Releasing GDB

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Releasing GDB

Versions and Branches

Version Identifiers

GDB's version is determined by the file `gdb/'.
   GDB's mainline uses ISO dates to differentiate between versions.
The CVS repository uses YYYY-MM-DD-cvs while the corresponding snapshot
   GDB's release branch uses a slightly more complicated scheme.  When
the branch is first cut, the mainline version identifier is prefixed
with the MAJOR.MINOR from of the previous release series but with .90
appended.  As draft releases are drawn from the branch, the minor minor
number (.90) is incremented.  Once the first release (M.N) has been
made, the version prefix is updated to M.N.0.90 (dot zero, dot ninety).
Follow on releases have an incremented minor minor version number (.0).
   Using 5.1 (previous) and 5.2 (current), the example below
illustrates a typical sequence of version identifiers:
     final release from previous branch
     main-line the day the branch is cut
     corresponding branch version
     first draft release candidate
     updated branch version
     second draft release candidate
     updated branch version
     final release candidate (see below)
     official release
     updated CVS branch version
     second official release
   * Minor minor minor draft release candidates such as have
     been omitted from the example.  Such release candidates are,
     typically, never made.
   * For 5.1.93 the bziped tar ball `gdb-5.1.93.tar.bz2' is just the
     official `gdb-5.2.tar' renamed and compressed.
   To avoid version conflicts, vendors are expected to modify the file
`gdb/' to include a vendor unique alphabetic identifier (an
official GDB release never uses alphabetic characters in its version
   Since GDB does not make minor minor minor releases (e.g.,
the conflict between that and a minor minor draft release identifier
(e.g., is avoided.


GDB draws a release series (5.2, 5.2.1, ...) from a single release
branch (gdb_5_2-branch).  Since minor minor minor releases (
are not made, the need to branch the release branch is avoided (it also
turns out that the effort required for such a a branch and release is
significantly greater than the effort needed to create a new release
from the head of the release branch).
   Releases 5.0 and 5.1 used branch and release tags of the form:
   Release 5.2 is trialing the branch and release tags:
   _Pragmatics: The branchpoint and release tags need to identify when
a branch and release are made.  The branch tag, denoting the head of the
branch, does not have this criteria._

Branch Commit Policy

The branch commit policy is pretty slack.  GDB releases 5.0, 5.1 and
5.2 all used the below:
   * The `gdb/MAINTAINERS' file still holds.
   * Don't fix something on the branch unless/until it is also fixed in
     the trunk.  If this isn't possible, mentioning it in the
     `gdb/PROBLEMS' file is better than committing a hack.
   * When considering a patch for the branch, suggested criteria
     include: Does it fix a build?  Does it fix the sequence `break
     main; run' when debugging a static binary?
   * The further a change is from the core of GDB, the less likely the
     change will worry anyone (e.g., target specific code).
   * Only post a proposal to change the core of GDB after you've sent
     individual bribes to all the people listed in the `MAINTAINERS'
     file ;-)
   _Pragmatics: Provided updates are restricted to non-core
functionality there is little chance that a broken change will be fatal.
This means that changes such as adding a new architectures or (within
reason) support for a new host are considered acceptable._

Obsoleting code

Before anything else, poke the other developers (and around the source
code) to see if there is anything that can be removed from GDB (an old
target, an unused file).
   Obsolete code is identified by adding an `OBSOLETE' prefix to every
line.  Doing this means that it is easy to identify something that has
been obsoleted when greping through the sources.
   The process is done in stages -- this is mainly to ensure that the
wider GDB community has a reasonable opportunity to respond.  Remember,
everything on the Internet takes a week.
  1. Post the proposal on the GDB mailing list <>
     Creating a bug report to track the task's state, is also highly
  2. Wait a week or so.
  3. Post the proposal on the GDB Announcement mailing list
  4. Wait a week or so.
  5. Go through and edit all relevant files and lines so that they are
     prefixed with the word `OBSOLETE'.
  6. Wait until the next GDB version, containing this obsolete code,
     has been released.
  7. Remove the obsolete code.
_Maintainer note: While removing old code is regrettable it is
hopefully better for GDB's long term development.  Firstly it helps the
developers by removing code that is either no longer relevant or simply
wrong.  Secondly since it removes any history associated with the file
(effectively clearing the slate) the developer has a much freer hand
when it comes to fixing broken files._

Before the Branch

The most important objective at this stage is to find and fix simple
changes that become a pain to track once the branch is created.  For
instance, configuration problems that stop GDB from even building.  If
you can't get the problem fixed, document it in the `gdb/PROBLEMS' file.

