Cryptography and SSL/TLS Toolkit

Feature Branch Approval Policy

The Time-based Release Policy defines a regular twice-a-year schedule for new OpenSSL versions. In the case of large features that cannot reasonably be implemented and reviewed within a single PR there is a risk that only an incomplete or incorrect implementation of the feature will be merged to the master branch by the time a feature freeze occurs for the next release.

To avoid this problem feature branches can be used. A feature branch is simply a branch in the main git repository that can be used as a target branch for PRs related to a single new feature.

A feature branch will be created based on the current state of master at the time of its creation. If a feature branch exists for a protracted period of time then it will need to be rebased on a regular basis. This process should be performed by a committer on an as-needed basis and can be done without further review.

The creation of a new feature branch implies some overhead for the project to manage that feature branch (such as for example periodic rebases, and to review PRs targeting it). Such a feature branch would typically only be created where it has been agreed that the feature is desirable; exists on the Project Board; is of sufficiently high priority; and there are expected to be resources available to work on the feature development and to review it. For this reason the creation of new feature branches is controlled via an approval process.

Submitting a request for a new feature branch should be done by creating an issue in the openssl/project repository. Such a request can be created by anyone. The request should specify:

  • The name of the feature branch requested in the form of feature/<name>
  • A link to an issue describing the requested feature that will be developed on the branch
  • An estimate of when the work on the feature is expected to be complete
  • Whether there are any known resources being made available to work on the feature

The approval of a new feature branch is ultimately performed by the OMC. The OMC may delegate the authority to make such approvals on its behalf to another body at the discretion of the OMC.

Once approved by the OMC a feature branch may be created. All PRs relevant to that feature should target that branch and go through the normal code review process.

Once the feature is complete and all relevant PRs have been merged to the branch, a PR should be created containing all the commits from the branch. All of the commits should already have been reviewed before they were pushed to the feature branch. However this PR review stage enables a final check to confirm the complete feature is sane. Once this PR is merged, the feature branch should then be deleted from the repository.