Developer Area/Release Instructions

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This document details the procedure to follow when building a release for general download. Other documents related to this one include the Version Numbering policy and the Release Policy.

For the purposes of these instructions, assume we are releasing version X.Y.Z of Mahara.

Also see these pages for more instructions:

See these WIP pages

Apply for CVE numbers (for security fixes) before the publication of the release

At least a few days before the release (best as soon as a bug report exists) apply for one or more CVE numbers for reported security issues. Each issue needs to have its own CVE number.

While CVE numbers are not a requirement, they are useful for administrators who monitor security announcements. It is a good practice thing to do.

Use the request form with MITRE as we don't put Mahara into a distro anymore.


Please note that this form can ONLY be used if the issue hasn't been made public yet.

  • CVE numbers that we receive are embargoed and do not leak details until we let MITRE know that they can be published.
  • Once you received a CVE number, please add it to the Launchpad bug for that issue so it can be tracked. It takes at least a couple of days after having received the CVE numbers until Launchpad accepts the CVE number via the CVE number field.
  • Add the description, vulnerability, impact (if needed), and the discoverer credit to the Launchpad bug so that the information is readily available for the security announcement. Catalyst NZ staff also have access to that information on Seafile along with a running record of which bugs have been reported to MITRE (or others if needed).

Let partners know one week prior to the release

Let Mahara Partners know in the Partner forum that a release is upcoming. Details are not shared though as the reports are still embargoed.

Pre-requisites for doing the release

 apt-get install lptools

OLD INFORMATION - please ignore

  • Configure lptools to write public information on Launchpad on your behalf:
manage-credentials create -c ubuntu-dev-tools -l 2

(Note: This won't work for Ubuntus after Maverick, as manage-credentials appears to have gone away. You will need to install lptools to proceed with the script usage.)

Make sure your mahara-scripts checkout is up to date

You need to have an up-to-date version of the mahara-scripts repo in order to get the latest copy of the release script. That's the only repo you need to have since the release script will clone the repo all by itself.

Run the first part of the release script

File Siren.gifIMPORTANT !!!File Siren.gif

(ignore for release candidates)Make sure that any security reviews/patches are merged before proceeding. THESE PATCHES ARE MARKED STATUS: Draft. If you do not have the ability to see the security patches, that is you do not have the +2 review status - ask someone on the security team to merge them for you and to make public the related Launchpad bugs.

Using the script you got in the previous step, run the first step of it like this:

./release.php X.Y.Z X.Y_DEV (For rc X.Yrc1)

This will create tarballs as well as a changelog and some release notes to paste into Launchpad. It will also spit out another script ( to be run later.

Important Check the terminal output in case there are gpg errors, for example

Tag new version bump commit as 'X.YRC2_RELEASE' error: gpg failed to sign the data error: unable to sign the tag

So this is what I did to fix it, all commands are on commandline:

1) Updated the gpg program to use: git config --global gpg.program gpg2

2) Tested if it was working: echo "test" | gpg2 --clearsign

It wasn't so I had to do: export GPG_TTY=$(tty)

then run again echo "test" | gpg2 --clearsign

After all that when I ran release.php command again it didn't give me the error

Note that the repos that will be pushed back to are live in your /tmp. Do not reboot your machine in the middle of doing a release or you will have to run through the release script again.

Note: For release candidates the commit message should be empty.


As we do continuous behat testing throughout development we only need to do the basic manual testing. Here is the testing that needs to be done using the tarballs you generated in the last step:

  1. untar the tar that release.php generated somewhere and make sure you can connect to it via web installer
  2. drop the db and create a new blank one to test install

The install should be run 4 times, both on MySQL and Postgres and both via the web interface and CLI script.

Note: If we are doing a .0 release the install will complain about missing $versions->$currentmajorversion->latest release number but don't panic this is because the local copy of the release has the series version that doesn't exist upstream yet so we can ignore this warning·

Once we are all happy with that we need to run these manual upgrade tests:

  1. install a fresh X.Y.Z-1 site, then upgrade to Z.Y.Z on Postgres, via web interface, and quickly check that everything works (create a portfolio, a blog with a blog post, a group with a forum and a forum post)
  2. repeat that last step on MySQL

Create the release on Launchpad

Go to

First move any bugs that are not going to be part of this release to the next milestone in the series, eg if this is X.Y.3 then move to X.Y.4. You may need to make the milestone if it doesn't already exist via and using the 'create milestone' link.

Then click on "create release" and give it today's date.

Leave "Keep the X.Y.Z milestone active." unchecked.

Paste in the release notes and the changelog that were generated for you by the release script. You can remove the "bump version number" commits from the changelog since they aren't very useful :)

Sign and upload the tarballs

Run the next part of the release script, i.e. the script that was spit out by the release script.


