New update schedule for Linux build images

Starting December 11, we start supporting a new set of group attributes for selecting build images, and the existing ones will be deprecated. By default, the value will be travis_lts which means that you won’t see any drastic changes to your current projects. If you’re looking for more frequent, regular updates, travis_latest will be available.

Since the start of Travis CI, we’ve tried to provide images that could accomodate the vast majority of our users with periodic updates provided as needed. These images host a number of pre-installed software packages that are commonly requested and used. We update these as needed and requested, but there’s always been a balance to strike - do we push for cutting edge features, or do we keep to the stable and well known to work? There are plenty of benefits to both directions. Before, we’ve tried to strike a balance in a natural fashion but this led to some inconsistency in timelines for updates of images.

New “group” values

We’ve listened to your feedback, and after some discussion on which path to follow, we decided on a plan: support both! This will, going forward, ensure that both those that need long term support and those that are looking for cutting edge feature sets are covered.

So what can you expect?

“group: travis_lts” - Stability Ensured

The default option. If you’re working on a larger scale project or simply require a specific, long-term-support version of your packages, group: travis_lts is what you’re looking for. Once an image has been updated, that is where it will stay. The only updates will come in the form of:

  1. Security Updates: Should a security update be required, we will update for those.
  2. End of Life: Once the Ubuntu release (always LTS versions) has reached End of Life, we will no longer support it.

“group: travis_latest” - Feature Filled

When your work requires recent and freshly updated packages, you can make use of group: travis_latest. We intend to update the fast path frequently and regularly (once a month) with the latest versions of a variety of packages. If you’re working with new feature sets as they roll out or simply want the latest and greatest, this is the path for you.

Planned Timeline for Releases

So when is this happening? We plan to start this process on December 11th, 2017. Our current Trusty images will receive their final updates and will be frozen, and used as our current travis_lts image. A new one will be created to fulfill travis_latest, with updates intended to take place once a month.

Once this becomes available, you can specify simply by using the group: key in your .travis.yml file. If it’s not specified, we will automatically set your build image to travis_lts. This will help ensure that if nothing is changed on your end, things basically continue as they were.

As always, should you have any questions or run into any issues, you can reach us via email: support@travis-ci.com. We’ll be keeping a close eye on anything that comes up surrounding this launch.

On a related note… Xenial is just around the corner! :tada: We’re as excited as can be to bring it in along with this new update schedule.