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Re: Fedora Release Engineering Meeting Recap - 2009-05-04

Jesse Keating said the following on 05/06/2009 05:04 PM Pacific Time:
On Wed, 2009-05-06 at 16:52 -0700, John Poelstra wrote:
The overall Fedora 12 schedule with a GA date of 2009-11-03 is 21 days shorter than Fedora 11 and exactly the same length as Fedora 8 so it is not unusually short.

Well 21 days is a lot of days to take in, particularly when a lot of
them seemed to come between the GA of 11 and the Alpha freeze of 12.

I still don't understand why that matters considering the amount of development and changes that happen up until GA no matter where we are in the release process. Even now after final freeze lots of changes are being ACKd on releng-list and very few if any are getting NAKd.

way I could do that was to drop the Alpha cycle.  While already a
non-blocking freeze, it still drew too much attention away from ongoing
development in order to deliver something that was weeks old and already
irrelevant.  The alpha has had dubious quality to the development cycle,
at least from the developer and tester POV.  About the only thing of
quality it provided was a "known good starting point" for which to
install and then update to rawhide, and even that hasn't been true for
large swaths of folks in recent releases.
I'd be curious to see our torrent and download numbers for the F11 Alpha to understand how insignificant it was. Where can we find them?

Torrent numbers are at http://spins.fedoraproject.org:6969/  but
downloads alone don't show the whole picture.  By the time people got to
the Alpha bits, the general feeling I have is that most of the bugs in
alpha were already known, and the solution was to update to rawhide.
Even if the bugs weren't fixed, the first suggestion was always update
to rawhide, so rawhide is really the target we're after, alpha just
appeared to be an easy way to get there.

If I'm reading the information correctly there, 10,000+ people got the Fedora 11 alpha.

I would think that giving 10,000 people an easy starting place for a release would be a good thing.

How will we measure--not assert or subjectively decide as we are doing here and have done in the past--whether a change we have made helps our releases or if time is better spent somewhere else?

It seems that we continue to experiment and tweak the schedule with different durations, freezes, etc. but we rarely collect any hard data to evaluate whether or not past tweaks were beneficial or not.

If we can't really measure our progress or lack thereof in tangible terms, how do we really know we should continue to tweak things?

Although it is simple to just "not do the Alpha" it will take more coordination across the other Fedora teams AND good messaging in the press and wider world that no alpha is coming for Fedora 12 along with the reasons why. Have we considered the cost of this trade-off to our brand and community?

Hard to judge the cost, however our "three tests and a release" which
turned into "Alpha Beta Preview Release" was really designed before we
had things such as Test Days and the easily available live images, or
the ability to easily compose regular install images with slightly
different package sets.  The prohibitive cost to doing images on demand
has gone down considerably, and combined with test days provides a
better harness for gathering feedback as we go than the date based
quickly stagnant snapshots.

This sounds good, but how do we really know this is true? What data can we point to? Maybe we are focusing on the wrong problem and should instead focus on the amount of churn and changes during development.


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