fine if you want to test a patch or build it form source to use
locally but is insufficient to produce a release. What the community
then produced is this:

https://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/TOMCAT/Building+the+Tomcat+Native+Connector+binaries+for+Windows


This got me wondering. Is protecting projects from this sort of future
problem something that could / should be addressed during incubation?
I'm thinking of a graduation criteria long the lines of:
"Is the release process clearly documented to the point that someone new
to the project could produce a release build?"

If there is general consensus on this, I'm happy to draft something to
add to http://incubator.apache.org/guides/graduation.html#releases

Thoughts?

Mark

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