How to recognize a Showstopper

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The worst thing in the release process is a thing called showstopper. This is any issue which causes fixing, building, packing and deploying one more RC (release canditate) instead of releasing the current version under test. This means one to two weeks delay at least and a lot of additional work for many people so this decision will never be made thoughtlessly. Often a found issue raises discussions on the different mailinglists if it is or is not a showstopper (writing this we have 2.3rc2 in releasetest and an issue with PDF export as well as a crash when pasting into database tables as Showstopper candidates under discussion).

Although there is a comprehensive guideline for priorizing issues, there is no such thing for deciding if an issue is a showstopper. Some even think that there never can be a rule for that. But even if there cannot be a strict rule, one can have some criteria to make this explicit. This page is about to collect such criteria which may help to decide whether a found issue is a showstopper or not.

List of criteria

Reasons why an issue can possibly be regarded as a showstopper

  • Installation fails

Reasons why an issue should not be regarded as a showstopper

  • Although an issue crashes it occurs only when using an "unusual way" to get something done.

Other reasons that may influence the decision

  • There may be a known security isssue which needs releasing a new version before it's too late. So a potential showstopper may be not regarded as one because of this external need to have a new release as soon as possible.
  • The more we are behind our release schedule, the more important an issue has to be to get considered a stopper (R. Timm on releases list)
  • Marketing may wish to have a release in time for OOoCon
  • Sun release engineering has other plans ;-)

Decision making

Normally there is a meta-issue for every release collecting all potential showstoppers (for 2.3 release it was issue 80294).

The final decision is made in release status meeting. This meeting can be attended/participated on IRC. More detaild infos, schedule and session minutes can be found at ReleaseStatus_Minutes.



This page is just a start. Everyone is invited to post (possible) decision rules important for the "Showstopper-decision". Maybe it is useful you sign your statement (Three tildes give your user name) so a discussion can be held in other places like IRC or on an appropriate mailing list.

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