Release Updates for Chef Infra Client 18

We announced the revised Chef Infra Client 16 deprecation of November 30, 2022. Today, we have some updates to share around Infra Client 18’s release schedule and a chance for everyone to help us build something new.

The Infra Client 18 release is still in testing across multiple Linux and Windows versions and is not yet ready for release. Due to this, we are delaying the release until it meets our quality standards, but we don’t yet have a defined release date. We will update you as soon as possible with details regarding Infra Client 18’s release schedule and release process changes.

This year we have departed from the historical April release (a .0 release with only breaking changes, a Ruby upgrade, and all features/bugs fixes found in Chef-17.latest) to a new schedule for the reasons mentioned above. We will first release 18.0 as a release candidate (RC), which will have the same quality and stability as the typical April release. We hope to share the exact target dates for the RC and Generally Available (GA) versions of 18 soon.

The choice to have a special release candidate process for this year comes out of many discussions (both internal and external) centered around the best way to support the needs of all Infra Client users. Infra Client is deployed in various environments with different regulatory requirements, risk tolerance levels, and many customizations.
Feedback on the effort/time upgrades take, combined with the impact of the current feature release process and support policy (N-1) has forced us to reconsider our existing software lifecycle release processes. We strive to have an approach that balances delivering value rapidly/continuously while adapting to the various frequencies/ways you want to consume and roll out changes.

So, now the ask: We need your help. Shaping a policy that balances the needs of a diverse community will impact everyone and we want to hear from as many of you as possible. In parallel with the Infra Client 18 RC period, we will be soliciting your feedback on all aspects of our release, upgrade, and support processes. Our goal is to use this time to review and make adjustments to our processes to ensure we are meeting the needs of our users while being sensitive and inclusive of differences in our customer's environments.

One other thing we completely understand is that this change in process (for Infra Client 18) will come as a surprise and will drastically affect some of your existing scheduling and planning. The change in the end-of-life date for Infra Client 16 combined with the delay in a GA build of Infra Client 18 is our first attempt to provide a more gradual process for risk-averse environments (or environments required to be or still on N-1) without making permanent changes to our development and support processes/policies.

In addition, we understand there are and will be many questions surrounding what exactly this means. We are working on documenting everything we’ve considered and will set up some community conversations to review. Please add your questions as a message thread, and we will do our best to address them. (in our documentation, in a meeting, and on Slack).

Although this is an unexpected departure, we appreciate your understanding and help to shape a more comprehensive policy to ensure that future releases of Chef Client align with your internal processes and needs.

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George Westwater

George Westwater is a Director of Software Engineering at Progress Chef, focusing on Application Delivery, Endpoint Management, and a new Chef Labs group to help Progress Chef innovate. George brings 25+ years of experience in software development, architecture, consulting, and IT leadership. George is a passionate technologist who feels just as at home in the board room as he does writing code.

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