Prompt for `gdb/NEWS'

People always forget.  Send a post reminding them but also if you know
something interesting happened add it yourself.  The `schedule' script
will mention this in its e-mail.

Review `gdb/README'

Grab one of the nightly snapshots and then walk through the
`gdb/README' looking for anything that can be improved.  The `schedule'
script will mention this in its e-mail.

Refresh any imported files.

A number of files are taken from external repositories.  They include:
   * `texinfo/texinfo.tex'
   * `config.guess' et. al. (see the top-level `MAINTAINERS' file)
   * `etc/standards.texi', `etc/make-stds.texi'

Check the ARI

A.R.I. is an `awk' script (Awk Regression Index ;-) that checks for a
number of errors and coding conventions.  The checks include things
like using `malloc' instead of `xmalloc' and file naming problems.
There shouldn't be any regressions.

Review the bug data base

Close anything obviously fixed.

Check all cross targets build

The targets are listed in `gdb/MAINTAINERS'.

Cut the Branch

Create the branch

     $  u=5.1
     $  v=5.2
     $  V=`echo $v | sed 's/\./_/g'`
     $  D=`date -u +%Y-%m-%d`
     $  echo $u $V $D
     5.1 5_2 2002-03-03
     $  echo cvs -f -d rtag \
     -D $D-gmt gdb_$V-$D-branchpoint insight+dejagnu
     cvs -f -d rtag
     -D 2002-03-03-gmt gdb_5_2-2002-03-03-branchpoint insight+dejagnu
     $  ^echo ^^
     $  echo cvs -f -d rtag \
     -b -r gdb_$V-$D-branchpoint gdb_$V-branch insight+dejagnu
     cvs -f -d rtag \
     -b -r gdb_5_2-2002-03-03-branchpoint gdb_5_2-branch insight+dejagnu
     $  ^echo ^^
   * by using `-D YYYY-MM-DD-gmt' the branch is forced to an exact
   * the trunk is first taged so that the branch point can easily be
   * Insight (which includes GDB) and dejagnu are all tagged at the
     same time
   * `' gets bumped to avoid version number conflicts
   * the reading of `.cvsrc' is disabled using `-f'

Update `'

     $  u=5.1
     $  v=5.2
     $  V=`echo $v | sed 's/\./_/g'`
     $  echo $u $v$V
     5.1 5_2
     $  cd /tmp
     $  echo cvs -f -d co \
     -r gdb_$V-branch src/gdb/
     cvs -f -d co
      -r gdb_5_2-branch src/gdb/
     $  ^echo ^^
     U src/gdb/
     $  cd src/gdb
     $  echo $u.90-0000-00-00-cvs >
     $  cat
     $  cvs -f commit
   * `0000-00-00' is used as a date to pump prime the update
   * `.90' and the previous branch version are used as fairly arbitrary
     initial branch version number

Update the web and news pages


Tweak cron to track the new branch

The file `gdbadmin/cron/crontab' contains gdbadmin's cron table.  This
file needs to be updated so that:
   * a daily timestamp is added to the file `'
   * the new branch is included in the snapshot process
See the file `gdbadmin/cron/README' for how to install the updated cron
   The file `gdbadmin/ss/README' should also be reviewed to reflect any
changes.  That file is copied to both the branch/ and current/ snapshot

Update the NEWS and README files

The `NEWS' file needs to be updated so that on the branch it refers to
_changes in the current release_ while on the trunk it also refers to
_changes since the current release_.
   The `README' file needs to be updated so that it refers to the
current release.

Post the branch info

Send an announcement to the mailing lists:
   * GDB Announcement mailing list <>
   * GDB Discsussion mailing list <> and GDB
     Discsussion mailing list <>
   _Pragmatics: The branch creation is sent to the announce list to
ensure that people people not subscribed to the higher volume discussion
list are alerted._
   The announcement should include:
   * the branch tag
   * how to check out the branch using CVS
   * the date/number of weeks until the release
   * the branch commit policy still holds.

Stabilize the branch

Something goes here.

Create a Release

The process of creating and then making available a release is broken
down into a number of stages.  The first part addresses the technical
process of creating a releasable tar ball.  The later stages address the
process of releasing that tar ball.
   When making a release candidate just the first section is needed.

Create a release candidate

The objective at this stage is to create a set of tar balls that can be
made available as a formal release (or as a less formal release

Freeze the branch

Send out an e-mail notifying everyone that the branch is frozen to

Establish a few defaults.

