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Re: [Qemu-devel] RFC: This project needs a stable branch

From: Anthony Liguori
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] RFC: This project needs a stable branch
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 08:48:07 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20070306)

I'm not necessarily sure I agree that a stable branch is the best thing to have (verses aiming for never introducing regressions).

I do agree that a bug tracker would be terribly useful for tracking regressions. Bug trackers quickly get out of hand though unless someone spends a lot of time keeping them tidy.

Any thoughts on the subject?


Anthony Liguori

Julian Seward wrote:
I am a great fan of QEMU, and have used it more or less continuously
for the past 2+ years.  Over that time I've installed and operated
various Linux and Windows guests with varying degrees of success.

The recently released 0.9.0 seems a big step forward in the
stability/usability department, which is excellent.  But there are
still residual worries -- for example, qcow2 images corrupted for no
obvious reason -- which, whilst a boring problem, is important for
folks like me who want to run VMs 24x7 with the hope of complete

Pretty much all mature projects which have achieved widespread usage
have one or more stable branches along with the main development
branch (trunk).  Think GCC, the kernel, KDE, ... the list is endless.

Maintaining a stable branch is extra hassle and overhead, but it is
the standard way to operate, for reasons which are obvious: the
majority of users care more about stability, reliability and usability
than they do about the latest new features, and delivering stability
from a branch used for bleeding-edge development work is pretty much
impossible.  That is not, of course, a criticism of the bleeding edge
developers, since it is they who ultimately drive the project along.

I am writing to propose that a stable branch be made from the 0.9.0
release point.  The aim would be to maximise stability for (IMO) the
subset of functionality that has the largest potential user base:
i386-softmmu + Accelerator and x86_64-softmmu + Accelerator, but
excluding -kernel-kqemu due to limitations described in

Subsequent releases of the branch would contain no functionality
enhancements, but just bug fixes, with the eventual aim of achieving
'it just works' status for any x86/x86_64 guest I try to install/run.
I know that's a tall order, and that 0.9.0 may not be able to supply
that for all guests.  But it is an important goal to strive for.

My impression is that (at least as I perceive it) the lack of emphasis
on maximising stability on a stable branch, and the lack of a bug
tracker, is artificially restricting QEMU's user base, and therefore
indirectly its long term prospects.  This is a shame, because QEMU is
a very remarkable and useful project, which should be used (and
usable) by everybody and anybody.


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