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Ports Changes During <literal>BETA</literal>, <literal>RC</literal>, and the Final <literal>RELEASE</literal>
For each build during the release cycle, the <literal>MANIFEST</literal> files containing the <literal>SHA256</literal> of the various distribution sets, such as <literal>base.txz</literal>, <literal>kernel.txz</literal>, and so on, are added to the <package>misc/freebsd-release-manifests</package> port. This allows utilities other than <citerefentry><refentrytitle>bsdinstall</refentrytitle><manvolnum>8</manvolnum></citerefentry>, such as <package>ports-mgmt/poudriere</package>, to safely use these distribution sets by providing a mechanism through which the checksums can be verified.
Release from <literal>head/</literal>
This section describes the general procedures of the FreeBSD release cycle from the <literal>head/</literal> branch.
FreeBSD <quote><literal>ALPHA</literal></quote> Builds
Starting with the FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE cycle, the notion of <quote><literal>ALPHA</literal></quote> builds was introduced. Unlike the <literal>BETA</literal> and <literal>RC</literal> builds, <literal>ALPHA</literal> builds are not included in the FreeBSD Release schedule.
The idea behind <literal>ALPHA</literal> builds is to provide regular FreeBSD-provided builds before the creation of the <literal>stable/</literal> branch.
FreeBSD <literal>ALPHA</literal> snapshots should be built approximately once a week.
For the first <literal>ALPHA</literal> build, the <varname>BRANCH</varname> value in <filename>sys/conf/newvers.sh</filename> needs to be changed from <literal>CURRENT</literal> to <literal>ALPHA1</literal>. For subsequent <literal>ALPHA</literal> builds, increment each <literal>ALPHA<replaceable>N</replaceable></literal> value by one.
See <xref linkend="releng-building"/> for information on building the <literal>ALPHA</literal> images.
Creating the <literal>stable/<replaceable>12</replaceable>/</literal> Branch

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