Creating a release branch

From postmarketOS
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is relevant for maintaining the repository only, regular users will not need this guide.

Creating a new release branch

Wait for Alpine

  • Wait until Alpine creates their 3.14-stable branch in aports.git (or whatever the next release is based on).
    • Alpine's workflow is setting up new builders and build edge from scratch first, and only after that is done, the new branch gets created. (postmarketOS workflow is the other way around, we create the branch first, then build all packages from there.)
    • There is no fixed timeline from when the builders start up to when the branch gets created, typically a few weeks.
    • The builder status can be followed at

pmbootstrap: adjust config

  • add apk-tools min version
  • create a merge request
  • when CI passes, merge it (it's a trivial change)
  • make a new pmbootstrap release now (or soon if now does not make sense).
    • bpo uses the master branch, so it will be fine without a release, however users will want to try out the new release and may not run master.

pmaports: create branch and initial changes

  • git checkout -b vXX.YY master
  • Create a === Branch vXX.YY from master === commit (third line: Related:
    • Remove channels.cfg (should only be in master)
    • Change channel=edge to channel=vXX.YY in pmaports.cfg
    • replace master in .gitlab-ci.yml (example)
  • set version info for /etc/os-release in main/postmarketos-base/rootfs-etc-os-release, bump pkgrel and commit
  • git push
  • protect the new release branch in gitlab, so nobody can force-push to it

pmaports: update master branch

  • git checkout master
  • add the new branch to channels.cfg
  • git push

pmaports: remove packages / aportgen

  • git checkout vXX.YY
  • remove packages:
    • device/testing, device/unmaintained
    • cross/*-armhf, cross/*-x86
    • cross/gcc4*, main/gcc4, cross/gcc6*, main/gcc6
    • main/postmarketos-ui-asteroid (no smartwatches are useful on stable branches at the moment)
  • run pmbootstrap aportgen for packages in cross
    • may not be necessary if the branch was just created, since the packages on edge and the new stable branch will be the same
  • git push

bpo: adjust config

  • add the branch to the config, for x86_64 only, ignore_errors: True
    • bpo/config/const/
  • make a merge request, wait until CI passes
  • merge it and roll it out/ask somebody who can do that
  • restart bpo, it will start building x86_64 packages

bootstrap of binary packages

  • fix failing x86_64 packages
    • Patches need to go through edge first, then get backported to the stable branch!
    • Try to get build fixes merged to edge quickly, ask for reviews in #postmarketos-devel, and consider merging trivial fixes right after they pass CI.
  • wait until all packages for x86_64 are built and published
  • after x86_64 is published, activate armv7, aarch64 arches in bpo (if you activate them before, the builds will fail due to missing cross compilers!)
  • fix up ARM packages too
  • wait until all packages for ARM are built and published

Images: config & issue

  • update bpo's images config to build images for the new branch for all devices in community and main, except for:
    • qemu-*
    • arrow-db410c
  • create an issue in pmaports with a checklist of devices in main and community
    • tag the maintainers of each device
    • ask them to verify that the images work as expected

No more WIP

  • bpo: configure the new branch to be not WIP anymore
  • ensure that a pmbootstrap release been made with the apk-tools min version change

Adjust CI

  • disable x86, armhf in .gitlab-ci.yml on the release branch
  • make sure pmaports.git CI runs through on the new branch. Examples of why it might fail:
    • one postmarketos-ui package has a package from alpine testing in their _pmb_recommends.
      • remove the UI if it is not used much (can bring it back on demand) or fork the package to the new branch
      • consider fixing it in edge, so we don't run into this with the next release
  • adjust monitoring to run on the new release and make sure it passes

Write blog post

  • look at previous release blog posts for inspiration, then prepare a MR with the following changes.
    • update config/ in
      • latest_release(_title)
      • update devices and categories. only list the ones where we actually build images.
  • write a blog post for the new release:
    • Highlight major changes since the last release
    • Mention new devices, and total list of devices
      • Count devices that have their own wiki page as separate device
      • E.g. OnePlus 6, 6T are two devices (two wiki pages), but variants of "Samsung Galaxy A3 (2015)" are one device (one wiki page)
      • Don't count/list devices for which we don't build images (e.g. qemu-amd64, Arrow DragonBoard 410c)
    • Explain upgrade path (basically Upgrade release this page for now)
    • Adjust the homepage config to point to the new release in the downloads page
    • Add some cool photos (Martijn takes great photos, maybe ask him ;) )
    • Submit the blog post as MR to
    • Wait for reviews


  • Merge the blog post
  • Post to mastodon etc. and add the comment links at the bottom
  • Edit channels.cfg, change descriptions:
    • New release: "Latest release / Recommended for best stability"
    • Old release: "Old release (supported until YYYY-MM-DD)" (one month from date of the release)
  • Update the Releases wiki page
    • Move the new release to the list of active releases, link to the blog post
    • Add a supported until date for the old release (but keep in the "active" list for now)
  • Update "Default description template for issues" in pmaports
  • Put a reminder in your calendar to drop support for the old release in one month (see below)
  • Ping Martijn to add the branch to config

Drop support for old release

A month after a new release has been published:

  • drop the old release from monitoring
  • bpo: configure images so they don't get built for the old release anymore
  • bpo: configure branches so we don't try to build packages for old branches anymore
    • e.g. on startup all branches are checked for new packages, we should keep the amount of branches that get checked minimal
  • pmaports.git channels.cfg: change description:
    • "Old release (unsupported)"
  • Update Releases, move the release from active to old
  • Update "Default description template for issues" in pmaports
  • Go through issue assigned to the old release


Cherry-picking commits from master

  • In merge requests, that shall be cherry picked, add the backport-to-vXX.YY label.
  • If the new release is not finished, backport the patch to the branch right after merging.
  • If the new release is finished, add it to the service pack branch and issue (see creating a service pack)
  • It would be best if the person that merged the patch did the backport, but the author of the patch should double-check and do it in case it wasn't done, just to be sure.
  • Use git cherry-pick -x ffffffff (insert commit to cherry pick accordingly). The -x will add a (cherry picked from commit ffffffff) line to the commit message.
  • Cherry picked commits shall not be squashed, then it's hard to understand which commits were already picked and which were not.
  • If git reports conflicts, resolve them.
    • If you have cherry-picked a commit, that has touched a lot of devices that don't exist in the stable branch, then you can use git rm $(git status | grep "deleted by us" | cut -d ':' -f 2).
    • Look at the git diff to make sure that the result is as expected.
  • If it's something non-trivial, then make a merge request for the cherry-picked commits so we see that it was done correctly, it builds and that we may test the packages before merging.
  • Avoid cherry-picking multiple patches that touch the same pmaports in the wrong order (related comment).