All Main net nodes are running RNode version 0.12.4 (primarily containing the PRs to update the Open API JSON and the 'find by blockhash' function). This version includes the block merge code that does not require a hard fork, but block merge is currently disabled until we have the block merge version coming up in hard fork 2, aka block merge hard fork.
There are two planned hard forks: one for block merge (release versioning will be 0.13.x) and one for PoS changes (release versioning will be either 0.14.x or 1.x.x) to eventually enable a fully decentralized node with external validators.
Both *.bm.testnet.rchain.coop and *.llbm.testnet.rchain.coop are part of hard fork 2. the llbm version has the latest code. Having the two test nets will allow the community testers to trace any unexpected behavior in their tests to the latest code changes vs. the code that has been running on bm.testnet for a while. The *.llbm.testnet.rchain (Leaderless block merge test net) stability is much improved, but the team will be making further changes to it. It is currently unavailable for community testing, to allow the team to fix a bug in the finalization frontier/barrier/fringe calculation. Community members interested in testing can request testrev for llbm in the #testnet channel. Once we determine llbm.testnet to be fully stable, it will become the sole test net for hard fork 2.
Sprint 104 in progress
Main Focus is to prepare the leaderless block merge Hard fork (hf2), specifically (a) merging REV balances directly - currently on hold until other llbm issues are resolved (b) leaderless block merge - work ongoing (c) a lot of testing + bug fixing and (d) performance improvements. Other work includes resolving any identified bugs, hardening the network. Current PR list is at https://github.com/rchain/rchain/pulls .
Block merge Hard Fork (hf2)
LLBM (Leaderless block merge test net) branch of the code is coming along nicely in the HF2 branch. LLBM test net is currently unavailable for community testing, to allow the team to fix a bug in the finalization frontier/barrier/fringe calculation. Nutzipper is extracting relevant parts of the code to create a PR to merge into the HF2 branch. Block merge behavior at the time of epoch change needs to be discussed and implemented (seems relatively straight forward at the moment). Please do continue to test more.
Tomislav is working on the above bug in addition to leading the design changes and mentoring the new devs for their tasks and detailed plans for the team tasks overall. Tomislav also had to clean up some CI formats and he has also been making improvements to the RChat repo to make it easy to use.
Just to clarify, LLBM is optimized not just for performance but also stability, liveness, safety, security, recoverability etc. In general, we can do more things for performance in the future, but the other attributes are also important to focus on, to be able to move the code to the main net. In the near term, we should be see better performance after Denis' work is merged into LLBM.
Denis is continuing his work on implementing the import/export using his improved (better performance reduced storage) algorithm for History data and integrating it into the HF2 branch.
Release Plan for the rest of the year and beyond - for reference
Currently planned near term releases are
Block merge release hard fork 2 plus any configuration changes that do not need extensive work - Leaderful and Leaderless block merge
Configuration changes release,
Performance improvements releases (one or more),
Hard Fork 3 with PoS changes and other items,
External validators process validation with trusted community validators (aka Friends & Family) on the test net
Friends & Family validation on the main net
External validators among extended ecosystem (e.g. exchanges, if they're willing)
External validators in the wild.
Explanation of the different Hard Forks (for reference)
Proceeding further with block merge requires changes to the per validator vault to make it a per deploy vault/purse etc. We are currently finalizing the design for this. Actual code and test will take some time. We are potentially looking at this scenario: 1. First hard fork for balances and removing the slashed validator 2. Second hard fork for block merge - This is the fastest way to get block merge on the main net without holding it until the third hard fork. This includes REV balance merging (aka per deploy vault), attestation messages and the Tree depth being increased to 4. 3. Third hard fork with all other changes. Third hard fork includes implementation of a lot of changes including the PoS contract changes, Soft fork process etc. Design for soft fork process is complete and is being reviewed by the team.
(Hard Fork) TEST NET 2 ADVISORY: (for reference)
To test the version of block merge with data changes that need a hard fork, we are creating a separate feature branch and a TEST NET 2 as the testbed for this feature branch. This content will be left here until we are close to Hard Fork 2 implementation on the main net. TestNet 2 is now available for the community to test their contracts on.
There will be no guarantees of data storage format compatibility on Test Net 2, as the data storage format changes are incrementally implemented. The anticipated changes are mostly storage level format changes visible only to node operators. We encourage the community to start using Test Net 2 in addition to the current test net, so that we can quickly identify and resolve any issues with the upcoming hard forks. All new development should be targeted to TEST NET 2 and all current code MUST BE tested against TEST NET 2 to ensure future compatibility.
On all the hard forks on the main net, we will be starting from an empty state, with REV balances only. On Test Net 2, this 'loosing the state' will be repeated multiple times.
Tech-Governance meetings on Fridays 9:30 AM Eastern, 6:30 Am Pacific