New: Nightly Package Repositories for Open Source Puppet

When we released Puppet 3.5.0 after a four-week release candidate cycle, we were surprised to discover that the release had flaws we felt we should have been able to catch. That motivated our team to figure out some process improvements that would have surfaced the problems much earlier.

As we talked it over, our thoughts turned to continuous delivery, and how improving the process could help us achieve more consistent and higher-quality releases. Puppet (like most of the other open-source projects) already produces packaged artifacts as it moves through our Jenkins pipeline, so it seemed like a natural step to make those packages publicly available for people to try out.

In lieu of bigger release candidates, we are now moving toward a more automated system that will have the latest green builds (meaning they have passed both spec and Beaker system-level acceptance tests) cut off the master branch for most of our projects. This means that as we get close to feature-complete on a release — for example, the upcoming Puppet 3.7.0 release — you can begin trying out the packages to ensure that the new features haven’t broken anything you depend on, and that the new features work the way you expect them to. We’re hoping this change will give us more frequent feedback on the packages as they develop so we can get releases out to you faster, and with fewer flaws.

The repos are live now, and you can try them out by following these directions: http://docs.puppetlabs.com/guides/puppetlabs_package_repositories.html#using-the-nightly-repos

Hopefully this will help get us to faster turnaround of higher quality releases. Please let us know if you find these nightly repos useful! You can talk to us in the comments section below, or in the Puppet Users Google group.

Eric Sorenson is a senior technical product manager at Puppet Labs.

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