[petsc-dev] plans for PETSc release

Barry Smith bsmith at mcs.anl.gov
Sun Apr 24 16:11:51 CDT 2016

  Agreed, the more bugs found before a release (and by us) the better. Expecting or even desiring that our users help in finding the bugs before a release is IMHO unrealistic. 

> On Apr 24, 2016, at 4:00 PM, Jed Brown <jed at jedbrown.org> wrote:
> Barry Smith <bsmith at mcs.anl.gov> writes:
>>> On Apr 24, 2016, at 1:48 PM, Karl Rupp <rupp at iue.tuwien.ac.at> wrote:
>>> On the other hand, a feature freeze for a week is a perfect
>>> opportunity for improving documentation and other work that will not
>>> break the code. And even if one prefers to keep coding, new features
>>> can still be put in next for testing. Particularly if communicated in
>>> advance ("Hey, we will have a feature freeze in 7 days and plan to
>>> release in 10 days"), people can easily arrange things. I think
>>> Lisandro's feature would have been ready on time if he had known 7
>>> days in advance.
>>   Nonsense, he knew weeks ahead.
> He knew that a release was coming, but no particular date.
>>   The option is ALWAYS there. We even have users who run Jenkins or
>>   buildbot against master everyday. It's not like there was not a
>>   warning that a release was coming out soon. People who want to do
>>   the pretesting (and there are very very few of them) had the
>>   opportunity.
> However, there was no guarantee that such testing would be relevant to
> the release.  Someone could be working on some feature that is going
> into the release.
>>   Some people like to have a pre-annouced day for a release (thinking
>>   if people are told that day, they will actually finish their
>>   feature on time or do some testing before then), I've avoided this
>>   because we are reliant on people (both in and outside PETSc) whose
>>   schedules are erratic, I think people do crappy work with fixed
>>   deadlines, and when we've tried it in the past we've always pushed
>>   past it anyways so what meaning did it have?
> You have announced specific dates in the past.  Every conference has a
> deadline for paper submission and many/most extend it by a week or two.
> I think there would be mass complaints if the organizers instead
> announced that they were going to close submissions at some point in the
> coming weeks, let some time go by, then said today's the last day for
> submissions.
>>   Actually he is proposing something that induces more effort. For
>>   example for a whole freaking week my work-flow of moving stuff that
>>   passes the tests in next into master is broken and this induces
>>   later more manual merges because other developers started their
>>   features/fixes with outdated code. Plus I am suppose to be running
>>   around for a week fixing documentation and testing on odd-ball
>>   machines.
> Our features are rarely so interdependent that the feature you implement
> today breaks the feature some other developer starts on Tuesday.  That
> merge isn't really urgent and the marginal cost of waiting a week is
> really low.
> But I think the reminder about fixing documentation and any outstanding
> bugs/reports is well worth it in terms of improving the quality of the
> release.
> Not every user that encounters a bug reports it.  While the cost to us
> in fixing a bug is about the same if it is discovered and fixed in
> 'master' versus 'maint', it is significantly higher for users.
> Moreover, when we ship a release with bugs, users encounter that bug for
> months, even after we have patched it (they don't instantly and
> effortlessly receive the patch release when we tag it), and then we get
> the support mail.  So bugs that affect multiple users are much more
> costly when discovered after the release.
>>   If you have a staff of programmers sitting in an office everyday
> [...]
> I have no expectation that everyone participate actively in the release.
> But I also don't think it's true that everyone ignores the release
> either.

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