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Re: Making releases

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: Making releases
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 17:09:36 +0100

Reuben Thomas wrote:
> I finally cajoled maint.mk into actually making a stable release of GNU Zile.
> There are a couple of odd things about the final stages:
> 1. It doesn't upload the release tarball &c. itself, it emits commands
> to do so. Why?

Uploading is final.
Once you do it, you may have trouble undoing it,
so I prefer merely to emit the command.

> 2. There's no post-release hook which I can use for my Freshmeat
> announcement (AFAICS).

If it's via some web form, then no.

> 3. It doesn't send the email itself, it emits an email. I can see one
> reason for this, namely, it leaves a "FIXME: Insert comments". There
> are a couple of other odd things about the message, which I reproduce
> below for convenience.
> First, it has a line from make at the start and end; I presume this is a bug?

Yes, I think so.
Here's the code that creates the announce-... file:

        case $$RELEASE_TYPE in alpha|beta|stable) ;; \
          *) echo "invalid RELEASE_TYPE: $$RELEASE_TYPE" 1>&2; exit 1;; esac
        $(MAKE) -s announcement > ~/announce-$(my_distdir)

Note the use of make's -s option.
That is supposed to suppress the "make: Entering/Leaving directory ..."

> Secondly, what's the <#secure method=pgpmime mode=sign> bit? I presume

It tells my mail client (GNUS) that this message should be signed.

> this is something to do with signing which I've not seen before? It
> doesn't seem to be documented.
> Thirdly, why "./NEWS" and not "NEWS"?

The leading "./" is just an artifact.
"NEWS" would be better.

> It seems this is very close to total automation. I would make a couple
> of suggestions:
> 1. Remove the FIXME. Instead, move the NEWS extract above the
> boilerplate. This puts what people most want to read at the top, and
> NEWS is a good place to write such comments in any case.

I usually say a few words about the release in place of FIXME.
That makes it a little more human.

> 2. Rather than just writing a file, send the email. I suggest a
> default setting of "mail", with a commented-out setting that instead
> opens the mail message in Emacs's composer. (It's a pity that (AFAIK?)
> there's no standard GNU launch-URL command to simply open the user's
> configured mail composer.) In the default case you could add catting
> the message to the terminal. If you do this before uploading the
> distribution archive, then the prompt to type one's GPG passphrase
> also acts as an "OK? (Y/N)" point at which the maintainer can bail
> out.
> It's all about reducing the number of commands that have to be typed
> which are always the same.
> make[2]: Entering directory `/home/rrt/Software/zile-stable'
> To: address@hidden
> Cc: address@hidden, address@hidden
> Mail-Followup-To: address@hidden
> Subject: zile-2.3.23 released [stable]
> <#secure method=pgpmime mode=sign>

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