Changes to 8u and 11u process

Langer, Christoph christoph.langer at
Tue Aug 6 21:37:54 UTC 2019

Hi all,

first of all, thanks for making me a maintainer of jdk11 updates. I feel very humbled and will try my best to do a decent job. ��

As for the discussion on whether items included by Oracle as well as test fixes shall undergo the approval labeling process or not:
After some contemplation, I got to the conclusion to support Aleksey's position to keep the labelling for every item that's going to be backported. Here are my reasons:
a) It gives the maintainer(s) some form of control, not only about what's going in to the project but also about when it'll be pushed. For instance it might be that a certain item can be considered too risky for pushing when only few time is left until the release date and should rather be pushed early in the next cycle to give it more time to bake in and be tested.
b) What I find particularly helpful, also for Oracle induced items and tests, is the fix request comment. It mostly contains valuable information about the reasons, testing and other things like risk assessment and serves as a good documentation. I'd really like to have this on all backported patches and would consider this a task for the maintainer to make sure that some comment is there before approving.

Other than that, obviously Oracle backports and testbugs are the no-brainers for maintainer decisions. So they should be approved quite fast and mechanically. Speaking for myself, I don't consider it a huge burden to look at every item coming up for 11u-dev.

Best regards

> -----Original Message-----
> From: jdk-updates-dev <jdk-updates-dev-bounces at> On
> Behalf Of Andrew Haley
> Sent: Dienstag, 6. August 2019 20:33
> To: Aleksey Shipilev <shade at>; jdk8u-dev at;
> jdk-updates-dev at
> Subject: Re: Changes to 8u and 11u process
> On 8/6/19 6:11 PM, Aleksey Shipilev wrote:
> > (was surprised why it was not discussed here before, because I have
> comments)
> >
> > On 8/6/19 3:46 PM, Andrew Haley wrote:
> >> Backports which have already been approved by Oracle for their
> >> proprietary fork will no longer need approval for 8u- and 11u-open.
> >> There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it's safe to assume that
> >> Oracle have done their due diligence with regard to suitability.
> >> Secondly, it's a waste of effort on the part of the maintainer.
> >
> > I vehemently oppose this rule.
> Sorry, I didn't think this would be so controversial or it would have
> been clearly labeled as an RFC.
> > First, this dismantles the consistency of the process ("every change
> > should be approved, here is the checklist [1]") for the sake of less
> > maintainer work (which can be alleviate by assigning more
> > maintainers, as we did with Christoph). Having a single checklist
> > for everything is simpler to remember, simpler to act upon, and it
> > provides less cognitive load. We need to continue doing the same
> > thing on all paths, and if on some of those paths it would reduce to
> > mechanical rubber-stamping work, so be it. It is the same as with
> > code reviews in trivial patches: we do not circumvent the review
> > process by telling "trivial patches do not need review", we just say
> > "trivial patches enjoy more mechanical rubber-stamping approach".
> It's not about less maintainer work at all: there is little or no work
> for the maintainer to do. It's that the process adds very little
> information because approvals for clean test backports and backports
> to maintain parity with Oracle will very probably automatically go
> through. It does seem to me like process for process' sake in most
> cases, where the programmer pushes a button and the maintainer pushes
> a button in response.
> But OK, I'm not trying to dictate this. If people here want to carry
> on using this processI won't stand in your way.
> > Second, summarily accepting every Oracle-proprietary change
> > dismantles the maintainers' responsibility over everything in JDK
> > Updates projects. There are changes that could be rejected from JDK
> > Updates, even if Oracle-internal repositories have it: platforms not
> > supported, features not maintained, cleanups not needed.
> Maybe, but I'd be very surprised if such a patch survived review.
> > We have to reserve the opportunity to act upon this, if/when
> > needed. It feels like this rule should just go to maintainer's rule
> > book: once somebody requests the backport for something
> > Oracle-proprietary fork has, rubber-stamp it. But do not summarily
> > relinquish maintainer's power to veto.
> OK. As above, if people want to do so there's no very strong reason
> not to make this advice to maintainers instead of a process reduction.
> >> Backports of fixes to tests no longer need to be approved, but they
> >> should still be reviewed if there are any changes.
> >
> > Same thing as above.
> >
> >> Where it makes sense, please minimize the size of the patches. If you
> >> can adapt a backport patch to fit rather than also backporting a bunch
> >> of its dependencies, please consider doing so. Bear in mind that
> >> stability is the most important feature that these updates projects
> >> have. Simple history in backports is important: it's more important to
> >> reduce the volume of changes to 8u and 11u than it is to reduce the
> >> differences between the backports and head.
> >
> > Understanding that retrofitting the patch comes with the risks in
> > itself, in many cases bringing up more code is better, if it
> > minimizes the difference against other versions, applies
> > mechanically, matches the history of the later code.
> True, that can happen. This is a judgment call, that's why I said
> "Where it makes sense," and I mean *only* where it makes sense, please
> minimize the size of patches. If it clearly is better to backport a
> bigger chunk of code, fair enough, but it should not always be a
> reviewer's job to cut down patches.
> > So, I think we should default to bringing in the patches wholesale,
> > and leave it to maintainers/reviewers to ask backporters to cut the
> > patches shorter if maintainers/reviewers argue there is no reason to
> > bring large change with it.
> OK, so we disagree about the default. I don't think that bringing in
> extra code is less risky than adjusting patches, but it depends on the
> actual patch, as above.
> > It happened multiple times already, and I don't think it needs to be
> > changed.
> Yes, I know it has. It can go either way, but I don't want to see the
> updates projects with a great deal of churn. Our work is all about
> minimizing risk, and trying to keep the updates projects clean. When
> it's less risky to backport more code than edit the patch, that's a
> really good reason to do so. But both approaches carry some risk.
> --
> Andrew Haley  (he/him)
> Java Platform Lead Engineer
> Red Hat UK Ltd. <>
> EAC8 43EB D3EF DB98 CC77 2FAD A5CD 6035 332F A671

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