Preparing Spark releases


The release manager role in Spark means you are responsible for a few different things:

  1. Preparing your setup
  2. Preparing for release candidates:
    1. cutting a release branch
    2. informing the community of timing
    3. working with component leads to clean up JIRA
    4. making code changes in that branch with necessary version updates
  3. Running the voting process for a release:
    1. creating release candidates using automated tooling
    2. calling votes and triaging issues
  4. Finalizing and posting a release:
    1. updating the Spark website
    2. writing release notes
    3. announcing the release

Preparing your setup

If you are a new Release Manager, you can read up on the process from the followings:

Preparing gpg key

You can skip this section if you have already uploaded your key.

Generate key

Here’s an example of gpg 2.0.12. If you use gpg version 1 series, please refer to generate-key for details.

$ gpg --full-gen-key
gpg (GnuPG) 2.0.12; Copyright (C) 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

Please select what kind of key you want:
   (1) RSA and RSA (default)
   (2) DSA and Elgamal
   (3) DSA (sign only)
   (4) RSA (sign only)
Your selection? 1
RSA keys may be between 1024 and 4096 bits long.
What keysize do you want? (2048) 4096
Requested keysize is 4096 bits
Please specify how long the key should be valid.
         0 = key does not expire
      <n>  = key expires in n days
      <n>w = key expires in n weeks
      <n>m = key expires in n months
      <n>y = key expires in n years
Key is valid for? (0) 
Key does not expire at all
Is this correct? (y/N) y

GnuPG needs to construct a user ID to identify your key.

Real name: Robert Burrell Donkin
Email address:
You selected this USER-ID:
    "Robert Burrell Donkin (CODE SIGNING KEY) <>"

Change (N)ame, (C)omment, (E)mail or (O)kay/(Q)uit? O
We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform
some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the
disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number
generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform
some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the
disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number
generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
gpg: key 04B3B5C426A27D33 marked as ultimately trusted
gpg: revocation certificate stored as '/home/ubuntu/.gnupg/openpgp-revocs.d/08071B1E23C8A7E2CA1E891A04B3B5C426A27D33.rev'
public and secret key created and signed.

pub   rsa4096 2021-08-19 [SC]
uid                      Jack (test) <>
sub   rsa4096 2021-08-19 [E]

Note that the last 8 digits (26A27D33) of the public key is the key ID.

Upload key

After generating the public key, we should upload it to public key server:

$ gpg --keyserver hkps:// --send-key 26A27D33

Please refer to keyserver-upload for details.

Update KEYS file with your code signing key

To get the code signing key (a.k.a ASCII-armored public key), run the command:

$ gpg --export --armor 26A27D33

And then append the generated key to the KEYS file by:

# Move dev/ to release/ when the voting is completed. See Finalize the Release below
svn co --depth=files "" svn-spark
# edit svn-spark/KEYS file
svn ci --username $ASF_USERNAME --password "$ASF_PASSWORD" -m"Update KEYS"

If you want to do the release on another machine, you can transfer your secret key to that machine via the gpg --export-secret-keys and gpg --import commands.

Installing Docker

The scripts to create release candidates are run through docker. You need to install docker before running these scripts. Please make sure that you can run docker as non-root users. See for more details.

Preparing Spark for release

The main step towards preparing a release is to create a release branch. This is done via standard Git branching mechanism and should be announced to the community once the branch is created.

Cutting a release candidate

If this is not the first RC, then make sure that the JIRA issues that have been solved since the last RC are marked as Resolved and has a Target Versions set to this release version.

To track any issue with pending PR targeting this release, create a filter in JIRA with a query like this project = SPARK AND "Target Version/s" = "12340470" AND status in (Open, Reopened, "In Progress")

For target version string value to use, find the numeric value corresponds to the release by looking into an existing issue with that target version and click on the version (eg. find an issue targeting 2.2.1 and click on the version link of its Target Versions field)

Verify from git log whether they are actually making it in the new RC or not. Check for JIRA issues with release-notes label, and make sure they are documented in relevant migration guide for breaking changes or in the release news on the website later.

To cut a release candidate, there are 4 steps:

  1. Create a git tag for the release candidate.
  2. Package the release binaries & sources, and upload them to the Apache staging SVN repo.
  3. Create the release docs, and upload them to the Apache staging SVN repo.
  4. Publish a snapshot to the Apache staging Maven repo.

