Hotfix Process


Summary of the RAPIDS release process for hotfixes.

Intended audience


Project Leads


See also


Hotfix (or patch) releases are not preplanned and are made to address critical issues with the current release. The criteria and process below are set as a guideline to help determine what is a hotfix.


A hotfix is a significant bug that affects the majority of users for which there is no reasonable workaround.

So consider these questions:

  • Is this bug significant?
    • Does it produces incorrect results?
    • Are there compile or runtime errors with valid input?
    • Is there major incorrect functionality?
  • Does it affect the majority of users?
    • Does the bug affect a common or major function?
    • Is the input that causes the bug a common or edge case?
    • Will the average user encounter the bug during normal, average usage?
  • Is there a reasonable workaround?
    • Is there even a workaround?
    • Can a potential workaround be communicated effectively to the community?
    • Will the average user understand the workaround?
    • How many steps/code changes does a workaround take?
    • When the bug is fixed, does the workaround continue to work?

Also consider the timing of when the next release is scheduled. If the freeze or release date is within a few days, consider waiting and including the hotfix in the next release instead.


NOTE: The processes below use these releases as examples:

  • Current release M.A.X
  • Next minor release M.B.0 (where B=A+1)
  • Next patch release M.A.Y (where Y=X+1)


  1. Hotfix issues will be assigned to you
  2. Create your branch from the branch-M.A branch
  3. Implement the fix succinctly
  4. Change the minimal amount of code required
  5. Update related documentation and unit tests
  6. It is acceptable to implement a quick fix and open a new issue for a more in depth solution
  7. Once complete, create a pull request targeting branch-M.A
  8. Notify the project lead

Project Leads

  1. During triage, identify potential hotfixes
  2. Ensure that the hotfix criteria is met
  3. Assign the issue and track its progress
  4. Notify Operations that a hotfix is being worked on
  5. Once notified that the pull request is created, review and approve it. Do NOT merge the pull request.
  6. Notify Operations that the hotfix pull request is ready for merging


  1. Once notified by a Project Lead, review the pull request
  2. Begin testing of conda and containers for correctness and functionality
  3. Review documentation to ensure version numbers (updating to M.A.Y) and instructions are correct
  4. Merge the developer’s PR targeting branch-M.A after approval
  5. Create a new PR from branch-M.A targeting main
  6. Merge the PR targeting main after review and approval
  7. Monitor process of automated tools
  8. Spot check deliverables to ensure correctness