Buster Freeze Timeline and Policy

let's release!

The freeze for buster will happen according to the following timeline:

These phases are fully explained below, but condense down to the following summary:

| Effect \ Milestone  |       Transition freeze       |     Soft-freeze     |      Full-freeze     |
| Major transitions   |  No new transitions           |          No         |          No          |
| Max. change level   |  No large/disruptive changes  | small, targeted fix |       RC (all)       |
|                     |                               |                     | important (optional) |
| Migration age req.  |  Standard (2/5/10d)           |     10 day delay    |  Standard (2/5/10d)  |
| Autopkgtest bounty  |  Yes                          |          No         |         Yes          |
| New src packages    |  Standard automatic migration |          No         |          No          |
| Re-entry to testing |  Standard automatic migration |          No         |          No          |
| Migration rules     |  Standard automatic migration | Some manual reviews |  100% manual review  |

Before the freeze

Plan your changes for buster

If you are planning big or disruptive change, check the timeline to see if it's still realistic to finish them before the transition freeze. Keep in mind that you might need cooperation from other volunteers, who might not necessarily have the time or capacity to work on this. You can stage your changes in experimental to make sure all affected packages are ready before uploading the changes to unstable.

Fix release-critical bugs

You can help the development of buster by fixing RC bugs, before and during the freeze. An overview of bugs can be found on the UDD bugs page.

You can also join the #debian-bugs irc channel on irc.oftc or join a Bug Squashing Party.

Testing migration

The 'standard' testing migration rules apply:

Transition Freeze

Starting 2019-01-12, new transitions and large/disruptive changes are no longer acceptable for buster.

Autopkgtests regressions

Starting 2019-01-12, packages which trigger autopkgtests failures in unstable, which succeed in testing, will be blocked from migrating to testing. This means autopkgtests regression will be treated the same way as RC bug regressions or piuparts regressions.

Testing migration

Changes in the rules for testing migration:

Other than that, the 'standard' testing migration rules apply:

Soft Freeze

Starting 2019-02-12, only small, targeted fixes are appropriate for buster. We want maintainers to focus on small, targeted fixes. This is mainly, at the maintainers discretion, there will be no hard rule that will be enforced.

Please note that new transitions or large/disruptive changes are not appropriate.

The release team might block the migration to testing of certain changes if they might cause disruption for the release process.

Increased delay for all testing migrations

The testing migration delay of all packages will be increased to 10 days. This means the rate of changes to testing will slow down.

The minimum delay of 10 days will also apply to packages with successful autopkgtests.

No new packages and no re-entry to testing

Packages that are not in testing will not be allowed to migrate to testing. This applies to new packages as well as to packages that were removed from testing (either manually or by auto-removals). Packages that are not in buster at the start of the soft freeze will not be in the release.

Please note that packages that are in buster at the start of the soft freeze can still be removed if they are buggy. This can happen manually or by the auto-removals. Once packages are removed, they will not be allowed to come back.

Testing migration

Changes in the rules for testing migration:

The following rules still apply:

Full freeze

Starting 2019-03-12, packages can only migrate to testing after manual review by the release team.

We have some criteria for what changes we are going to accept. These are listed below. These criteria will become more rigid as the freeze progresses.

The release managers may make exceptions to these guidelines as they see fit. Such exceptions are not precedents and you should not assume that your package has a similar exception. Please talk to us if you need guidance.

Please talk to us early and do not leave issues to the last minute. We are happy to advise in case you need the release team's help to fix RC bugs (e.g. to remove an old package)

Testing migration

Changes in the rules for testing migration:

The following rules continue to apply:

Changes which can be considered

  1. targeted fixes for release critical bugs (i.e., bugs of severity critical, grave, and serious) in all packages;
  2. fixes for severity: important bugs in packages of priority: optional, only when this can be done via unstable;
  3. translation updates and documentation fixes that are included with fixes for the above criteria;

Note that when considering a request for an unblock, the changes between the (proposed) new version of the package in unstable and the version currently in testing are taken in to account. If there is already a delta between the package in unstable and testing, the relevant changes are all of those between testing and the new package, not just the incremental changes from the previous unstable upload. This is also the case for changes that were already in unstable at the time of the freeze, but didn't migrate at that point.

We strongly prefer changes that can be done via unstable instead of testing-proposed-updates. If there are unrelated changes in unstable, you should consider reverting these instead of making an upload to testing-proposed-updates. Hence, and also because it may impact other packages in unstable that try to migrate to buster, it is recommended that, during the freeze, you do not upload to unstable any changes for which you do not intend to request an unblock.

Applying for an unblock

  1. Prepare a source debdiff between the version in testing and unstable and check it carefully
  2. Use reportbug to report an unblock bug against the release.debian.org meta-package. Attach the source diff. Include a detailed justification of the changes and references to bug numbers.
  3. If the diff is small and you believe it will be approved, you can upload it to unstable before filing the unblock request to avoid a round-trip.
  4. Depending on the queue, there may be some delay before you receive further instructions.

If you are unable to bring your fix through unstable, for example because there are unrelated changes already uploaded there, the release team can grant you permission to use the testing-proposed-updates mechanism. Prepare an upload targeting testing-proposed-updates but do not upload it, and then contact us through an unblock bug. It is usually better to revert the changes in unstable and upload the fix there.

Targeted fixes

A targeted fix is one with only the minimum necessary changes to resolve a bug. The freeze process is designed to make as few changes as possible to the forthcoming release. Uploading unrelated changes is likely to result in a request for you to revert them if you want an unblock.

Some examples of changes that are undesirable during a freeze:

  1. dropping a -dbg package in favour of -dbgsym
  2. adding a new systemd unit in place of an init script

Removing packages from testing during the freeze

Throughout the freeze, we will continue to remove non-key packages with RC bugs in testing and their reverse dependencies automatically. As usual, the auto-removal system will send a notice before this happens. Please note that it is not enough for the bug to be fixed in unstable. The fix (in unstable or testing-proposed-updates) must be done in such a way that the fixed package can be unblocked and allowed to migrate to testing, based on the rules listed above. You must contact us to ensure the fix is unblocked - do not rely on the release team to notice on their own.

Manual removal may still happen without warning before the standard auto-removal periods have passed, when the package is blocking other fixes.

After 12th February 2019, removed packages will not be permitted to re-enter testing.