DebOps releases

The DebOps project is used to manage production infrastructure which requires a stable, predictable codebase. This document describes the various steps involved in the DebOps development to get to a stable release. It is meant to aid the project users in picking the preferred release schedule for their needs.

Versioning scheme

The stable and LTS DebOps releases utilize the Semantic Versioning scheme in the git tags, with some changes from the standard scheme (MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH):

  • The major number in the version string is considered an "epoch" and is incremented after a significant number of stable minor releases has been created. A new "epoch" might signify that enough changes have happened that a complete rebuild of the environment managed by DebOps might be necessary.

    New DebOps LTS releases increase the major version number and reset the minor version number to 0.

  • The minor number in the version string defines a stable DebOps release with its own stable-x.y branch.

  • The patch number in the version string denotes the next "patch" release in a given stable-x.y git branch. Each patch release is created if there are any unreleased changes in a given stable-x.y branch, and no new changes were made for about a week in a normal "stable" release, or immediately in a "LTS" release. Changes in the patch release usually don't get a mention in the master branch Changelog, but get mentioned in the Changelog of a given stable-x.y branch.

The "rolling" release

DebOps project is developed in a git repository, with the master branch as the main development branch. The project's repository is hosted on GitHub, with a mirror on GitLab used for testing the Ansible roles via a GitLab CI pipeline. This release is meant for those that prefer to get the latest updates in the codebase, bugfixes and improvements.

The changes in the master branch are performed in the form of pull requests from forked git repositories, usually on separate branches with one or more git commits. The master branch is designed to be usable at all times in the production environment, but uncatched bugs might occur; they are usually quickly fixed if found.

The "stable" releases

Once every three months, a new stable release is created from the current master branch, with the increased minor version number. Stable DebOps releases have their own stable-x.y branches and are supported for about a year after their first release.

Only bugfixes and non-invasive changes, that don't require modification in the Ansible inventory or managed environment, are backported from the master branch to a stable-x.y branch during its lifetime, as long as they are compatible. Changes in external resources (for example new operating system releases) might also be backported to the stable releases to ensure correct operation of the roles.

At the moment there are no plans to ensure that an automatic migration from one stable release to the next is possible. This might change in the future, when all of the old code is cleaned up and refactored. Changes between stable releases are described in the Changelog and the Upgrade notes.

The "LTS" releases

Once every two years, a new Long Term Support (LTS) release is created, with a new major version number (stable-x.0). The LTS releases are similar to the "stable" releases, but they are supported for 6 years instead of 1 year after the initial release, to match the Debian LTS schedule for long term support of a given OS release (additional year to account for the freeze time).

The DebOps LTS releases will be created just before the current Debian Testing release enters the "freeze" period, which is usually in November (subject to change if the Testing freeze timeline changes). The next DebOps LTS release will be created in October 2021 - it will be a v3.0.0 release (the v2.0.0 release will be created in January 2020 to re-align the DebOps release schedule to the Debian Testing freeze schedule).

How to use different releases?

The "rolling" release

You can use the debops-update script after installing the "debops" Python package to clone the DebOps monorepo to a central location. See its documentation for more details.

If you plan to use the rolling release, keep an eye for changes in the project described in the Changelog and the Upgrade notes.

The "stable" / "LTS" releases

Stable and LTS DebOps releases are published to the Python Package Index (the debops Python package includes the Ansible roles and playbooks), and to the Ansible Galaxy as an exported Ansible Collection. The releases are also tagged on GitHub. See the DebOps installation documentation to learn how you can install DebOps in various ways.

Current release schedule

Branch/Tag Status First release End of support
stable-3.0 Planned LTS 2021-10-xx 2027-10-xx
... ... ... ...
stable-2.3 Planned 2020-10-xx 2021-10-xx
stable-2.2 Planned 2020-07-xx 2021-07-xx
stable-2.1 Planned 2020-04-xx 2021-04-xx
stable-2.0 Planned 2020-01-xx 2021-01-xx
stable-1.2 Planned 2019-11-xx 2020-11-xx
stable-1.1 Supported 2019-08-25 2020-08-25
stable-1.0 Supported 2019-05-22 2020-05-22
v0.8.1 Retired 2019-02-02  
v0.8.0 Retired 2018-08-06  
v0.7.1 Retired 2018-03-28  
v0.7.0 Retired 2018-02-11  
v0.6.0 Retired 2017-10-21