[ANN] The Squeak 5.1 Release Plan

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[ANN] The Squeak 5.1 Release Plan

Hey, there.

I just want to inform all of you that we are in the middle of preparing the next Squeak 5.1 release. We are working on automation for generating/updating all release artifacts so that we are eventually able to shorten our release cycle in the future. For this, we are using smalltalkCI (thanks Fabio!), TravisCI, and AppVeyor.

Here are the important dates:
  * Feature Freeze on July 31, 23:59 AOE
  * Code Freeze on August 14, 23:59 AOE
  * Release between August 15 and 19

As these dates suggest, our goal is to have the release before this year's ESUG. However, there is another important Smalltalk-related event this year: 20 years of Squeak. :-) Yeah! It was around October 1996, when the first Squeak came into the world. ...having its own worlds. :D So, it would only make sense to also have a special release for this birthday. For this, we revived all of the cool multimedia content, known from Squeak 1 through Squeak 3, and made it fit for the current Squeak code base. Oh, this is so exciting. :-)

Anyway, what's with Squeak 5.1 and 64-bit? Since the release of Squeak 5.0, we've been working hard and made a lot of bug fixes and added some features to improve the overall usability and robustness of the Squeak live programming system. Meanwhile, the VMs improved as well. Cog's object format "Spur" got more robust, the JIT improved, and the whole code base moved from SVN to Git: https://github.com/OpenSmalltalk/opensmalltalk-vm.

Still, what's up with 64-bit? We have working 64-bit VMs for Mac OS X and Linux. Hence, we will take the chance and also release 64-bit bundles for Squeak 5.1. Be informed that this means a new .image file. You cannot open a 64-bit .image with a 32-bit VM and vice versa. This, however, is nothing serious because we are working on an updated version of our SystemTracer to convert back and forth. With limitations, of course. ;-) You cannot fill a bottle of beer into a shot glass.

What's up with the All-in-one? There will be the usual 32-bit all-in-one package, which combines VMs for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Since there will be no 64-bit Windows VM within the next two months, we refrain from creating an almost-all-in-one-32/64 package. This would only confuse the users. In the future, we can arguably expand the concept of the All-in-one to also contain 32-bit and 64-bit VMs and images.

So, what are the prospective release artifacts for Squeak 5.1?
  * All-in-one (Linux/Mac/Win) 32-bit
  * Mac OS X App 32-bit, signed
  * Mac OS X App 64-bit, signed
  * Linux Bundle 32-bit
  * Linux Bundle 64-bit
  * Windows App (maybe with MSI Installer) 32-bit, maybe signed
  * ZIP archive containing .image and .changes, no VM, no .sources

We plan to also use the new release automation process for Squeak 5.0 and update those release artifacts as well. We will update our squeak.org Website but you will always find the artifacts on http://files.squeak.org/5.0 and http://files.squeak.org/5.1 .