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Coherency of branchingÂś

There are many advantages to be had in a single, coherent view of the branching structure for a given module.

Maintainers and users alike have to deal with branches in multiple places:

  • We plan, develop and build content in bugzilla, dist-git and koji, then release it through bodhi. All of these tools share a common understanding of the various product branches (fXX etc.) and work flows naturally between them.
  • Users consume products knowing which branch they are on; they have the option to choose between branches (F25 after F26 has been released), and they report bugs and review CVEs corresponding to those branches

It also seems highly desirable to automate creation of branches, especially when we consider a future with many more modules than we have today, each with their own branches.

But the idea of a clean, consistent view of branching that is unified end-to-end falls down in several places. Some of the difficulties include:

Utility side-branches: Some of our tools have slight variants on the main branch naming to support specific workflow requirements.

For example, in CI we can have staging branches alongside the production release branches, and in koji we have scratch builds; these follow the main branching but are intended for developer use cases, rather than automatically being candidates for release.

We have candidate tags, beta tags and release tags in koji, indicating packages on various different stages of the lifecycle from development to release. Beta branches in general represent a special case here.

Multiple views of branching: There are several places where two different parts of the release pipeline can treat branching differently from each other. Two important examples here include minor version branching and per-edition views of a component:

Minor-version branching: TBD

Per-edition views of branching: TBD

Branch fluidity: TBD

Naming policy: TBD

Consistency of release: Finally, we need to consider the granularity of branches. The purpose of modularity is to allow us to release modules independently from a single master release cadence. But do we really want all modules to be released without any synchronisation or common branching at all?

History suggests we do not.

In the future we likely have many completely-decoupled modules for additional content outside the base Fedora runtime platform. But we may still eventually decide that we want to have synchronised releases of new content across different modules.

So while modules can have independent branches, we still need the ability to drive a common branching structure across a set of modules when that is needed for product release requirements. First-class support for such a consolidated release is absolutely necessary; to devolve the distribution into an unmanaged, completely-uncoordinated set of independent modules is likely unsustainable for both engineers, maintainers, and users alike.