March 22, 2009 posted by Alistair Crooks
In preparation for the pkgsrc-2009Q1 branch, pkgsrc will be frozen for new packages and infrastructure changes, starting on Sunday March 22nd, at 23:59 UTC.
Some background to our freezes: pkgsrc makes four releases a year, named after the quarter in which all the work took place, and the quarter in which the packages themselves could last have been updated. The release name is thus 2009Q1, 2009Q2, etc. So that we can stabilise packages before the branch is created, we institute a freeze on new functionality - no new packages, and the infrastructure itself does not get changed. This means that we can take a look at the results of bulk build runs, and fix up any loose ends in the packages themselves, without having to worry about the basic building blocks of pkgsrc changing from under us - we have a stable platform to build upon.
It always happens that third party software vendors want to release a new version of their software just after we've entered the freeze. When that happens, we ask the pkgsrc developers to make a judgement call on it - they are the ones who will be maintaining this, after all - and if they think it needs to be updated, we ask them to get approval from the pkgsrc PMC. Again, to minimise the effect on other packages, we like to limit this to leaf packages. These are packages which can be changed easily with no consequences - packages which are not pre-requisites for any other package.
In general, pkgsrc tries to be conservative without being out of date in the versions of the packages. Trying to stay on the bleeding edge may be great fun at times, and does ensure early access to new features, but there are consequences for others in the stability of such packages. We have some packages which are maintained like this - usually, they have a -devel suffix - but the vast majority of packages are known to be good versions. We know, because we run those versions ourselves.
So what does pkgsrc-2009Q1 have in store for us? New pkg_install tools, speedups for the buildlink3 infrastructure, gnome 2.26, and many more things.
Look for pkgsrc-2009Q1 coming to a repository near you in a couple of weeks time.