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This document describes the tasks the Org-mode maintainers have to do and how they are performed.

What's in a release?

We don't follow a release schedule

Org development is the work of volunteers only and we cannot promise to follow a release schedule.

We don't use semantic versioning

We use the same numbering convention than semantic versioning, but we don't follow the rules of SemVer, as expressed in

A major release (e.g. 10) means: "Hear ye, hear ye! All users should pay attention and read the release notes before upgrading!".

A minor release (e.g. 10.1) means: "Hear ye, hear ye! Power users and Org contributors shoul pay attention and read the release notes before upgrading! All other users are welcome to read them too."

Note that this de facto convention has been made explicit after 9.4.

Major, minor and bugfix releases

Major release
The release number for a major release look like
this: =10=. Major releases are made whenever Org is in a state where the feature set is consistent and we know that the features that are implemented will be supported in the future.
Minor release
The release number for minor releases look like
this: =10.1=. Minor releases are amends to main releases: small new features or bugfixes.
Bugfix-only releases
The release number for bugfixes-only
releases looks like this: =10.1.1=. These release contain no new feature at all, big or small, and only fix things that we cannot affort not to fix in a minor release.

Conventions before and after Org 9.5

Note that before Org 9.5, versions like 9.3, 9.4, etc. were really /major/ ones. This was confusing for some users, especially those who expect Org to follow semantic versioning conventions.


Git workflow

The git repository has two branches:

For current development.
For bug fixes against latest major or minor release.

Bug fixes always go on maint then are merged on master.

New features always go on master.

Merging or not merging

When doing a major or minor release, we make sure that all changes from the maint branch are merged into the the master branch, then merge the master branch back into maint to synchronize the two.

When doing a bugfix release, we do it from the maint branch directly.

Tagging the release

When doing a major and a minor release, after all necessary merging is done, tag the maint branch for the release with:

git tag -a release_9.1.7 -m "Adding release tag"

and push tags with

git push --tags

We also encourage you to sign release tags like this:

git tag -s release_9.1.7 -m "Adding release tag"

Uploading the release files from the server

Log on the server as the emacs user and cd to ~/git/org-mode.

From there do

make release
make upload

to create the =.tar.gz= and files, the documentation, and to upload everything at the right place.

Available Org's builds on the server

There are two cron tasks on the server: one that builds the ELPA packages and one that builds org-latest.tar.gz and

ELPA packages are built from the maint branch. One ELPA package contains Org's core, another one called "org-plus-contrib" contains Org and contributed libraries.

org-latest* snapshots are built from the master branch.

Synchronization Org and upstream Emacs

Below it is described how Org is kept in sync with the upstream Emacs.

Backporting changes from upstream Emacs

Sometimes Emacs maintainers make changes to Org files. The process of propagating the changes back to the Org repository is called /backporting/ for historical reasons.

To find changes that need to be backported from the Emacs repository, the following git command, courtesy of Kyle Meyer, can be used:

git log $rev..origin/emacs-25 -- lisp/org doc/misc/org.texi \ etc/refcards/orgcard.tex etc/ORG-NEWS etc/org \ etc/schema/od-manifest-schema-v1.2-os.rnc \ etc/schema/od-schema-v1.2-os.rnc

here, $rev is the last commit from the emacs-25 branch that was backported. The should also be done for the master branch.

There is also a feed to keep track of new changes in the =lisp/org= folder in the Emacs repository.

Updating the Org version in upstream Emacs

New releases of Org should be added to the Emacs repository.

Typically, Org can be synchronized by copying over files from the =emacs-sync= branch of the Org repository to the master branch of Emacs repository. The emacs-sync branch has a few extra changes compared with the maint branch. If the Emacs maintainers are planning a new release of Emacs soon, it is possible that another branch should be used.

If the new release of Org contains many changes, it may be useful to use a separate branch before merging, e.g. scratch/org-mode-merge. This branch can then be merged with the master branch, when everything has been tested.

Please see CONTRIBUTE in the Emacs repository for guidelines on contributing to the Emacs repository.

Where to files go

The following list shows where files in Org repository are copied to in the Emacs repository, folder by folder.


Copy to emacs/doc/misc. It may be necessary to replace,
~@include with ~@set VERSION 9.0.9~ or similar.
Copy to emacs/etc/refcards. Make sure that
~\def\orgversionnumber~ and ~\def\versionyear~ are up to date.


Copy to emacs/etc/org.
Copy to emacs/etc/schema.
Any new entries in this file should be added
to =emacs/etc/schema/schemas.xml=.
Copy to emacs/etc


  • Copy *.el files to emacs/lisp/org, except org-loaddefs.el!
  • You should create org-version.el in emacs/lisp/org. The file is
  • created when you =make= Org.

TODO org-mode/testing

Update emacs/etc/NEWS

Whenever a new (major) version of Org is synchronized to the Emacs repository, it should be mentioned in the NEWS file.

Updating the list of hooks/commands/options on Worg

Load the mk/eldo.el file then M-x eldo-make-doc RET.

This will produce an org file with the documentation.

Import this file into worg/, leaving the header untouched (except for the release number).

Then commit and push the change on the worg.git repository.

Copyright assignments

The maintainers needs to keep track of copyright assignments. Even better, find a volunteer to do this.

The assignment form is included in the repository as a file that you can send to contributors: request-assign-future.txt

The list of all contributors from who we have the papers is kept on this Worg page, so that committers can check if a patch can go into the core.

The assignment process does not always go smoothly, and it has happened several times that it gets stuck or forgotten at the FSF. The contact at the FSF for this is: copyright-clerk AT fsf DOT org

Emails from the paper submitter have been ignored in the past, but an email from the maintainers of Org mode has usually fixed such cases within a few days.