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Version strategy and release cadence: the future

A couple of weeks ago, I got a couple of complaints about the way GoReleaser is being versioned - more precisely, the fact that deprecated options are removed in minor instead of major versions.

Those complaints are valid, and today I'm announcing how I plan to move forward.


Before we do that, I feel like I should explain how we got in this position first.

GoReleaser was in a 0ver1 scheme for almost 5 years. We had a whopping 468 v0.x.x releases. Let me repeat: four hundred and sixty eight v zeroes.

In fact, v1 was launched less than 2 years ago, in November, 2022.

Like many other things, the way we handle deprecations was from that time. A time in which GoReleaser never had major releases, because there wasn't one: we would add the deprecation notice to the deprecations page and warn about it in the release's output if you use any of them, and, after roughly 6 months, remove the deprecated option and move on with life.

Breaking changes are allowed in v0, so, there were no broken promises.

On the other hand, v1 is a major version, so it should not introduce breaking changes.

In retrospect, my mistake was never stopping to think about it again after v1.

Going forward

Thankfully, I was nudged in the right direction, so, from now on, we'll do things properly.

The plan is as follows:

  1. We'll have 1 minor release 1-2 months (when we have some material);
  2. Bug fixes will still be released as patch releases in the latest minor;
  3. Deprecations will continue to be added in minor releases (but not removed);
  4. When we have a good amount of deprecations, we'll launch a new major, removing them completely. I think this will probably happen about once a year.

So, if you lock your CI to get v1.x.x, you might get new deprecation warnings, but no breaking changes.

You can then better plan when to upgrade your apps to the latest major, without having to lock to a specific minor/patch release.

Supporting old versions

I understand GoReleaser has become the de-facto tool to release Go projects. I don't know how many users we have (because we don't track you), but judging by some code searches on GitHub, there are thousands of repositories using it.

GoReleaser is also a big project. Maintaining it could already be a full-time job, but, it isn't. I work on it on my free time, which is limited - just like yours.

All that being said, I understand that big companies and teams rely on GoReleaser, and some don't release as often.

With that in mind, GoReleaser Pro customers will have more time to update: I'll keep launching patch releases of the latest major containing relevant bug fixes and security-related fixes.

If you use the OSS version, you can either pin to the previous major, or update to the new one. You can also get a GoReleaser Pro license, and help fund this project.

I haven't yet developed the exact rules for which bug fixes will get backported or not, but I'm quite confident that it'll be a mix of "fixes for really bad bugs" and "a customer is experiencing it and asked it to be fixed", and, of course, any security-related fixes.

So, when v2?

Probably in a couple of months.

Stay tuned! 📰

Early access

Since a couple of weeks ago, we're building a new nightly automatically every week.

You can already use nightly as the version in our GitHub Action if you can't wait for a new feature that's already on main.

This works for both the Pro and OSS distributions.

Summing up


  • new major version ~yearly;
  • new minor version every ~two months;
  • new patch versions whenever its needed, in the latest minor only;
  • Pro latest version keep getting security updates and relevant bug fixes;
  • nigtlies weekly for both Pro and OSS;

Thank you notes

I would like to publicly thank everyone who commented and shared both their pains and their experiences in the discussion that started all this, and specially, @LandonTClipp, who created it.

All of us that do OpenSource know how easy a conversation like this could have gone south. Thankfully, this was not the case here. 💌

Thank you, for real. Thank you for patience, for the contributions, and for pointing out ways I can make GoReleaser better.

See you all soon!

  1. yes, I know this is kind of a joke.