on Macaw, Aurora, and Miramar

With Firefox 4 released a few weeks ago it’s time for me to look into what comes next.

The first to follow are maintenance updates for Firefox 4 which are now codenamed Macaw. 4.0.1 is in upstream beta testing for a few days now. At some point in future we will have a SeaMonkey 2.1 release which will  be (most likely) based on the same Gecko version as Firefox 4 and you can get 2.1b3 snapshots for that from mozilla:beta. From the same repository you can also install a new Thunderbird 3.3a4 (codename Miramar). Please note that this early package has no Enigmail support yet.

Now to some interesting changes which are coming up with Firefox development and releases. Mozilla switched to a “rapid release cycle” after the release of FF4. This means that we will see new Firefox major releases around every 6 weeks. Firefox 5 is currently planned for end of June 2011. Firefox now is developed through different stages before the final release where Aurora is branched already for FF5 and will enter the beta stage in a few weeks. A current Firefox Aurora build is available in mozilla:alpha.

This changed release process also means that there won’t be long maintained branches anymore which has an impact on how we deal with updates during a distribution lifetime. Nothing has been discussed on that topic yet though. Another fallout is that our Firefox packages will be standalone packages again after several years of being based on XULRunner. What will happen to XULRunner in the distribution is yet another thing we need to figure out.


Evergreen status after some months

I’ve just noticed that I haven’t written about Evergreen here since the beginning. I actually did post at least one status update on our list but I think it would be good to give some information to a wider audience (hoping that this blog is read by more people).

In general we are in good shape. Up to now we have released around 55 source updates. You can find the list here. So looking back that means that we were able to update almost everything including desktop applications which was not clear in the beginning how that would work out. Also the Packman team decided to support Evergreen by keeping the Essentials repository available. Unfortunately it is not quite usable at the moment since it contains RPM packages signed with keys not supported by the RPM version in 11.1 which means zypper refuses to install those.

Another milestone is that it seems we will also support 11.2 when it runs out of Novell’s maintenance on May 12th, 2011. Another community member agreed to  lead the effort. More details on that to come soon.

But not everything is working perfectly fine though. Besides some rare cases where community members submitted packages to Evergreen/11.1 all the backporting/packaging work up to now was done by myself. At some points in time I was quite on the limit of my time for the project and there is no redundancy if something bad happens to me. We really need more people contributing to Evergreen. That said it would be really nice if maintainers (especially community maintainers) would  prepare updates for 11.1 as well. Obviously there is no obligation in doing so but I somehow think that in some cases they are just missing the fact that Evergreen exists at all.

So if anyone out there has interest in helping maintaining 11.1 and/or 11.2 please contact us through our mailinglist or contact me directly.