Release Process

MoveIt has a 6 week cadence for releases. This pace is a balance between releasing new improvements quickly and preserving the stability of releases. We are choosing this schedule to reduce the amount of work per release, reduce the time it takes to get an improvement released and make it easier to schedule for the Picknik team. These releases will include the main MoveIt repo along with any dependencies we control if they have changed (e.g. moveit_msgs).

Upcoming releases

The release schedule is shown here:

Typical Release Schedule

  • Friday: Begin preparing release
  • Following Friday: Bloom
  • Tuesday After Bloom: Public Announcement


The maintainer handling the release must have write access to both devel repos (e.g. as well as release repos (e.g. The release repo access is managed via the Github Team moveit-maintainers.


  1. Create an issue to track the status of the upcoming release. This issue should include a list of the changes since the last release so maintainers can determine which ones should be backported into the release branch. Do this for each repo that will be released with references to the issue in the main repo. To generate the list of changes use the review-for-backport branch. The reviewed-for-backport branch exists as a marker in the commit history for master, marking the last commit that was considered for backporting. Run git cherry -v <release-branch> master reviewed-for-backport | grep '^+' to generate a list of all commits between reviewed-for-backport and the current master branch that have not been merged in release-branch (without modifications). Backports should be pull-requests and reviewed separately, though possibly bundled.
  2. Run ROS buildfarm prerelease test for all supported Ubuntu distributions in REP-0003.
    • You can see here for the general instruction of prerelease test. If you’re done for the setup already and just want to refer to command examples, see here.
    • As long as REP-0003 supports, we must test even EOLed Ubuntu distros (e.g. Saucy for ROS Indigo was retired in 2014 but REP-0003 still supports it and there’s no way as of December 2016 to skip it. See moveit/#100 as a previous example).
    • Example commands: Default for Kinetic-Xenial where the HEAD at the moveit repo is what we want to release, and Kinetic-Wily (basically the same except for the Ubuntu distro type):

      _DIR_PRLTEST=/tmp/prerelease_job_kin-xen; mkdir -p $_DIR_PRLTEST && cd $_DIR_PRLTEST
    melodic default ubuntu xenial amd64  moveit   --level 0  --output-dir ./
    melodic default ubuntu wily amd64  moveit   --level 0  --output-dir ./
  3. Update changelogs. Take advantage of catkin_generate_changelog command to populate new logs, then preferably edit them manually to cleanup/combine changelog messages and mark/sort them by type of change (e.g. bugfix, feature, maintenance, documentation). Have a look at previous changelogs to get an idea of the verbosity level and formatting. Example of the whole command set:

    cd moveit                              (Top directory of your cloned moveit repo.)
    git checkout master
    git log                                (Make sure the HEAD is what you want to release with. If it's not then update accordingly.)
    emacs `find . -iname CHANGELOG.rst`    (Edit each file. Emacs forever, but replace it if necessary :/)
    git add `find . -iname CHANGELOG.rst`  (Stage all changelogs)
  4. Figure out the correct next version number (see the version policy section below) and utilize the command catkin_prepare_release that adapts the version numbers in all package.xml and changelog files, creates a new tag, and eventually pushes to the remote repo (you can check at Example command:

    (Assuming you're at the same directory as before.)
    catkin_prepare_release --version x.x.x    (Replace x.x.x with the correct version number!)
  5. Run bloom. Open a pull request against rosdistro as bloom suggests at the end of its run. Example of such a request. Example command:

    bloom-release --rosdistro melodic moveit
  6. Bump the version number to the next upcoming one and finally push to the github:
    # Bump the release number, but don't yet push to github
    catkin_prepare_release --no-push
    # Reword the commit message generated by `catkin_prepare_release` from `x.x.x` to:
    git commit --amend -m "Bump version to x.x.x"
    # Remove created version tag (which must not pushed to github)
    git tag -d x.x.x
    # Push to github repo (or file a pull request)
    git push origin
  7. Write release notes on (e.g. 1, 2). Send it to Discourse MoveIt category.
  8. Forward the reviewed-for-backport branch to <release-branch>: git checkout reviewed-for-backport; git merge --ff-only <release-branch>.

Release Versioning Policy

  • Major version number:
    • Until 2019, MoveIt was never officially “out of beta” so was 0.x.x version
    • As ROS 2 became more of a thing, MoveIt for ROS 1 was announced to be “out of beta” and increased to 1.x.x
    • MoveIt for ROS 2 (MoveIt 2) uses the major version number 2.x.x
  • Minor version number: differentiates different ROS distributions
    • Indigo 0.8.x (indigo-devel)
    • Kinetic 0.9.x (kinetic-devel)
    • Melodic 1.0.x (melodic-devel)
    • Noetic 1.1.x (noetic-devel)
  • As of May 2020 we decided to bump the release version right after preparing a release, such that the HEAD of a development branch will already indicate the next upcoming release version. See rational.
  • See also: discussion for the best practice for versioning on Discourse.

Release Issue Template


[ release documentation_](

### Backports

- [ ] .
- [ ] .

### Checklist
- [ ] Merge backports
- [ ] Run ROS buildfarm prerelease test
- [ ] Update changelogs
- [ ] Bloom
- [ ] Write discourse post