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Release Download Pages for Projects

Your project's release download page is where people can download your product's latest release(s). This page describes how a release manager can put such a page together.

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Contents

  • Your project's download page can only link to release artifacts that your PMC has approved.
  • Do not link directly to dist.apache.org.
  • The download page must include a link to the source distribution. It may include links to binary distributions.
  • Use closer.lua, the standard mechanism to distribute Apache downloads. See below for details.
  • All links to checksums, detached signatures and public keys must reference the main Apache web site and should use https:// (SSL). For example: https://downloads.apache.org/httpd/KEYS.
  • All releases are automatically archived. You may continue to link to recent releases, as well as the latest one, from the download page, as a convenience for the user community. You should remove links to older releases that you no longer support.
  • Remove all official pre-releases (e.g. milestones, alphas, betas) in a timely fashion once the project releases the final or GA version.

Your Apache project's download page

Your Apache project's download page:

  • must have at least one link to the current release. This link must use the closer.lua utility. For example: https://www.apache.org/dyn/closer.lua/PROJECT/VERSION/SOURCE-RELEASE. (Note: the mirrors.cgi and closer.cgi scripts have been deprecated. Calls to them redirect to closer.lua.)
  • must have a link to the checksum for the current release. These links must use direct links to the Apache distribution server. For example: https://downloads.apache.org/PROJECT/VERSION/CHECKSUM.
  • must have a link to the KEYS file for your project on the Apache distribution server. For example: https://downloads.apache.org/PROJECT/KEYS.
  • should have instructions on how to verify downloads. For this you can include a link to the Apache documentation on verification.
  • must not include a link to the top level closer.lua utility (e.g. http://www.apache.org/dyn/closer.lua/PROJECT) as the KEYS, signatures, and any verification instructions for your release would be missing from the top-level script.

Current and older releases

  • Do not keep software distributions on your project's website. Move them to one of the two software distribution sites:

  • Current public releases appear on downloads.apache.org/. Place current, official releases that the PMC has approved for end-users on the main public release site. Make all changes at https://dist.apache.org/repos/dist/release/.

  • Older releases that you no longer recommend to the general public still appear on archive.apache.org/dist/. This site automatically contains all the content that has ever appeared on downloads.apache.org/. It is rarely necessary to touch this site, except during a reorganization. Once your project no longer recommends public use of a particular release, delete it from downloads.apache.org/dist/ by removing it from https://dist.apache.org/repos/dist/release/, and removing the link to it from your download page. It remain on the archive site.

To remove an old release from the release area, use a command of the form:

svn del -m"Archiving release m.n" https://dist.apache.org/repos/dist/release/<project>/etc/m.n

You can use this for release directories or individual files (if multiple releases are present in a single directory).

Using the closer.lua download script

Apache project download pages must use a closer.lua script. You'll find below a standard mechanism to let you easily create scripts that comply with the ASF distribution policy.

There are two options:

  • The closer.lua download script is quick to set up. The project documentation links to it (rather than integrating it).
  • A project-specific script, which in the end calls closer.lua integrated with a page created in the normal way for the project and uses the project's standard document look and feel. This option takes more time to set up.

Generic closer.lua download script

The starting point for using the generic closer.lua script is a download page in your project's standard documentation which describes the releases. To use the generic script:

  • Alter the page so the download link points to closer.lua.
  • Pass in the relative path from the distribution root to the artifact as a parameter.

If the artifact is foo-5.5.1.zip and it is located in bar/foo relative to downloads.apache.org, then the link http://www.apache.org/dyn/closer.lua/bar/foo/foo-5.5.1.zip provides the link for downloading.

As an alternative, you can generate a direct download link using the following syntax:

http://www.apache.org/dyn/closer.lua/bar/foo/foo-5.5.1.zip?action=download

Note: there is some information which every project should include on the download page (e.g. KEYS and signatures). Please read about best practices for download pages.

Project-specific download script

To use a project-specific download script, create a project page containing information for the user about the release to download, together with variables the script populates with the appropriate values.

Assuming you have called your download page download.html, you can invoke our global download script by using the URI download.cgi.

This URI takes the path to the page as an input and passes it to closer.lua. When you link to the project page (for example, from the rest of the project documentation), it is important to target these links at the script address (and not the html page address).

There is no requirement to name the script download.cgi and the download release page download.html, but the name of the script must correspond to the name of the download page. For example:

  • release.cgi and release.html will work
  • download.cgi and release.html will not work

There are a number of elements that a good project download page should contain. See the content to generate that page here.

A variable URL links to downloadable artifacts. The download script substitutes the correct base URL for the [preferred] variable. The rest of the URL should be the path to the artifact relative to the base of the Apache distribution directory.

For example, for artifact foo-1.0.0.tar.gz contained in bar/foo, use [preferred]/bar/foo/foo-1.0.0.tar.gz

Provide links to the checksum and signature for the artifact next to the download link. It is important that users check the sum and verify the signature, so these links should be close and clear.

For example, for artifact foo-1.0.0.tar.gz contained in bar/foo :

`<a href="[preferred]/bar/foo/foo-1.0.0.tar.gz">zip</a>`
`<a href='https://downloads.apache.org/bar/foo/foo-1.0.0.tar.gz.asc'>PGP</a>`

More advice on creating a good project page is below.

All that remains is to wait for the main website to sync with the new page.

Best practices

Remind users to check sums and signatures

It is important that users understand that they should always verify the check sums and (if possible) the OpenPGP compatible signature of each file they download. The content of the release download page plays a critical role in this education process.

Provide clear and easy links to the KEYS, sums and signatures from the download release page or include the information directly in the page itself. The HTTPD page is a good example.

Include a reminder text with links to more information for users. For example:

Note: when downloading, please check the
<a href="https://infra.apache.org/release-signing.html#sha-checksum" target="_blank">sha checksum</a>
and verify the 
<a href="https://www.infra.apache.org/release-signing#openpgp" target="_blank">OpenPGP compatible signature</a> 
from the <a href="https://www.apache.org" target="_blank">main Apache site</a>. 
Links are provided above (next to the release download link).
This <a href="https://downloads.apache.org/ws/axis2/KEYS" target="_blank">KEYS file</a> 
contains the public keys used for signing release. We recommend that you use a web of trust, if possible, to confirm the identity of these keys.
For more information, please see the <a href="https://www.apache.org/dev/release.html" target="_blank">Apache Release FAQ</a>.

Make sure the browser displays linked URLs

Users need to be able to verify the origin of the artifacts, signatures and sums they download. Check that the stylesheets your download site uses do not obscure the linked URLs. It is best to use a simple, plain style for download links. Note that some of the Maven-style sheets may obscure some external links in some browsers.

Timing your release announcement

Your release will be available almost immediately after you upload it to https://downloads.apache.org/, so you only have to wait about fifteen minutes before announcing it.

Download statistics

You can review downloads of your project's releases by day, week, month or quarter at our download statistics site. Only project committers can access the page, but they can view download statistics for any Apache project.

Questions?

If you need assistance in implementing this policy, contact the users@infra.apache.org mailing list.

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