Release Model

Report an issue View source

As announced in the original blog post, Bazel 4.0 and higher versions provides support for two release tracks: rolling releases and long term support (LTS) releases. This page covers the latest information about Bazel's release model.

Support matrix

LTS release Support stage Latest version End of support
Bazel 8 Rolling Check rolling release page N/A
Bazel 7 Active 7.2.0 Dec 2026
Bazel 6 Maintenance 6.5.0 Dec 2025
Bazel 5 Maintenance 5.4.1 Jan 2025
Bazel 4 Deprecated 4.2.4 Jan 2024

All Bazel LTS releases can be found on the release page on GitHub.

Release versioning

Bazel uses a major.minor.patch Semantic Versioning scheme.

  • A major release contains features that are not backward compatible with the previous release. Each major Bazel version is an LTS release.
  • A minor release contains backward-compatible bug fixes and features back-ported from the main branch.
  • A patch release contains critical bug fixes.

Additionally, pre-release versions are indicated by appending a hyphen and a date suffix to the next major version number.

For example, a new release of each type would result in these version numbers:

  • Major: 6.0.0
  • Minor: 6.1.0
  • Patch: 6.1.2
  • Pre-release: 7.0.0-pre.20230502.1

Support stages

For each major Bazel version, there are four support stages:

  • Rolling: This major version is still in pre-release, the Bazel team publishes rolling releases from HEAD.
  • Active: This major version is the current active LTS release. The Bazel team backports important features and bug fixes into its minor releases.
  • Maintenance: This major version is an old LTS release in maintenance mode. The Bazel team only promises to backport critical bug fixes for security issues and OS-compatibility issues into this LTS release.
  • Deprecated: The Bazel team no longer provides support for this major version, all users should migrate to newer Bazel LTS releases.

Release cadence

Bazel regularly publish releases for two release tracks.

Rolling releases

  • Rolling releases are coordinated with Google Blaze release and are released from HEAD around every two weeks. It is a preview of the next Bazel LTS release.
  • Rolling releases can ship incompatible changes. Incompatible flags are recommended for major breaking changes, rolling out incompatible changes should follow our backward compatibility policy.

LTS releases

  • Major release: A new LTS release is expected to be cut from HEAD roughly every 12 months. Once a new LTS release is out, it immediately enters the Active stage, and the previous LTS release enters the Maintenance stage.
  • Minor release: New minor verions on the Active LTS track are expected to be released once every 2 months.
  • Patch release: New patch versions for LTS releases in Active and Maintenance stages are expected to be released on demand for critical bug fixes.
  • A Bazel LTS release enters the Deprecated stage after being in ​​the Maintenance stage for 2 years.

For planned releases, please check our release issues on Github.

Release procedure & policies

For rolling releases, the process is straightforward: about every two weeks, a new release is created, aligning with the same baseline as the Google internal Blaze release. Due to the rapid release schedule, we don't backport any changes to rolling releases.

For LTS releases, the procedure and policies below are followed:

  1. Determine a baseline commit for the release.
    • For a new major LTS release, the baseline commit is the HEAD of the main branch.
    • For a minor or patch release, the baseline commit is the HEAD of the current latest version of the same LTS release.
  2. Create a release branch in the name of release-<version> from the baseline commit.
  3. Backport changes via PRs to the release branch.
    • The community can suggest certain commits to be back-ported by replying "@bazel-io flag" on relevant GitHub issues or PRs to mark them as potential release blockers, the Bazel team triages them and decide whether to back-port the commits.
    • Only backward-compatible commits on the main branch can be back-ported, additional minor changes to resolve merge conflicts are acceptable.
  4. Backport changes using Cherry-Pick Request Issue for Bazel maintainers.

    • Bazel maintainers can request to cherry-pick specific commit(s) to a release branch. This process is initiated by creating a cherry-pick request on GitHub. Here's how to do it.

      1. Open the cherry-pick request
      2. Fill in the request details
        • Title: Provide a concise and descriptive title for the request.
        • Commit ID(s): Enter the ID(s) of the commit(s) you want to cherry-pick. If there are multiple commits, then separate them with commas.
        • Category: Specify the category of the request.
        • Reviewer(s): For multiple reviewers, separate their GitHub ID's with commas.
      3. Set the milestone
        • Find the "Milestone" section and click the setting.
        • Select the appropriate X.Y.Z release blockers. This action triggers the cherry-pick bot to process your request for the "release-X.Y.Z" branch.
      4. Submit the Issue
        • Once all details are filled in and the miestone is set, submit the issue.
    • The cherry-pick bot will process the request and notify if the commit(s) are eligible for cherry-picking. If the commits are cherry-pickable, which means there's no merge conflict while cherry-picking the commit, then the bot will create a new pull request. When the pull request is approved by a member of the Bazel team, the commits are cherry-picked and merged to the release branch. For a visual example of a completed cherry-pick request, refer to this example .

  5. Identify release blockers and fix issues found on the release branch.

    • The release branch is tested with the same test suite in postsubmit and downstream test pipeline on Bazel CI. The Bazel team monitors testing results of the release branch and fixes any regressions found.
  6. Create a new release candidate from the release branch when all known release blockers are resolved.

    • The release candidate is announced on bazel-discuss, the Bazel team monitors community bug reports for the candidate.
    • If new release blockers are identified, go back to the last step and create a new release candidate after resolving all the issues.
    • New features are not allowed to be added to the release branch after the first release candidate is created; cherry-picks are limited to critical fixes only. If a cherry-pick is needed, the requester must answer the following questions: Why is this change critical, and what benefits does it provide? What is the likelihood of this change introducing a regression?
  7. Push the release candidate as the official release if no further release blockers are found

    • For patch releases, push the release at least two business days after the last release candidate is out.
    • For major and minor releases, push the release two business days after the last release candidate is out, but not earlier than one week after the first release candidate is out.
    • The release is only pushed on a day where the next day is a business day.
    • The release is announced on bazel-discuss, the Bazel team monitors and addresses community bug reports for the new release.

Report regressions

If a user finds a regression in a new Bazel release, release candidate or even Bazel at HEAD, please file a bug on GitHub. You can use Bazelisk to bisect the culprit commit and include this information in the bug report.

For example, if your build succeeds with Bazel 6.1.0 but fails with the second release candidate of 6.2.0, you can do bisect via

bazelisk --bisect=6.1.0..release-6.2.0rc2 build //foo:bar

You can set BAZELISK_SHUTDOWN or BAZELISK_CLEAN environment variable to run corresponding bazel commands to reset the build state if it's needed to reproduce the issue. For more details, check out documentation about Bazelisk bisect feature.

Remember to upgrade Bazelisk to the latest version to use the bisect feature.

Rule compatibility

If you are a rule authors and want to maintain compatibility with different Bazel versions, please check out the Rule Compatibility page.