Release Craziness

Tonight it was release time – when GNOME tarballs were due in order to allow 48 hours of smoke testing before the actual release, on January 18th.

I did the gnome-utils release, and decided to hang out a bit on #gnome-hackers – and I would have better had not to, since everything happened tonight.

FIrst comes Guilherme de S. Pastore: the newly-appointed gnome-terminal mantainer couldn’t make this release on time, and asked for someone to ship the code inside HEAD; since I love gnome-terminal (usually, I have a dozen terminals laying around on my dozen-workspace layout), how could I not help, after glancing at the bunch of bug fixes Guilherme did in the last two weeks? Also, he is on the Account Team and enabled my SSH account as fast as he could in the occasion of the last release day, so I had a huge debt of gratitude with him.

After the usual ./ && make && make distcheck cycle and update, I made the release, and hung around a bit more on the IRC channel.

A mere two hours before the end of the timeline (23:59 UTC), three patches still had to be applied to libgnome, libbonoboui and libgnomeui respectively, and then make a release of those three libraries. In a moment of slight insanity, I began working on it. The madness began.

Each patch applied cleanly to its library; I began making a libgnome release, but noticed that the patch broke libbonobo – upon which libgnomeui depends. I already did a commit to the CVS, so I had to track the origin of the breakage. It was an included header (popt.h) that was conditionally included using a pre-processor macro, but the data structures defined in there were still used and not conditionally compiled out using the same check. In order not to break everything, I had to roll out a new version of libgnome – with the header file unconditionally included. Minutes flew while make distcheck run. Finally, the 2.13.7 release of libgnome was ready. I had to install it on my system in order to make libbonoboui compile: with a mere hour to go, I still had to roll a release for libbonoboui and a release for libgnomeui.

Libbonoboui compiled fine – my fix worked fine. While I was uploading the libbonoboui’s tarball for release 2.13.1, make distcheck run inside libgnomeui. Twentyfive minutes to the deadline.

Finally, libgnomeui finished its check and created the tarball of the 2.13.2 release. I did the upload less than fifteen minutes before the deadline was due.

I’ve never had this much fun: it was a run against time, and against my CPU. Also, I gained a certain degree of automatism when dealing with the release process of a GNOME package. But, seriously: never, never again.