Things worth noting.
- The release cycle will be 3 months long
- The cutoff for major changes and additions (for 2.81) is a month from now
- 2 months in, the focus goes toward stabilization and bug-fixing
- Said stabilization and bugfixing will go in a stabilization branch for the release, which means features and enhancements can continue in master. Bugfixes will first be committed to the stable branch and then ported to master. This means the end of long periods of feature-freeze for those wanting the latest patches.
The way I see it, it sounds like a more disciplined and therefore improved plan for releases, especially after the issues that came up with 2.80. Those who always want the latest in feature development will be pleased as well, though master will always be somewhat less stable than the staging branch.
There are pros and cons to every kind of branching. Only time will tell whether the master branch becomes less stable. If it becomes a problem, the development process could be adjusted or higher quality standards could be enforced.
For Blender, this change makes a lot of sense in my opinion. Being forced to wait before committing changes only because the branch is frozen was clearly not optimal. Especially when volunteers or external developers are involved, this easily gets tricky, because they can’t always work on it when they would have the time.
I expect to see several changes in the development process with the increased team size. We can only wish them the best and hope things work out as smoothly as possible. Developers are also just humans and not everyone can easily adapt to changes they may not agree on.
More clarity on release planning and dates.
- It looks to me like in the cycle, the first month will be fully open to big new features and overhauls
- The second month looks to be about resolving issues brought by features and overhauls from the first month, and maybe smaller changes and features as well.
- The third month is bugfixing, but master will not be locked. Instead, a stabilization branch that is locked will be created and bugfixing commits will first go in there.
- Devs. whose patches don’t make the cutoff for the release can continue their work in master while the stabilization branch is live, meaning there’s no more long periods where patches must sit in the tracker and wait.