Note: some of the information on this page is out of date. For the latest information about how Drupal releases are managed, see https://www.drupal.org/core/release-cycle.
The release timeline I laid out in my previous blog post was a Drupal 8 release 18 months after Drupal 7 had achieved the "Plateau of Productivity", the point in time where developing in Drupal 6 seems mostly pointless due to the maturity of Drupal 7.
At that time, I said that I felt that Drupal 7's "plateau of productivity" was about 6-9 months away. Today, almost 9 months later, I think that by any reasonable measure we are currently there. There are over 300,000 live Drupal 7 installations, which represents nearly 50% of all reported Drupal sites. The top Drupal modules all have Drupal 7 releases, the vast majority of which are either stable releases or release candidates.
Having reached the "plateau of productivity" also means that I feel comfortable announcing the Drupal 8 release timeline (after catch and I talked about it). Without further ado, here is how the rest of the Drupal release cycle breaks down:
- December 1, 2012: Feature freeze. No new features are allowed (unless specifically exempted), focus turns instead to API and UI clean-ups and polishing of existing features.
- February 1, 2013: Code freeze: focus on bug fixes, stabilization. No API changes, instead focusing on bug fixing, preparing for release, and getting the count of critical bugs down to 0.
- August, 2013 (DrupalCon Europe 2013): Drupal 8 released, to wild, international fanfare. :-)
This means that Drupal 8 is 18 months away. Time to shift Drupal 8 core development into higher gear!
The ~6-month window for bug fixes laid out here is obviously much shorter than the 18-month window for bug fixes we ended up having with Drupal 7, but the hope is that the issue count thresholds that we've introduced this release will ensure this process is much shorter than in Drupal 7, since we'll be going from approximately 15 down to 0, rather than approximately 300 to 0.
This timeline also means that if there are Drupal 8 initiatives you'd like to see happen, or other specific features or things you want to see fixed in Drupal core, now is the time to make those things happen. If you've never helped with Drupal core development before and would like to, stop by IRC during Core office hours, or join us at DrupalCon Denver. There will also be plenty of other sprints at DrupalCon around various Drupal core initiatives, and you can always start your own!
See you in Denver and in the issue queue! :-)
— Dries Buytaert