[Rd] Names of versions (was: [R] error with barplot command?)

Peter Dalgaard p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk
Tue Jun 15 17:50:30 CEST 2004

Duncan Murdoch <dmurdoch at pair.com> writes:

> On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 21:41:00 +0800, »ÆÈÙ¹ó <0034058 at fudan.edu.cn>
> wrote :
> >Duncan Murdoch£¡
> >
> > thanks for your information:)
> >
> > i have another small question,i hope you can give me an perfect answer.
> >
> >i know the difference between alpha and beta version,but how about pathed verion?
> >
> >does pathed version means final version,formal version?
> Here's a summary of how we refer to various R versions:
> R has official releases:  1.9.0 is the current official release, 1.9.1
> will be out in a week.
> Development occurs in two main branches:  in the "r-patched" branch,
> we fix bugs in the current official release, but add (almost) no new
> features.  In the "r-devel" branch, we add new features.  (There may
> also be other small branches, not really intended for public
> consumption, where people are trying things out.)
> Several weeks after each release, we look at how many bugs have been
> identified, and decide whether to have a bug fix release.  For
> example, 1.9.0 came out in early April, and the decision to have a
> 1.9.1 release was made around the end of the month.  The date for it
> is set depending on the schedules of the core developers:  it was set
> for June 21.  There may be a 1.9.2 release, but I doubt it: 1.9.0 had
> very few bugs, and I don't expect to see many at all in 1.9.1
> (especially if people have been testing the current alpha/beta
> releases!).
> The r-devel branch has already had a lot of changes since April, and
> will get more over the summer.  It will be released as R 2.0.0 in
> early October, according to current plans.
> About a month before a major release, we have a "grand feature
> freeze".  Only minor changes to features will be allowed.  (The big
> changes are never allowed in the r-patched branch, and even small
> feature changes are discouraged unless they are badly needed.)
> About 2-3 weeks before any release, we have a "feature freeze", and
> start making "alpha" releases.  At this point, no new features will be
> added.
> About a week before release, we go to "beta" releases.  At this point
> only "trivial or critical" bugs will be fixed, because sometimes bug
> fixes cause other bugs.  This is the state we're in right now, with
> the r-patched branch frozen.  In September or October, it will be the
> r-devel branch that gets frozen.
> I hope that makes it clear.  For even more detail, see the
> developer.r-project.org page, under "Development Guidelines".

Nice summary, Duncan. 

Just let me add that the patch versions are the formal versions (e.g.
1.9.0) plus patches to fix bugs that have been discovered in the
meantime. As you might have gathered, patched versions are usually
more bug free than the official ones, but they carry a larger risk of
new failures, because they are basically only as good as the latest
commit, which is typically a single developer's work. (We haven't seen
many such failures over the years though, and I think almost all have
been portability issues or people forgetting to commit *all* their

   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Blegdamsvej 3  
  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     2200 Cph. N   
 (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph: (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - (p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk)             FAX: (+45) 35327907

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