Is "commit freeze" really required for software development?

1162385_yellow_iciclesDuring software development (especially done in agile way) there are often time when working software release must be prepared for customer evaluation of internal testing. I found many software release managers use a feature called "commit freeze": no one can commit to main branch of development (trunk/master) until release is packaged. I doubt if it is really required.

The possible reason for freezing commits:

Creating releases

If you want to make minor changes related to release and block any other (probably more risky) changes to be accidentially introduced you needn't freeze commits. The more efficient solution here is to fork a branch. On separate branch you can do any justification you need to build the binaries for release.

Merging

For time-consuming merges (especially when many conflicts are present) it's tempting to prevent commits on target branch to minimize problems related to local development during merged changes commit. I think merging person should perform frequent updates insted from current branch and match merged changes to current trunk state.

Switch version control software / repositories

Switching between version control system is a big change in development team. One has to learn new toolset to operate efficiently with new version control system. Postponing commits on old repository is not required. Those changes could be reapplied later by creating patch from missing changesets and applying them on new repository. Patch format is a standard that allow to move changesets beteen different repositories.

Summary

In my opinion temporary blocking commits (so called "commit freeze") is not a good idea. Agile methodology (the one we use at Aplikacja.info) requires frequent information sharing. There are alternatives that have lower impact on development and not get in the way for normal code flow.

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One Response to Is "commit freeze" really required for software development?

  1. PR says:

    Yet another reason for freezing commits – lazy&remote SCM engineer. However, freezes _might_ have some psychological impact. Both good and bad.

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