The process of cutting a release candidate has been automated via the dev/create-release/ script. Run this script, type information it requires, and wait until it finishes. You can also do a single step via the -s option. Please run -h and see more details.

Call a vote on the release candidate

The release voting takes place on the Apache Spark developers list (the PMC is voting). Look at past voting threads to see how this proceeds. The email should follow this format.

  • Make a shortened link to the full list of JIRAs using
  • If possible, attach a draft of the release notes with the email
  • Make sure the voting closing time is in UTC format. Use this script to generate it
  • Make sure the email is in text format and the links are correct

Once the vote is done, you should also send out a summary email with the totals, with a subject that looks something like [VOTE][RESULT] ....

Finalize the release

Note that dev/create-release/ script (finalize step ) automates most of the following steps except for:

  • Publish to CRAN
  • Update the configuration of Algolia Crawler
  • Remove old releases from Mirror Network
  • Update the rest of the Spark website
  • Create and upload Spark Docker Images
  • Create an announcement

Please manually verify the result after each step.

Upload to Apache release directory

Be Careful!

THIS STEP IS IRREVERSIBLE so make sure you selected the correct staging repository. Once you move the artifacts into the release folder, they cannot be removed.

After the vote passes, to upload the binaries to Apache mirrors, you move the binaries from dev directory (this should be where they are voted) to release directory. This “moving” is the only way you can add stuff to the actual release directory. (Note: only PMC can move to release directory)

# Move the sub-directory in "dev" to the
# corresponding directory in "release"
$ export SVN_EDITOR=vim
$ svn mv

# If you've added your signing key to the KEYS file, also update the release copy.
svn co --depth=files "" svn-spark
curl "" > svn-spark/KEYS
(cd svn-spark && svn ci --username $ASF_USERNAME --password "$ASF_PASSWORD" -m"Update KEYS")

Verify that the resources are present in It may take a while for them to be visible. This will be mirrored throughout the Apache network. Check the release checker result of the release at

For Maven Central Repository, you can Release from the Apache Nexus Repository Manager. This is already populated by the publish-release step. Log in, open Staging Repositories, find the one voted on (eg. orgapachespark-1257 for, select and click Release and confirm. If successful, it should show up under and the same under (look for the correct release version). After some time this will be sync’d to Maven Central automatically.

Upload to PyPI

You’ll need the credentials for the spark-upload account, which can be found in this message and this message (only visible to PMC members).

The artifacts can be uploaded using twine. Just run:

twine upload --repository-url pyspark-{version}.tar.gz pyspark-{version}.tar.gz.asc

Adjusting the command for the files that match the new release. If for some reason the twine upload is incorrect (e.g. http failure or other issue), you can rename the artifact to pyspark-version.post0.tar.gz, delete the old artifact from PyPI and re-upload.

Publish to CRAN

Publishing to CRAN is done using this form. Since it requires further manual steps, please also contact the PMC.

Remove RC artifacts from repositories

NOTE! If you did not make a backup of docs for approved RC, this is the last time you can make a backup. This will be used to upload the docs to the website in next few step. Check out docs from svn before removing the directory.

After the vote passes and you moved the approved RC to the release repository, you should delete the RC directories from the staging repository. For example:

svn rm \ \
  -m"Removing RC artifacts."

Make sure to also remove the unpublished staging repositories from the Apache Nexus Repository Manager.

Remove old releases from Mirror Network

Spark always keeps the latest maintenance released of each branch in the mirror network. To delete older versions simply use svn rm:

$ svn rm

You will also need to update js/download.js to indicate the release is not mirrored anymore, so that the correct links are generated on the site.

Update the Spark Apache repository

Check out the tagged commit for the release candidate that passed and apply the correct version tag.

$ git tag v1.1.1 v1.1.1-rc2 # the RC that passed
$ git push apache v1.1.1

Update the configuration of Algolia Crawler

The search box on the Spark documentation website leverages the Algolia Crawler. Before a release, please update the crawler configuration for Apache Spark with the new version on the Algolia Crawler Admin Console. If you don’t have access to the configuration, contact Gengliang Wang or Xiao Li for help.

Update the Spark website

Upload generated docs

The website repository is located at

It’s recommended to not remove the generated docs of the latest RC, so that we can copy it to spark-website directly, otherwise you need to re-build the docs.

