Fixes for serious issues or regressions affecting previous releases may be backported to the corresponding branches, to be included in the next release from that branch.

Requesting a backport

Backports can only be requested on fixes made against a later branch, or the devel branch. (This doesn’t mean that bugs can’t be fixed in older branches directly; but where relevant, they should first be fixed on devel.)

To request such a backport, identify the relevant pull request, and add the “backport” label to it. You should also add a comment to the pull request explaining why the backport is necessary, and which branch(es) are targeted. Issues should not be labeled, they are liable to be overlooked or lack a one-to-one mapping to a code fix.

Handling backports

Pending backports can be identified using this query, listing all non-archived pull requests with a “backport” label and without a “backport-handled” label.

Backports should only be handled once the reference pull request is merged. This ensures that commit identifiers will remain stable during the backport process and for later history.

Standalone pull requests

Backporting a pull request (PR) is automated by running:

make LOCAL_BUILD=1 backport release=<release-branch> pr=<PR to cherry-pick>

Since you are running with LOCAL_BUILD=1, ensure that Shipyard’s repo is checked out and updated alongside the project (../<project dir where running make backport>). The make target runs a script,, originally developed by the Kubernetes community.

The script does the following:

  1. Cherry-picks the commits from the PR onto <remote branch>.
  2. Creates a PR on <release-branch> with the title Automated backport of <original PR number>: <original PR title>.
  3. Adds the backport-handled label to the original PR and the automated-backport label to the backported PR.

The DRY_RUN environment variable can be set to skip creating the PR. When set, it leaves you in a branch containing the commits that were cherry-picked.

Multiple PRs can be backported together by passing a comma-separated list of PR numbers, eg pr=630,631.

The script uses the following environment variables. Please change them according to your setup.

  • UPSTREAM_REMOTE: the remote for the upstream repository. Defaults to origin.
  • FORK_REMOTE: the remote for your forked repository. Defaults to GITHUB_USER.
  • GITHUB_USER: needs to be set to your GitHub username.
  • GITHUB_TOKEN: a personal GitHub token, with at least “read:org” and “repo” scopes.

Pull requests requiring dependent backports

Reviewing backports

Backports need to go through the same review process as usual. The author of the original pull request should be added as a reviewer.

Change requests on a backport should only concern changes arising from the specifics of backporting to the target release branch. Any other change which is deemed useful as a result of the review probably also applies to the original pull request and should result in an entirely new pull request, which might not be a backport candidate.