     $  b=gdb_5_2-branch
     $  v=5.2
     $  t=/sourceware/snapshot-tmp/gdbadmin-tmp
     $  echo $t/$b/$v
     $  mkdir -p $t/$b/$v
     $  cd $t/$b/$v
     $  pwd
     $  which autoconf
   * Check the `autoconf' version carefully.  You want to be using the
     version taken from the `binutils' snapshot directory, which can be
     found at `'. It is very
     unlikely that a system installed version of `autoconf' (e.g.,
     `/usr/bin/autoconf') is correct.

Check out the relevant modules:

     $  for m in gdb insight dejagnu
     ( mkdir -p $m && cd $m && cvs -q -f -d /cvs/src co -P -r $b $m )
   * The reading of `.cvsrc' is disabled (`-f') so that there isn't any
     confusion between what is written here and what your local `cvs'
     really does.

Update relevant files.

     Major releases get their comments added as part of the mainline.
     Minor releases should probably mention any significant bugs that
     were fixed.
     Don't forget to include the `ChangeLog' entry.
          $  emacs gdb/src/gdb/NEWS
          c-x 4 a
          c-x c-s c-x c-c
          $  cp gdb/src/gdb/NEWS insight/src/gdb/NEWS
          $  cp gdb/src/gdb/ChangeLog insight/src/gdb/ChangeLog
     You'll need to update:
        * the version
        * the update date

* who did it

          $  emacs gdb/src/gdb/README
          c-x 4 a
          c-x c-s c-x c-c
          $  cp gdb/src/gdb/README insight/src/gdb/README
          $  cp gdb/src/gdb/ChangeLog insight/src/gdb/ChangeLog
     _Maintainer note: Hopefully the `README' file was reviewed before
     the initial branch was cut so just a simple substitute is needed
     to get it updated._
     _Maintainer note: Other projects generate `README' and `INSTALL'
     from the core documentation.  This might be worth pursuing._
          $  echo $v > gdb/src/gdb/
          $  cat gdb/src/gdb/
          $  emacs gdb/src/gdb/
          c-x 4 a
          ... Bump to version ...
          c-x c-s c-x c-c
          $  cp gdb/src/gdb/ insight/src/gdb/
          $  cp gdb/src/gdb/ChangeLog insight/src/gdb/ChangeLog
     Dejagnu is more complicated.  The version number is a parameter to
     `AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE'.  Tweak it to read something like gdb-5.1.91.
     Don't forget to re-generate `configure'.
     Don't forget to include a `ChangeLog' entry.
          $  emacs dejagnu/src/dejagnu/
          c-x 4 a
          c-x c-s c-x c-c
          $  ( cd  dejagnu/src/dejagnu && autoconf )

Do the dirty work

This is identical to the process used to create the daily snapshot.
     $  for m in gdb insight
     ( cd $m/src && gmake -f src-release $m.tar )
     $  ( m=dejagnu; cd $m/src && gmake -f src-release $m.tar.bz2 )
   If the top level source directory does not have `src-release' (GDB
version 5.3.1 or earlier), try these commands instead:
     $  for m in gdb insight
     ( cd $m/src && gmake -f $m.tar )
     $  ( m=dejagnu; cd $m/src && gmake -f $m.tar.bz2 )

Check the source files

You're looking for files that have mysteriously disappeared.
`distclean' has the habit of deleting files it shouldn't.  Watch out
for the `' update `cronjob'.
     $  ( cd gdb/src && cvs -f -q -n update )
     M djunpack.bat
     ? gdb-5.1.91.tar
     ? proto-toplev
     ... lots of generated files ...
     M gdb/ChangeLog
     M gdb/NEWS
     M gdb/README
     M gdb/
     ... lots of generated files ...
_Don't worry about the `' or `gdb/'.  They were
generated (and yes `' was also generated only something
strange with CVS means that they didn't get supressed).  Fixing it
would be nice though._

Create compressed versions of the release

     $  cp */src/*.tar .
     $  cp */src/*.bz2 .
     $  ls -F
     dejagnu/ dejagnu-gdb-5.2.tar.bz2 gdb/ gdb-5.2.tar insight/ insight-5.2.tar
     $  for m in gdb insight
     bzip2 -v -9 -c $m-$v.tar > $m-$v.tar.bz2
     gzip -v -9 -c $m-$v.tar > $m-$v.tar.gz
   * A pipe such as `bunzip2 < xxx.bz2 | gzip -9 > xxx.gz' is not since,
     in that mode, `gzip' does not know the name of the file and, hence,
     can not include it in the compressed file.  This is also why the
     release process runs `tar' and `bzip2' as separate passes.

