Release Candidate Process

This process applies to all releases candidates:

If you intent to release a new feature release, see the Feature Release Process section instead.


The following commands have been validated when ran in the VM used in the Cilium development process. See Development Setup for detailed instructions about setting up said VM.

  1. Ensure that the necessary features and fixes have been completed and merged into the branch for which the release candidate will happen.

    1. Update GitHub project and create vX.Y.Z-rcW+1 project if applicable.
    2. Update PRs / issues that were added to the vX.Y.Z-rcW project, but didn’t make it into this release into the vX.Y.Z-rcW+1 project.
  2. Checkout the desired stable branch (can be master branch if stable branch was not created) and pull it:

    git checkout v1.0; git pull
  3. Create a branch for the release pull request:

    git checkout -b pr/prepare-v1.0.3
  4. Update the AUTHORS file

    make update-authors


    Check to see if the AUTHORS file has any formatting errors (for instance, indentation mismatches) as well as duplicate contributor names, and correct them accordingly.

  5. Set the right version for the CustomResourceDefinitionSchemaVersion in the pkg/k8s/client by following these instructions:

    If you are doing the first RC for a new minor version, the validation schema version should be vX.Y.1 regardless of the value set in CustomResourceDefinitionSchemaVersion. For example, when setting up the first RC for Cilium 1.11, 1.11.0-rc1, the validation schema should be vX.Y+1.1 where X and Y are the major and minor versions used in the schema version of Cilium 1.10.

    If this is not the first RC run, and there is a branch for vX.Y:

    Run ./Documentation/ vX.Y

    If a branch for vX.Y doesn’t exist yet, then ensure the CRD schema version has not been incremented in the case there were no changes. If there were changes to the CRD, then ensure it is incremented at most by 1 patch version.

  6. Add all modified files using git add and create a pull request with the title Prepare for release vX.Y.Z-rcW+1. Add the backport label to the PR which corresponds to the branch for which the release is being performed, e.g. backport/1.0.


    Make sure to create the PR against the desired stable branch. In this case v1.0

  7. Follow standard procedures to get the aforementioned PR merged into the desired stable branch. See Submitting a pull request for more information about this process.

  8. Checkout out the stable branch and pull your merged changes:

    git checkout v1.0; git pull
  9. Check and create a build for the new tag. This build will automatically be triggered when the tag is pushed to

  10. Create release tags:

    git tag -a v1.0.3 -m 'Release v1.0.3'
    git tag -a 1.0.3 -m 'Release 1.0.3'


    There are two tags that correspond to the same release because GitHub recommends using vx.y.z for release version formatting, and ReadTheDocs, which hosts the Cilium documentation, requires the version to be in format x.y.z For more information about how ReadTheDocs does versioning, you can read their Versions Documentation.

  11. Push the git release tag

    git push --tags
  12. Create a GitHub release:

    1. Choose the correct target branch, e.g. v1.0

    2. Choose the correct target tag, e.g. v1.0.3

    3. Title: 1.0.3

    4. Check the This is a pre-release box if you are releasing a release candidate.

    5. Fill in the release description:

      Summary of Changes
      **Important Bug Fixes**
      * Fix dropped packets upon agent bootstrap when iptables rules are installed (@ianvernon)
      << contents of NEWS.rst for this release >>
    6. Preview the description and then publish the release

  13. Announce the release in the #general channel on Slack. Sample text:

    :cilium-new: Cilium release candidate vX.Y.Z-rcN has been released:
    This release is not recommended for use in production clusters, but if
    you're in a position to pull it and try it out in staging / testing
    environments and report issues that you find, this will help us to put
    out a high-quality, stable final release :)