Creating a Release

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Creating the release has the following steps:

Check the Release Status

See the page for the relevant release to ensure that all pending bugs have been fixed.

Ensure that all testing has been performed

This includes both the results of the nightly tests and the special tests that are used to check that common configuration options continue to work and that the coding standards have been followed.

TODO: There was a comprehensive checklist of the prerequisites for a release. That needs to be placed here. Recent releases have not checked this list. What follows is a partial list

Check all tests. This includes

  1. The four major test suites (MPICH, C++, Intel, MPICH2)
  2. The special tests (See [[1]] ); these are important for testing that various options and compiler choices work
  3. The "random" tests in the nightly test should not indicate any problems; these are used to test correct handling of the configure options
  4. Ensure that the Debugger interface works; (cd src/mpi/debugger ; make tvtest) can be used as a start; a check with totalview should also be performed
  5. Ensure that there are no performance artifacts, both for point-to-point and collective operations.

Update all necessary files and commit them to the trunk

  • Update the version numbers (including current:revision:age ABI) in maint/version.m4.
  • Update the CHANGES file. You can find the commits that went in by going through the svn log information.
  • Update the RELEASE_NOTES file. This requires input from everyone, and generally requires asking each person (in person) if the current restrictions still apply, and if any new ones should be added.
  • Update the README if necessary.

Create a release tag

(NOTE: below are the notes from when we managed our source in SVN and the project was still called "MPICH2", though they never 100% accurately reflected reality. Since the switch to Git, we haven't been following this model quite as closely. Also, some of the instructions below don't make as much sense in Git. These instructions are helpful history, but not how we do things now.)

  • A branch is only created once for a complete release cycle, i.e., 1.0.7rc1, 1.0.7rc2, 1.0.7, 1.0.7p1, etc., will have just one branch. At what point a release branch is to be created is not decided yet (e.g., alpha releases, beta releases, RCs, full release), but we currently do that at the time of the RC release. This essentially means an svn-copy of the trunk to the branches/release directory.
  • If this is the first RC for this release cycle, create a branch. Branches are named as mpich-X.Z.Y, where X, Y, Z are the major, minor and revision version numbers.
  • If this is not the first RC, merge all required changes from the trunk to the release branch.
  • A tag is created for every release from the branch. Tag is essentially an svn-copy of the branch to the tags/release directory. Tags are named as mpich-X.Y.Z[ext], where [ext] is a1/a2/.. (for alpha releases), rc1/rc2/.. (for RC releases), etc.

This is how we manage release tags and branches under Git:

  • tag the release version in your local git repository: git tag -a -m "tagging 'vX.Y.Z'" vX.Y.Z [COMMIT_HASH] ([COMMIT_HASH] defaults to HEAD if omitted).
  • It is strongly recommended that you create the release tarball locally and completely test it before pushing the tag to the origin repository.
  • Once the candidate tarball has been thoroughly tested and inspected, push the tag to origin: git push origin tag vX.Y.Z.
  • Long term release branches are still discouraged at this time, though they can easily be created after the fact as long as the tag exists. One easy way to do this in git is: git push origin vX.Y.Z:refs/heads/maint-vX.Y.Z, which will create a new branch on the remote "origin" named "maint-vX.Y.Z" which starts at the same commit as the tag "vX.Y.Z". Local branches can easily be created to track this remote branch in the usual way: git branch maint-vX.Y.Z --track origin/maint-vX.Y.Z ; git checkout maint-vX.Y.Z (or the equivalent shorthand: git checkout maint-vX.Y.Z, as long as that branch name only exists in exactly one remote).

Files corresponding to the tags are accessible through the web URL<filename>

Create a final tarball for the release

  • Get the script in maint from the trunk and run it as
 ./ --branch=[git_branch_to_use] --psource=[git_branch_for_previous_version] --version=[version] --remote-git-repo=[path_to_git_repository]

Update MPICH website

  • Create directory for tarballs
cd /mcs/mpich/tarballs
mkdir X.Y.Z
  • Copy MPICH and Hydra tarballs into new directory
  • Update website to reflect new release: downloads page, main page, and new page:
    • For full release update documentation as well: README.txt, installguide.pdf, userguide.pdf and windevguide.pdf (with mpich-[version]- prefix)

Mark the milestone complete on TRAC

  • If there are any pending tickets, move them to the next release.

Update any package managers we're responsible for

At the moment, this is just Homebrew. To do this, you need to:

  • Fork [2] on github to get your own version
    • Yes, this has to be done on GitHub itself
  • Make a branch to make your changes to the MPICH
    • Doing this in master will only bring pain. Don't do it.
  • Make the changes to Library/Formula/mpich2.rb
    • At the moment, this formula is still named mpich2 and can't be changed.
    • There is however, an alias to mpich so people can just say that they want to install that.
  • Unless there have been any major changes to the way people show build MPICH, all this requires is changing the url for the formula to whatever the new URL is.
    • If there have been new changes to the way people do the usual configure/make/make install setup, the rest of the script may need to change.
    • If there are new options that we should include in the package manager versions (don't read add all new options here), then they can be added.
  • Push your changes to your own fork on GitHub
  • Send a pull-request to the original mxcl repository

Send out the release announcement to [email protected] and party! Yay!

The older version of these release instructions can be found here: