Boost Release Procedures for Developers

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Each release of Boost software is overseen by a release manager, who coordinates release activities via the Boost mailing list, as well as performing the detailed procedures for the release.

Boost developers assist the release manager by reviewing regression test logs, and committing fixes to CVS.

Release Procedure Overview

  • Discussion on the main Boost mailing list to determine the target date for release candidate branch and tag of the CVS main trunk.

  • Release manager performs release candidate branch, and also tags the branch point in main trunk.

  • Regression tests run on release candidate branch.

  • Developers fix problems, test, and commit fixes. See below for details.

  • Repeat previous two steps until release manager is satisfied.

  • Release manager rolls out the actual release.

Release Procedures for Developers

  • As the release candidate branch date approaches (as announced on the main mailing list), bring the main trunk CVS files you are responsible for into a stable state.

  • If you know of changes in either your code or its dependencies, start checking regression test results to ensure your tests still pass. Don't necessarily wait for the initial release tagging.

  • After the release manager announces that the release candidate branch has occurred, check the latest regression test results to be sure your tests haven't broken.

  • Developers can continue working on main trunk code changes after the release candidate branch has occurred. There is no need to wait until the release itself. Modified files committed to CVS on the main trunk will not be included in the release unless the developer explicitly commits the changes to the release candidate branch.

  • If specific to the release candidate only, the fixes should be committed directly to the release candidate branch. In the more common case of fixes which apply to both the main trunk and the release branch, the fixes are best made to the main trunk, and then merged into the release candidate branch. See FAQ for tag rationale.

After a fix has been committed to the main trunk, here is a typical procedure (assuming the release candidate branch is named RC_1_26_2) to merge the fixed main trunk into the release candidate branch:

  • Command Line CVS:
  • Fixed code is committed to main branch

  • Switch to the release candidate branch

cvs update -r RC_1_26_2

  • Merge changes in a trunk since previous merge to branch

cvs update -jmerged_to_RC_1_26_2 -jHEAD buggycode.hpp

--> RCS file: /cvsroot/boost/.../buggycode.hpp,v --> retrieving revision 1.4 --> retrieving revision 1.6 --> Merging differences between 1.4 and 1.6 into buggycode.hpp

  • Commit merged branch

cvs commit -m "Merged fix for problem xyz from trunk to branch" buggycode.hpp

  • Go back to main trunk

cvs update -A

  • Move tag to a new merged point

cvs tag -F -c merged_to_RC_1_28_2 buggycode.hpp

  • Repeat as needed
  • WinCVS:
  • After fixed code is committed to main branch, switch to the release candidate branch:

Select file(s) if not already selected.

Modify | Update selection... | Update settings | Sticky options | Retrieve rev/tag/branch: RC_1_26_2 | OK

  • Merge changes from main trunk into the release candidate branch:

Modify | Update selection... | Update settings | Merge options | Only this rev/tag: merged_to_RC_1_26_2 | Plus with this rev/tag: HEAD | OK

  • Commit merge results:

Modify | Commit... | Enter log message: ... | OK

  • Go back to main trunk:

Modify | Update selection... | Update settings | Reset any sticky date/tag/-k options | OK

  • Tag as new merge point:

Modify | Create tag on selection... | Create tag settings | Enter the tag name to create: merged_to_RC_1_26_2, Overwrite existing tags with same name | OK.


What is the purpose of the merged_to_RC_n_n_n tag? This tag allows multiple merges from the main trunk to the release candidate branch. Without it, merging an initial main trunk fix into the release candidate branch would work, but merging a second fix from main trunk to release candidate branch would result in a merge conflict. Although this procedure seems convoluted, it works much better in practice than several prior procedures we tried.


This web page was written by Beman Dawes, with helpful suggestions from Dave Abrahams and Steve Robbins. Jim Hyslop contributed the original CVS procedures. Updated by Jeff Garland after 1.29 release based on list discussions.

Revised: 02 October, 2003

Copyright Beman Dawes 2002

Distributed under the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying file LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at

Last modified 10 years ago Last modified on Aug 12, 2008, 11:50:48 AM