Last week we did a webinar titled “Branching and Merging with Subversion 1.5”. This webinar focused on branching strategies, rather than the new merge tracking capabilities of Subversion 1.5. With merging becoming so much easier, many companies will want to rethink their branching strategies to better leverage the advantages of parallel development. That’s why we devoted an entire webinar to branching. If you missed this event, you can view the replay.
We received over 270 questions during the webinar. Over the next few weeks we will answer a lot of them here in this blog and we will also follow up with a webinar that elevates the story to change management. But let me start today by trying to answer the most frequently asked question (you know FAQs hardly ever really are ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, but this one is): “When will Subversion 1.5 be available?”
Should the answer come from CollabNet? Subversion is an open source project. One open source model can be quite different from another. Take MySQL, it is open source but what goes into the code is largely decided by one company, MySQL AB, which also does most of the development. The Linux kernel is a different example, there are many contributors but what makes it into the kernel goes through very few people.
CollabNet initiated Subversion and set it up as a community-driven project ruled by meritocracy (the better your contributions, the more influence you have). We like to think that contributions from our team of Subversion developers is very significant, and they often take the lead on new features (like svnsync and merge tracking), but there are many others who take initiatives and make significant contributions. The Subversion developers work as a community to make decisions around Subversion and that includes when to release a new version. CollabNet participates in this but the community rules. If you look at Subversion’s history, this process has worked very well: Subversion releases have always shown high-quality.
So, it’s not CollabNet’s role to pre-announce a new release, but of course we are very close to the community and know what is going on. Really then, when do I expect SVN 1.5?
The developers are hard at work to prep the Subversion 1.5 code for a release candidate and you can expect that candidate later this month. The release candidate is then “soaked” for at least a month, meaning that Subversion users are invited to test the new version and report bugs. If bugs are found, they are fixed and the soak cycle starts again (although this time it might be shorter).
In the end, the Subversion developers have a vote about the readiness of the release and if the verdict is “ready!”, the developers post a tarball of the code on Tigris.org and we have GA (general availability). Nobody can predict when this will exactly happen, but neither can the weatherperson tell you that it will for sure be sunny tomorrow. Here is my forecast: late December, with a chance of hail that will punch a hole in the schedule.
You can help keep the soak cycle short: start testing Subversion now! In previous posts I mentioned the Merge Tracking Early Adopter Program where you can find Subversion 1.5 pre-release binaries, a sample repository with merge history built-in, CollabNet’s new GUI clients, and a forum to discuss Subversion 1.5 and report bugs. Help the community bring the release date forward. Testing now prevents that issues are uncovered late, and it is your opportunity to give something back to the community that created the new standard in version control.
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