Contributing Advent 7: Snapshots

Today we look at a non-code contribution. The PHP project makes snapshots of the current state of the Git repository available through There is a two hourly cronjob that goes over all the active branches and then builds a .tar.gz, a .tar.bz2 and an .xv bundle.

After the recent branching of PHP 5.6 the snapshots started failing. I have always been involved with making the snapshots work so I had a look to see what was wrong.

I discovered that "somebody" had use the root account to try to fix/change/update things, but the snapshots are build under a different uses, the snapbuilder user. With some file now having been updated by root, the snapbuilder user was unable to read and/or write to those files anymore, resulting in broken snapshots.

I also discovered that the directory that contains the master branch of the code was missing altogether. I can't explain how that happened, but I restored it by cloning a new version from the Git repository. A similar thing I did for the PHP 5.6 branch so that we now also have snapshots for that branch.


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