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the Alpine release process

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s almost time for an Alpine release, and all hands are on deck to make sure the process goes smoothly. But what goes into making an Alpine release? What are all the moving parts? Since we are in the process of cutting a new release series, I figured I would write about how it is actually done.

the beginning of the development cycle

The development cycle for an Alpine release is 6 months long: it begins immediately once the release is branched in aports.git: at that point, there is no longer a development freeze, and minor changes start flowing in.

Prior to the beginning of the development cycle, larger changes are proposed as system change proposals, an example of which being the change proposal introducing Rust to main for the Alpine 3.16 development cycle. The largest, most invasive proposals are coordinated by the Technical Steering Committee, while others may be coordinated by smaller teams, and individual maintainers. Anybody may create a system change proposal and drive it in Alpine, regardless of whether or not they have developer rights in the project.

As these system change proposals are accepted (possibly after a few rounds of revision), the underlying steps needed to implement the change are sequenced into the overall development schedule if needed. Otherwise, they are implemented at the discretion of the contributor driving the change proposal.

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