Schedule Driven Releases: Channel Strategy

Mark Banner mbanner at
Thu Apr 21 11:17:57 UTC 2011

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been talking to various people about 
our strategies for the new schedule driven releases.

Originally, we weren't sure if to go for a three or four channel process 
(see Powers of Ten section on the FF overview for info 
we were thinking of something like:

  * Develop our trunk/nightly channel using Experimental as the back-end
  * Thunderbird Beta using Beta for the back end
  * Thunderbird Release using Release

We would have then used the mozilla-central/nightly back-end as the 
Canary system.

However, I think the biggest concern with this is for L10n - the way 
Firefox is being set up, is that the Experimental channel (now called 
Aurora) is string frozen for L10n. Hence, if we develop our equivalent 
of experimental, and then expect L10n to localise on Beta, I can see 
some localisers getting confused as to which channel they are localising 

I think there's also the fact that if we haven't got some development on 
mozilla-central then we may miss some core bugs that we don't see until 
a merge to Aurora.

Therefore, I think we should go for a one-to-one mapping of:

  * Thunderbird trunk/nightly uses Firefox nightly
  * Thunderbird Experimental (name TBD) uses Firefox Experimental/Aurora
  * Thunderbird Beta uses Firefox Beta
  * Thunderbird Release uses Firefox Release

With this mapping, we'll also definitely need the Canary system 
completing for the trunk builds.

I'm currently not specifying repository names as I'm just about to start 
discussions with the l10n folks about how to structure the repos, which 
I think will help shape what we need to go with.

Feedback and thoughts welcome.

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