|RFC-0103: Software Delivery RFC Criteria|
An addendum to the RFC process for changes which affect the Software Delivery codebase or policies.
|Date submitted (year-month-day)||2021-05-19|
|Date reviewed (year-month-day)||2021-06-10|
Criteria for changes which require RFCs in the Software Delivery area.
The Software Delivery (SWD) system has wide scope over system behaviors, including over the air (OTA) system updates, development and testing flows, device security, and eventually package updates without a system update. Changes to the SWD stack can modify behavior of the system in subtle ways and incur cost to the Fuchsia program. To best adhere to the Fuchsia-wide RFC process, we seek to disambiguate the changes which have 'broad impact' in the SWD area by putting forth a set of clear criteria. These criteria are an attempt to achieve a balance between execution velocity and proper stakeholder communication and approval processes.
Changes which require an RFC
- Changes to the system update flow which add restrictions or gates, or new error conditions to the OTA process. For example, adding additional checks before completing an OTA, or making OTA downgrade checking more strict. This is important because these changes have the potential to reduce the reliability of the OTA process.
- Changes to how we use package repositories, or the structure of package repositories we expect. We expect that both internal and external developers may create or host their own TUF servers, and we should provide appropriate notice of changes to the expected format.
- Changes to the Fuchsia package format. Anything that modifies the schema for Fuchsia packages or the Fuchsia Archive format. This is important because many different tools interact with the package format and we should provide appropriate notice of changes.
- Adding or removing requirements for a product or build type to support OTA system updates. For example, requiring vbmeta to OTA successfully, or removing a requirement for vbmeta. This is important because these changes may incur costs for product developers.
- Modifications to enforcement of security policies. For example, changing executability restriction strategies. This is important because these changes have the potential to impact the security of Fuchsia.
- Changes which may make old systems fail to update to newer system versions, or require stepping-stone builds. This is important because stepping-stone releases incur a long-term cost. When a device is set up for the first time, or reconnected after a long time, it must update through every stepping-stone release, costing additional time and network traffic for the end user. A bug in a stepping-stone release has the potential to impact the security or availability of devices moving through it even years after the original release, meaning that stepping-stone releases must be tested and maintained for significantly longer than regular releases.
- Changes which will substantially increase resource usage. Whether memory, disk, CPU, network, etc. This gives broader visibility to changes in the use of shared device resources.
- Modifications to privacy policies or their enforcement. This is important because these changes have the potential to impact the privacy Fuchsia offers to users. We don't have much ability to transact PII in the codebase today, but if we someday want to, that should go through an RFC.
Examples: past changes which would now require an RFC
- OTA backstops; changes to the OTA process.
- Post-OTA health checks; changes to the OTA process.
- Changes to the package format, like a
- Migrating to channel in vbmeta; changes to OTA process and requirements for OTAs.
Examples: past changes which would still not require an RFC
- CFv2 migrations; they are covered by other artifacts.
- Blob download resumption; optional feature unobservable outside of pkg-resolver, risks were mitigated in code review process.
- Changes to metrics or inspect emitted by the SWD stack.
- Additions of channels for products.
- Reliability improvements, like making
fx otawork well for kernel developers. PSAs are sufficient here if the risk of regression is small.
amberctland moving developers over to
pkgctl. This should be handled by the LSC process, as the workflows and goals of the tools are almost entirely the same.
Ongoing work that already has design approval through other processes and is in implementation will not be required to submit retroactive RFCs in order to go ahead. However, we should submit retroactive RFCs for portions of the Software Delivery stack which are sufficiently direction-setting and are under-documented in other places. We'll evaluate ongoing or nearly-landed work on a project-by-project basis to determine if we should write a retroactive RFC for it.
Work which is not yet past the design stage will be required to adhere to these guidelines.
These guidelines will be effective as of their RFC publication date, and we'll add them to the current process page in the RFC documentation. If we update these guidelines, we'll do so as an addendum to this RFC in a subsequent CL.
If a contributor wishes to work with the SWD team on an RFC, they should feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll assign them a designated contact.
No impact, process-only change.
We'll revisit these criteria if we find that changes are going through which would have been better communicated by RFCs, or if we find in some other way we need to modify these criteria. We need to strike a balance of execution velocity and communication, regardless of the criteria.
Changes to the SWD area which modify security strategy will require an RFC, per these criteria.
Changes to the SWD area which modify privacy considerations will require an RFC, per these criteria.
We'll update the current RFC process documentation if this RFC is accepted.
Drawbacks, alternatives, and unknowns
There are many alternative criteria we could use. We should amend this list if we find that too many "small" changes require RFCs based on this criteria, or we find that not enough "large" changes are going through the RFC process.