A few of the goals I set for myself in 2010 were around making the Fedora release processes better known and understood. I’ve made it a personal challenge–I plan to have a pile of URLs and email archive links to refer any complaints to that might show up on Fedora lists about the release milestones being unknown or unclear. Of course the only way to do that is to create them so they can be pointed to. 🙂
Up until recently I’ve mostly focused on doing this through making the schedules better. A good schedule is only one part of making our releases a success. Having a schedule does not mean you will meet it. Having a task listed on a schedule does not mean everyone knows what is required to complete it. This led to me to work on the Release Engineering SOPs and freeze guidelines.
After living through a number of releases it is easy to get jaded about complaints aimed at how unclear Fedora’s release milestones are–what they mean and when they occur. Sometimes we have not given people the benefit of the doubt when we should. Other times it is only the people who know that know—The Curse of Knowledge, made famous in the excellent book, Made to Stick. And yes, on other occasions, people have just not paid attention.
Here are a few things I’ve done or plan to do during Fedora 13 to make sure everyone has the information they need:
1) Milestone reminders to devel-announce–subscribe to this low volume list if you want important notices and reminders.
2) Posting to devel-announce when a milestone has been reached.
3) Periodic reminders of upcoming schedule tasks to each of the teams–contact me if you want more details added to the schedule reminders for your team.
4) A matrix of important schedule milestones and what they mean–are there any missing or is the presentation unclear? Let me know.
While I’m at it, it probably wouldn’t hurt to mention that the next significant schedule milestone for Fedora 13 will be Feature Freeze on Tuesday, February 9, 2010.
What other reminders or information about the Fedora 13 release process would be helpful to have? What are you doing to make Fedora 13 the best release ever?