Firefox by the (wall-clock) numbers

Mozilla released Firefox on Tuesday 18-oct-2007, at 5.30pm PST.

From “code freeze” to “fix available to public” was 14 days 2 hours wall-clock time, which included a 7day Beta period (this was a non-firedrill release). Build&Release took 68 hours.

15:00 04oct: Dev says “go”
15:33 04oct: 2008rc1 builds started
18:20 04oct: linux builds handed to QA
19:45 04oct: mac builds handed to QA
12:45 05oct: win32 signed builds handed to QA
20:05 05oct: update snippets on betatest update channel
11:30 08oct: 2008rc1 halted. Respin declared for bugs 398422 and 398837
15:20 08oct: Dev says “go”
16:05 08oct: 2008rc2 builds started
19:50 08oct: linux builds handed to QA
22:05 08oct: mac builds handed to QA
00:45 08oct: win32 signed builds handed to QA
01:00 10oct: update snippets on betatest update channel
15:05 10oct: QA says “go” for Beta
16:05 10oct: update snippets on beta update channel
11:55 18oct: Dev & QA says “go” for Release; Build starts final signing, bouncer entries
14:25 18oct: final signing, bouncer entries done; mirror replication started
17:30 18oct: update snippets on live update channel; announced

While Build Automation in FF2008 was much smoother than FF2007, this was not yet a “human free” release:
1) signing still done manually in two places. This is known and expected.

2) As the initial build steps get automated, the steps near the end of the process become more visible. Steps like pushing-updates-snippets-to-channels, adding bouncer entries, starting mirror replication and monitoring mirror replication are now worthy of automation attention. Combined, these took 6.5 hours of the Build time, and were all manual.

3) It was interesting to note that we needed only 3 hours of mirror replication time to reach 65-72% mirror absorption. There’s been quite a lot of folklore around how long it takes for mirror replication, but as mirrors have changed, we’ve been measuring to get concrete data. Even for a mirror replication in daytime, like in this release, we saw quick absorption around 60% within the first 2hours. We are still experimenting with IT to find out how much absorption is “enough”, so decided to wait until absorption hit around 70%, just to play safe. This is definitely not a science, we will continue experimenting with this in future releases… any comments/feedback very very welcome!

take care