[Development] Release plan moving forward

Lars Knoll lars.knoll at qt.io
Tue May 9 15:35:52 CEST 2017

Hi everybody,

I believe I have some good news to share with regards to our releases moving forward. As you all know, we had quite some trouble getting patch level releases out over the last year, going so far that we ended up not doing patch level releases for 5.8.

Fortunately, things are starting to look a lot better now. You might already have noticed the rolling beta releases for 5.9, where we have pushed updated betas out every 1-2 weeks. This shows that things are now going a lot smoother and we are in a much better shape to create releases in the future.

Additionally, things have improved on the CI and releasing side. It's nowadays a lot easier to get a qt5.git update through and create new packages from a successful qt5.git integration. In summer, the CI system will get a major HW upgrade giving it a much larger capacity, avoiding capacity conflicts between CI, packaging and release testing.Together with improvements to the  Release Test Automation (RTA) which automatically tests our packages we're actually getting into a good position to do patch level releases with relatively little manual labor from 5.9 and onwards. This means that we should now be in a position to do much more frequent patch level releases from 5.9 onwards.

Another thing that has happened is that The Qt Company has been seeing lots of requests for a new LTS release, as Qt 5.6 is starting to feel relatively old. I have also heard this request from a few places in the wider Qt community. Because of the improvements to CI/packaging and releasing, I believe we are now in a good position to make that happen.

So we are now planning to make Qt 5.9 a LTS release. It's been 3 minor releases since 5.6 and a lot of good things have happened in Qt, so this should be very good news to those of our users that don't always want to be on the bleeding edge but are looking for a stable version that's supported for a long time.

So once 5.9 is out, we are planning for rather frequent patch level releases for that branch for the first 6-9 months. After that, we'll move 5.9 into strict mode where we will also release a little less often, and then have it in a very strict mode for the last year. See the draft QUIP at https://codereview.qt-project.org/#/c/178906/45//ALL,unified for more details on LTS branches.

Of course, we will also continue to support 5.6 for the promised three years. We are planning to release 5.6.3 in Summer, after which 5.6 will move into the 'very strict' mode as defined in the branch policy QUIP.

After 5.9, we'll be aiming at 5.10 in late autumn, 5.11 next spring. I believe that we will be doing one more final LTS release on the Qt 5 series, but most of the work after 5.11 will probably start to be aimed on working towards Qt 6.

Now let's not go into discussions what Qt 6 exactly will be in this thread. I believe a lot of work towards defining what we're aiming at with Qt 6 will be for the Contributor Summit in October. But the outline above should give you good overview over the releases planned for the next 18 months.

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