You will be prompted for enter release notes and a changelog. This will happen once for each archive file that is being uploaded, so you'll see six prompts total. Any data you enter here will go into the Launchpad release page. So, you can either enter it here, or leave it empty here and enter it directly into the Launchpad webpage.

Note I: If running this file stops before completion for any reason you will need to edit it and comment out the bits that did finish so that you don't run those buts twice then try the script again. For example the script does the bit where it pushes the tag to the git remote and signs the zipped files but doesn't upload them - you would need to comment out the 'git push' lines and the 'gpg --armor' lines.

Note II: If the zipped files fail to upload to Launchpad via the script then you will need to manually upload the zipped files and their corresponding .asc files. To do this go to the milestone page in Launchpad and click the 'Add download file' link. Set the description to: release tarball and choose the matching zipped and .asc file to upload

You will need to do this for all the three types: .zip, .tar.bz2, .tar.gz

This may happen if you get "keyring.errors.InitError: Failed to unlock the collection!" returned when trying to upload the files to launchpad

Update bugs on the tracker

On Launchpad, click on all of the bugs targeted for that milestone and move them from "Fix committed" to "Fix released".

To save some clicking you can go to the milestone page and open all the bugs in new tabs at once by pasting the following into the browser console (firefox)

var result = document.evaluate("//tbody//tr[contains(., 'Committed')]//a[contains(@href, 'bugs')]", document, null, XPathResult.ANY_TYPE,null ); var mycount=0; while(node = result.iterateNext()) {, '_blank'); mycount++; if (mycount == 50) { break; } }

You will ned to allow popups for the site for this to work and it will open up to 50 bugs where the status is 'Committed'. If you have more than 50 to do - mark the first ones 'released' - refresh the list and do again.

Now is also a good time to create the next release number in the series. Any remaining bugs that were not fixed for this release may be transferred to the next one, if they're still on the roadmap but were simply delayed.

Put the release notes on the wiki page

This is just adding a link to the right page on Launchpad, we no longer have a duplicate copy of the release notes on the wiki.

Release notes page

Language packs

Create a new translation branch on and update the language scripts for the new release so that they appear on

Security forum posts

If this release includes security fixes, then publish advisories on the security forum.

Here's a sample forum post:

Title: Security issue relating to (Category) <1.0.5, <1.1.3, <1.2.0

<description of issue>

Category: (XSS, Access control, Privacy, Spam, Privilege escalation, Session fixation, Etc.)
Severity: (Critical, High, Medium, Low)
Versions affected: <1.0.5, <1.1.3, <1.2.0
Reported by:
Bug reports: (launchpad URL)
CVE reference: (If you have one; if not, this can be added later) 
Sticky: No
Closed: No

It can be tricky to decide what to put down for "Category". This should be the "category" in the security sense (like a category on the OWASP site) rather than category of Mahara functionality. Some categories we have used in the past:

  • Injection
  • Password security
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS)
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF)
  • Access control (i.e., users being able to bypass content sharing permissions)
  • Privacy (i.e., we tell a user that a piece of information is private but then we accidentally display it publicly)
  • Session fixation
  • Privilege escalation
  • Disclosure of system information
  • Stored XSS
  • Session management
  • User Authorization

News forum posts

Post announcement in the news forum at

Include links to the security advisories and a link to the download page on Launchpad.

Now is a good time to notify translators about changed strings, if this is a stable release. I tend to do this with a forum post in the Translations forum.

Here is a sample minor release announcement:

Title: Mahara security release: 15.04.1, 1.10.4, 1.9.6

Hi all,

Today we're announcing new minor releases for the Mahara 15.04, Mahara 1.10, and Mahara 1.9 series.

These releases include <X> security fix<es> relating to <list of issues>, as well as several bug 
fixes. Site administrators are advised to upgrade as soon as possible.

Release packages, as well as a full list of changes, are available on our Launchpad project:

<if this is the last release for a series:>
Note: the 1.9.6 release is the last supported release in the 1.9 series. 
Special thanks, as always, to everyone who helped by reporting bugs, submitting patches, and testing 
the changes!
Sticky: No
Closed: Yes

Quick announcements

You may need to ask a previous release manager to get access to some of these accounts.

Update community sites install (currently Catalyst hosted)

  •, including prep site and change the version number and release date on the homepage and dashboard page (via Admin menu -> Configure site -> Static pages)
  • (at minimum to latest minor point release of the supported version it runs on)

They are all deployed using Catalyst's standard internal hosting deployment scripts. Also update the installed language packs on the demo site. As a guideline, language packs that are 90% or more translated should be installed.

Update MITRE about release for CVE number publication

If the release included security updates for which CVE numbers had been issued, request an update to the CVE number so it can be published.