# Build the latest docs
$ git checkout v1.1.1
$ cd docs
$ PRODUCTION=1 bundle exec jekyll build

# Copy the new documentation to Apache
$ git clone
$ cp -R _site spark-website/site/docs/1.1.1

# Update the "latest" link
$ cd spark-website/site/docs
$ rm latest
$ ln -s 1.1.1 latest
Update the rest of the Spark website

Next, update the rest of the Spark website. See how the previous releases are documented (all the HTML file changes are generated by jekyll). In particular:

  • update _layouts/global.html if the new release is the latest one
  • update to add link to the docs for the new release
  • add the new release to js/downloads.js (attention to the order of releases)
  • check for anything to update
$ git add 1.1.1
$ git commit -m "Add docs for Spark 1.1.1"

Then, create the release notes. Go to the release page in JIRA, pick the release version from the list, then click on “Release Notes”. Copy this URL and then make a short URL on, sign in to your Apache account, and pick the ID as something like spark-2.1.2. Create a new release post under releases/_posts to include this short URL. The date of the post should be the date you create it.

Then run bundle exec jekyll build to update the site directory.

Considering the Pull Request will be large, please separate the commits of code changes and generated site directory for an easier review.

After merging the change into the asf-site branch, you may need to create a follow-up empty commit to force synchronization between ASF’s git and the web site, and also the GitHub mirror. For some reason synchronization seems to not be reliable for this repository.

On a related note, make sure the version is marked as released on JIRA. Go find the release page as above, eg.,, and click the “Release” button on the right and enter the release date.

(Generally, this is only for major and minor, but not patch releases) The contributors list can be automatically generated through this script. It accepts the tag that corresponds to the current release and another tag that corresponds to the previous (not including maintenance release). For instance, if you are releasing Spark 1.2.0, set the current tag to v1.2.0-rc2 and the previous tag to v1.1.0. Once you have generated the initial contributors list, it is highly likely that there will be warnings about author names not being properly translated. To fix this, run this other script, which fetches potential replacements from GitHub and JIRA. For instance:

$ cd release-spark/dev/create-release
$ export RELEASE_TAG=v1.1.1
$ export PREVIOUS_RELEASE_TAG=v1.1.0
# Generate initial contributors list, likely with warnings
$ ./
$ export JIRA_USERNAME=blabla
$ export JIRA_PASSWORD=blabla
$ export GITHUB_API_TOKEN=blabla
# Translate names generated in the previous step, reading from known_translations if necessary
$ ./

Additionally, if you wish to give more specific credit for developers of larger patches, you may use the the following commands to identify large patches. Extra care must be taken to make sure commits from previous releases are not counted since git cannot easily associate commits that were back ported into different branches.

# Determine PR numbers closed only in the new release
$ git log v1.1.1 | grep "Closes #" | cut -d " " -f 5,6 | grep Closes | sort > closed_1.1.1
$ git log v1.1.0 | grep "Closes #" | cut -d " " -f 5,6 | grep Closes | sort > closed_1.1.0
$ diff --new-line-format="" --unchanged-line-format="" closed_1.1.1 closed_1.1.0 > diff.txt

# Grep expression with all new patches
$ EXPR=$(cat diff.txt | awk '{ print "\\("$1" "$2" \\)"; }' | tr "\n" "|" | sed -e "s/|/\\\|/g" | sed "s/\\\|$//")

# Contributor list
$ git shortlog v1.1.1 --grep "$EXPR" > contrib.txt

# Large patch list (300+ lines)
$ git log v1.1.1 --grep "$expr" --shortstat --oneline | grep -B 1 -e "[3-9][0-9][0-9] insert" -e "[1-9][1-9][1-9][1-9] insert" | grep SPARK > large-patches.txt

Create and upload Spark Docker Images

The apache/spark-docker provides dockerfiles and Github Action for Spark Docker images publish.

  1. Upload Spark Dockerfiles to apache/spark-docker repository, please refer to link.
  2. Publish Spark Docker Images:
    1. Enter publish page.
    2. Click “Run workflow”.
    3. Select “The Spark version of Spark image”, click “Publish the image or not”, select “apache” as target registry.
    4. Click “Run workflow” button to publish the image to Apache dockerhub.

Create an announcement

Once everything is working (website docs, website changes) create an announcement on the website and then send an e-mail to the mailing list with a subject that looks something like [ANNOUNCE] .... To create an announcement, create a post under news/_posts and then run bundle exec jekyll build.

Enjoy an adult beverage of your choice, and congratulations on making a Spark release.