March 21, 2011

The Way From Hudson To Jenkins

Some time has gone by since the Hudson/Jenkins fork... and there has been even more talk in the community. However, slowly the dust settles, everybody is getting back to business. And finally, we decided to switch from Hudson to Jenkins! This is about why and how.

Why move to Jenkins?

But wait: who has forked, anyways? Is it Jenkins that forked Hudson, or is it Hudson that did the fork of Jenkins? There is some evidence that the community just did a rename of the project (due to trademark conflicts), and after that Oracle forked Jenkins, using the Hudson name they claim holding the trademark on.

You may think this question is a purely theoretical one, but actually it's not. I'll have to legitimate the decision to move to Jenkins to my stakeholders, and using a fork would be a "smell". Project forks are usually not as good as the "original", are possibly done out of selfish reasons, are considered to harm the community etc. Hence, not moving to a fork but instead following the "real" project is a good reason for the move to Jenkins.

An even better one is "project vibrancy", that is the pace of development and level of support provided by the community. This is usually measured by indicators such as the number of commits, the mailing list traffic, the quantity, quality and regularity of releases etc. See this post for such an analysis on commit counts and mailing lists post counts. This is more than four weeks old now and covers not more than two weeks, but nevertheless the result is obvious: Jenkins moves much faster than Hudson does, and community is much more agile. This is confirmed by following the dev mailing lists of both: for Hudson, most of the relevant posts are by either Oracle or Sonatype engineers – seems the Hudson community has become pretty small... Moreover, as this post shows, most of the top plugins will continue primary development under Jenkins.

Last not least, I really respect Kohsuke Kawaguchi (the original creator of Hudson) and what he has done for us. I feel ashamed by how Oracle is dealing with him and the rest of the core team, that's why I have a strong tendency to follow the "good guys" with Jenkins.

As I blogged before, Maven integration is probably one of the most important features of any CI server (at least for me). I guess Sonatype is doing better with Maven integration – it's "The Maven Company", right? – and they are working with Oracle on Hudson. At least, they are putting huge efforts into rock-solid integration. However, after having seen a Sonatype Webinar about their plans with Hudson, I'm not that convinced any more. Current features looked a bit awkward and also does the GWT based UI they are using. So, from my point of view, this point is not yet decided.

Counting it all together, there are some really good reasons to move from Hudson to Jenkins, so we did.

How to upgrade

Now... how do you actually migrate from Hudson to Jenkins? Well, it couldn't be easier. There is a Wiki page about Upgrading from Hudson to Jenkins. To make it short, the involved steps are:

  1. Backup your current installation – just for the good feeling.

  2. Change Update Site: In your Hudson, go to Manage Hudson > Plugin Management > Advanced > Update Site and enter "" as URL for Jenkins update site.

  3. Choose to upgrade automatically on Manage Hudson page, just as you did so many times to update Hudson. This will download the new JAR.

  4. Restart Hudson, eh, Jenkins.... and there it is!

That's it. Took less than 5 min! Hudson indeed is a drop-in replacement, so you usually do not have to change anything (environment variables, system properties, start scripts, job configuration etc).

Well, there is only one thing: the name of the WAR file is still hudson.war! Is Oracle aware of this? ;-)


  1. The above method is nt useful.

    The below option is not coming for my Hudson v2.2.1
    3 .Choose to upgrade automatically on Manage Hudson page, just as you did so many times to update Hudson. This will download the new JAR.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. wanted to share my approach of migrating hudson to jenkins. My blog doesn't talk about jenkins setup issues but how I managed to build 100 hudson jobs with just 5 jenkins jobs.

  3. Is this same possible to Hudson v 2.2.1?