In all the graphs in this article, the horizontal axis counts the number of days into the development cycle, and the vertical axis shows the number of non-merge commits made.
- The bottom line in each graph shows the number of non-merge commits that went to the contemporary maintenance track.
- The middle line shows the number of non-merge commits that went to the release but not to the maintenance track (i.e. shiny new toys, oops-fixes to them, and clean-ups that were too minor to be worth merging to the maintenance track), and
- The top line shows the total number of non-merge commits in the release.
Even though I somehow have a fond memory of v1.5.3, the beginning of the modern Git was unarguably the v1.6.0 release. Its development cycle started in June 2008 and ended in August 2008. We can see that we were constantly adding a lot more new shiny toys (this cycle had the big "no more git-foo in user's $PATH" change) than we were applying fixes to the maintenance track during this period. This cycle lasted for 60 days, 731 commits in total among which 120 went to the maintenance track of its time.
During the development cycle that led to v1.8.0 (August 2012 to October 2012), the pattern is very different. We cook our topics longer in the 'next' branch and we can clearly see that the topics graduate to 'master' in batches, which appear as jumps in the graph. This cycle lasted for 63 days, 497 commits in total among which 182 went to the maintenance track of its time.
The cycle led to v2.0.0 (February 2014 to June 2014) has a similar pattern, but as another "we now break backward compatibility for ancient UI wart" release, we can see that a large batch of changes were merged in early part of the cycle, hoping to give them better and longer exposure to the testing public; on the other hand, we did not do too many fixes to the maintenance track. This cycle lasted for 103 days, 475 commits in total among which 90 went to the maintenance track of its time.
The numbers for the current cycle leading to v2.4 (February 2015 to April 2015) are not finalized yet, but we can clearly see that this cycle is more about fixing old bugs than introducing shiny new toys from this graph. This cycle as of this writing is at its 50th day, 344 commits in total so far among which 115 went to the maintenance track.
Note that we should not be alarmed by the sharp rise at the end of the graph. We just entered the pre-release freeze period and the jump shows the final batch of topics graduating to the 'master' branch. We will have a few more weeks until the final, and during that period the graph will hopefully stay reasonably flat (any rise from this point on would mean we would be doing a last-minute "oops" fixes).