Sanity check the tar ball

Pick a popular machine (Solaris/PPC?) and try the build on that.
     $  bunzip2 < gdb-5.2.tar.bz2 | tar xpf -
     $  cd gdb-5.2
     $  ./configure
     $  make
     $  ./gdb/gdb ./gdb/gdb
     GNU gdb 5.2
     (gdb)  b main
     Breakpoint 1 at 0x80732bc: file main.c, line 734.
     (gdb)  run
     Starting program: /tmp/gdb-5.2/gdb/gdb
     Breakpoint 1, main (argc=1, argv=0xbffff8b4) at main.c:734
     734       catch_errors (captured_main, &args, "", RETURN_MASK_ALL);
     (gdb)  print args
     $1 = {argc = 136426532, argv = 0x821b7f0}

Make a release candidate available

If this is a release candidate then the only remaining steps are:
  1. Commit `' and `ChangeLog'
  2. Tweak `' (and `ChangeLog' to read L.M.N-0000-00-00-cvs
     so that the version update process can restart.
  3. Make the release candidate available in
  4. Notify the relevant mailing lists ( <> and
     <> that the candidate is available.

Make a formal release available

(And you thought all that was required was to post an e-mail.)

Install on sware

Copy the new files to both the release and the old release directory:
     $  cp *.bz2 *.gz ~ftp/pub/gdb/old-releases/
     $  cp *.bz2 *.gz ~ftp/pub/gdb/releases
Clean up the releases directory so that only the most recent releases
are available (e.g. keep 5.2 and 5.2.1 but remove 5.1):
     $  cd ~ftp/pub/gdb/releases
     $  rm ...
Update the file `README' and `.message' in the releases directory:
     $  vi README
     $  rm -f .message
     $  ln README .message

Update the web pages.

     This file, which is posted as the official announcement, includes:
        * General announcement
        * News.  If making an M.N.1 release, retain the news from
          earlier M.N release.

* Errata

     These files include:
        * announcement of the most recent release
        * news entry (remember to update both the top level and the
          news directory).
     These pages also need to be regenerate using `'.
     You need to find the magic command that is used to generate the
     online docs from the `.tar.bz2'.  The best way is to look in the
     output from one of the nightly `cron' jobs and then just edit
     accordingly.  Something like:
          $  ~/ss/update-web-docs \
           ~ftp/pub/gdb/releases/gdb-5.2.tar.bz2 \
           $PWD/www \
           /www/sourceware/htdocs/gdb/download/onlinedocs \
     Just like the online documentation.  Something like:
          $  /bin/sh ~/ss/update-web-ari \
           ~ftp/pub/gdb/releases/gdb-5.2.tar.bz2 \
           $PWD/www \
           /www/sourceware/htdocs/gdb/download/ari \

Shadow the pages onto gnu

Something goes here.

Install the GDB tar ball on GNU

At the time of writing, the GNU machine was `' in


Post the `ANNOUNCEMENT' file you created above to:
   * GDB Announcement mailing list <>
   * General GNU Announcement list <> (but delay it a
     day or so to let things get out)
   * GDB Bug Report mailing list <>


The release is out but you're still not finished.

Commit outstanding changes

In particular you'll need to commit any changes to:
   * `gdb/ChangeLog'
   * `gdb/'
   * `gdb/NEWS'
   * `gdb/README'

Tag the release

Something like:
     $  d=`date -u +%Y-%m-%d`
     $  echo $d
     $  ( cd insight/src/gdb && cvs -f -q update )
     $  ( cd insight/src && cvs -f -q tag gdb_5_2-$d-release )
   Insight is used since that contains more of the release than GDB
(`dejagnu' doesn't get tagged but I think we can live with that).

Mention the release on the trunk

Just put something in the `ChangeLog' so that the trunk also indicates
when the release was made.

Restart `gdb/'

If `gdb/' does not contain an ISO date such as `2002-01-24'
then the daily `cronjob' won't update it.  Having committed all the
release changes it can be set to `5.2.0_0000-00-00-cvs' which will
restart things (yes the `_' is important - it affects the snapshot
   Don't forget the `ChangeLog'.

Merge into trunk

The files committed to the branch may also need changes merged into the

Revise the release schedule

Post a revised release schedule to GDB Discussion List
<> with an updated announcement.  The schedule
can be generated by running:
     $  ~/ss/schedule `date +%s` schedule
The first parameter is approximate date/time in seconds (from the epoch)
of the most recent release.
   Also update the schedule `cronjob'.

Post release

Remove any `OBSOLETE' code.