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Tiger Snapshots: An experiment in openness

Posted by mreinhold on June 14, 2004 at 6:01 PM PDT

Last Friday we posted the first of the href="http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/snapshots">Tiger Snapshot releases to
the web. Build 55 is available right now, and the plan is to post each weekly
build until we reach the Release Candidate (RC) build. Unlike our milestone
releases these builds receive only limited testing, so they're not for the
feint of heart. If you'd like to live on the bleeding edge, though, then these
builds are for you.

Our main motivation for doing the snapshot releases is to ensure that the
FCS release of J2SE 1.5.0 is of the highest possible quality. The end-game of
a big software release, as anyone who's survived one knows, is a particularly
tense time during which every change is closely scrutinized, lots of hard
decisions must be made, and there's never enough testing. By posting each
weekly build on the web we're hoping to increase the level of external testing
and thereby improve the quality of the final result.

A second motivation for doing the snapshot releases is to gain some more
experience with the "release early, release often" development style that's
been so successful in the Open Source community. The Tiger Snapshot model
isn't exactly "release early", since these are post-Beta 2 builds, and
it's not quite as "often" (i.e., nightly) as some projects, but it's a
more aggressive one than we've ever tried before. If this experiment goes well
then we'll consider releasing even earlier and oftener in future releases.

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