Large software projects follow a continuous development process with regular releases during which bugs are handled. In recent years, many software projects shifted to rapid releases that reduce time-to-market and claim a faster delivery of fixed issues, but also have a shorter period to address bugs. To better understand the impact of rapid releases on bug handling activity, we empirically analyze successive releases of the Eclipse Core projects, focusing on the bug handling rates and durations as well as the feature freeze period. We study the impact of Eclipse's transition from a yearly to quarterly release cycle. We confirm our findings through feedback received from five Eclipse Core maintainers. Among others, our results reveal that Eclipse's bug handling process is becoming more stable over time, with a decreasing number of reported bugs before releases, an increasing bug fixing rate and an increasingly balanced bug handling workload before and after releases. The transition to a quarterly release cycle continued to improve bug handling. In addition, more effort is spent on bug fixing during the feature freeze period, while the bug handling rates do not differ between both periods.
- Bug handling process
- Continuous software development
- Empirical software engineering
- Feature freeze
- Rapid release cycle
- Software maintenance