Putting out a new release

Here are the steps that the maintainer should take when putting out a new Tor release:

=== 0. Preliminaries

  1. Get at least two of weasel/arma/Sebastian to put the new version number in their approved versions list. Give them a few days to do this if you can.
  2. If this is going to be an important security release, give the packagers some advance warning: See this list of packagers in IV.3 below.
  3. Given the release date for Tor, ask the TB team about the likely release date of a TB that contains it. See note below in “commit, upload, announce”.

=== I. Make sure it works

  1. Make sure that CI passes: have a look at Travis, Appveyor, and Jenkins. Make sure you’re looking at the right branches.

    If there are any unexplained failures, try to fix them or figure them out.

  2. Verify that there are no big outstanding issues. You might find such issues –

    • On Trac
    • On coverity scan
    • On OSS-Fuzz
  3. Run checks that aren’t covered above, including:

    • clang scan-build. (See the script in ./scripts/test/scan_build.sh)
    • make test-network and make test-network-all (with –enable-expensive-hardening)
    • Running Tor yourself and making sure that it actually works for you.

=== II. Write a changelog

1a. (Alpha release variant)

Gather the changes/* files into a changelog entry, rewriting many of them and reordering to focus on what users and funders would find interesting and understandable.

To do this, run ./scripts/maint/sortChanges.py changes/* > changelog.in to combine headings and sort the entries. Copy the changelog.in file into the ChangeLog. Run ‘format_changelog.py’ (see below) to clean up the line breaks.

After that, it’s time to hand-edit and fix the issues that lintChanges can’t find:

  1. Within each section, sort by “version it’s a bugfix on”, else by numerical ticket order.

  2. Clean them up:

    Make stuff very terse

    Describe the user-visible problem right away

    Mention relevant config options by name. If they’re rare or unusual, remind people what they’re for

    Avoid starting lines with open-paren

    Present and imperative tense: not past.

    “Relays”, not “servers” or “nodes” or “Tor relays”.

    “Onion services”, not “hidden services”.

    “Stop FOOing”, not “Fix a bug where we would FOO”.

    Try not to let any given section be longer than about a page. Break up long sections into subsections by some sort of common subtopic. This guideline is especially important when organizing Release Notes for new stable releases.

    If a given changes stanza showed up in a different release (e.g. maint-0.2.1), be sure to make the stanzas identical (so people can distinguish if these are the same change).

  3. Clean everything one last time.

  4. Run ./scripts/maint/format_changelog.py --inplace to make it prettier

1b. (old-stable release variant)

For stable releases that backport things from later, we try to compose their releases, we try to make sure that we keep the changelog entries identical to their original versions, with a “backport from 0.x.y.z” note added to each section. So in this case, once you have the items from the changes files copied together, don’t use them to build a new changelog: instead, look up the corrected versions that were merged into ChangeLog in the master branch, and use those.

Add “backport from X.Y.Z” in the section header for these entries.

  1. Compose a short release blurb to highlight the user-facing changes. Insert said release blurb into the ChangeLog stanza. If it’s a stable release, add it to the ReleaseNotes file too. If we’re adding to a release-* branch, manually commit the changelogs to the later git branches too.
  2. If there are changes that require or suggest operator intervention before or during the update, mail operators (either dirauth or relays list) with a headline that indicates that an action is required or appreciated.
  3. If you’re doing the first stable release in a series, you need to create a ReleaseNotes for the series as a whole. To get started there, copy all of the Changelog entries from the series into a new file, and run ./scripts/maint/sortChanges.py on it. That will group them by category. Then kill every bugfix entry for fixing bugs that were introduced within that release series; those aren’t relevant changes since the last series. At that point, it’s time to start sorting and condensing entries. (Generally, we don’t edit the text of existing entries, though.)

=== III. Making the source release.

  1. In maint-0.?.x, bump the version number in configure.ac and run make update-versions to update version numbers in other places, and commit. Then merge maint-0.?.x into release-0.?.x.

    When you merge the maint branch forward to the next maint branch, or into master, merge it with “-s ours” to avoid a needless version bump.

  2. Make distcheck, put the tarball up in somewhere (how about your homedir on your homedir on people.torproject.org?) , and tell #tor-dev about it.

    If you want, wait until at least one person has built it successfully. (We used to say “wait for others to test it”, but our CI has successfully caught these kinds of errors for the last several years.)

  3. Make sure that the new version is recommended in the latest consensus. (Otherwise, users will get confused when it complains to them about its status.)

    If it is not, you’ll need to poke Roger, Weasel, and Sebastian again: see item 0.1 at the start of this document.

=== IV. Commit, upload, announce

  1. Sign the tarball, then sign and push the git tag:

     gpg -ba <the_tarball>
     git tag -s tor-0.4.x.y-<status>
     git push origin tag tor-0.4.x.y-<status>

    (You must do this before you update the website: the website scripts rely on finding the version by tag.)

    (If your default PGP key is not the one you want to sign with, then say “-u ” instead of “-s”.)

  2. scp the tarball and its sig to the dist website, i.e. /srv/dist-master.torproject.org/htdocs/ on dist-master. Run “static-update-component dist.torproject.org” on dist-master.

    In the webwml.git repository, include/versions.wmi and Makefile to note the new version. Push these changes to master.

    (NOTE: Due to #17805, there can only be one stable version listed at once. Nonetheless, do not call your version “alpha” if it is stable, or people will get confused.)

    (NOTE: It will take a while for the website update scripts to update the website.)

  3. Email the packagers (cc’ing tor-team) that a new tarball is up. The current list of packagers is:

    - {weasel,gk,mikeperry} at torproject dot org
    - {blueness} at gentoo dot org
    - {paul} at invizbox dot io
    - {vincent} at invizbox dot com
    - {lfleischer} at archlinux dot org
    - {Nathan} at freitas dot net
    - {mike} at tig dot as
    - {tails-rm} at boum dot org
    - {simon} at sdeziel.info
    - {yuri} at freebsd.org
    - {mh+tor} at scrit.ch

    Also, email tor-packagers@lists.torproject.org.

    Mention where to download the tarball (https://dist.torproject.org).

    Include a link to the changelog.

  4. Add the version number to Trac. To do this, go to Trac, log in, select “Admin” near the top of the screen, then select “Versions” from the menu on the left. At the right, there will be an “Add version” box. By convention, we enter the version in the form “Tor:” (or whatever the version is), and we select the date as the date in the ChangeLog.

  5. Wait for the download page to be updated. (If you don’t do this before you announce, people will be confused.)

  6. Mail the release blurb and ChangeLog to tor-talk (development release) or tor-announce (stable).

    Post the changelog on the blog as well. You can generate a blog-formatted version of the changelog with ./scripts/maint/format_changelog.py --B

    When you post, include an estimate of when the next TorBrowser releases will come out that include this Tor release. This will usually track https://wiki.mozilla.org/RapidRelease/Calendar , but it can vary.

    For templates to use when announcing, see: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/teams/NetworkTeam/AnnouncementTemplates

=== V. Aftermath and cleanup

  1. If it’s a stable release, bump the version number in the maint-x.y.z branch to “newversion-dev”, and do a merge -s ours merge to avoid taking that change into master.
  2. Forward-port the ChangeLog (and ReleaseNotes if appropriate) to the master branch.
  3. Keep an eye on the blog post, to moderate comments and answer questions.