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Launchpad entry: http://launchpad.net/distros/ubuntu/+spec/feature-cycle
This specification describes a process by which new Ubuntu features are to be conceived, selected for a release, designed and implemented.
Historically, this process has been conducted informally as needed among some members of the Technical Board. In order to make it more rigorous and transparent, we want to make it an official responsibility of the Board and conduct it according to a regular schedule.
For each release, the Technical Board will establish a few high-level themes (on the order of three) which indicate the primary directions Ubuntu will pursue. These should be discussed at the developer summit for the prior release, six months before development of the target release begins.
At the corresponding mid-release sprint, these themes will be finalized, and the Board, together with the development team, will generate feature ideas based on them. These should be close to the granularity of feature specifications, and will be used as input for the planning process for the next developer summit (which should already be in progress).
This outline of the release plan will be published to the development team and relevant external project teams (e.g., upstreams) in order to encourage input and participation in the upcoming developer summit.