Thrice? Is That Even a Word?
By mduigou on Jun 21, 2006
Yesterday we announced the 14th quarterly release of JXTA JSE along with the 6th quarterly release of JXTA-C and 5th quarterly release of JXME. All arrived on schedule with the usual assortment of features and fixes. We have a pretty good track record going for delivering these releases. That must mean it's time to change things. After much discussion amongst the release teams and with community members we are proposing to move to a "Thrice yearly" release schedule. We plan to continue to have regular releases around the beginnings of October, February and June. There are several motivations for this change. Firstly, users and developers have told us that with the current high level of stability and maturity in the current JXTA releases they aren't strongly motivated to jump to new releases the moment they come out. There are some people who are interested in the absolute latest code, but they generally follow CVS or the nightly builds and don't pay attention to formal releases at all. For most JXTA users, adoption of new releases is tied to their own project schedules and plans or they are just learning about JXTA and it's not critical which release they use as long as it is similar to the most current release (should they decide to use JXTA in a project). Secondly, we want to extend the development and testing phases of the release cycle. With a quarterly 13 week release schedule we have had 8 weeks of development and 5 weeks of "freeze". With the new "thrice yearly" 17 week release schedule we will have 11 weeks of development and 6 weeks of "freeze/testing". The extra time in each phase will hopefully allow more work to be committed. With the 13 week schedule we often found it was difficult to integrate larger changes and sometimes the process felt very rushed. Too often the "freeze/testing" period was shrunk as last minute features seemed to inevitably delay the code freeze. With the new schedule we are hoping to be more ruthless about enforcing the 6 week "freeze/testing" window and integrating the bigger patches earlier in the development cycle. We also believe that a longer development period will make it easier for community members to contribute code and features to JXTA as it is easier to make commitments based upon longer timelines. Finally, going through a release cycle has a fairly high cost in time and attention for the developers and community. By moving to a "thrice yearly" (got that yet?) schedule we are hoping to have more time spent on features, testing, documentation and development. We're hoping that the result is there will be even more innovation and quality as part of each JXTA release. The new release schedule is not official yet but we are expecting to set the dates of future JXTA releases very soon with the new schedule in mind. If you have feedback, comments, alternatives please share them now!