Omnibus GitLab deprecation process

Besides following the GitLab deprecation guidelines, we should also add deprecation messages to the Omnibus GitLab package.

Notifying GitLab administrators of the deprecation and removal of features through deprecation messages consists of:

  1. Addding deprecation messages.
  2. Tracking the removal of deprecation messages.
  3. Tracking the removal of the feature.
  4. Removing deprecation messages.

You must know

Before you add a deprecation message, make sure to read:

Adding deprecation messages

We store a list of deprecations associated with it in the list method of Gitlab::Deprecations class If a configuration has to be deprecated, it has to be added to that list with proper details. For example:

deprecations = [
            config_keys: %w(gitlab postgresql data_dir),
            deprecation: '11.6',
            removal: '14.0',
            note: "Please see for how to use postgresql['dir']"
            config_keys: %w(gitlab sidekiq cluster),
            deprecation: '13.0',
            removal: '14.0',
            note: "Running sidekiq directly is deprecated. Please see for how to use sidekiq-cluster."


config_keys represents a list of keys, which can be used to traverse the configuration hash available from /opt/gitlab/embedded/nodes/{fqdn}.json to reach a specific configuration. For example %w(mattermost log_file_directory) means mattermost['log_file_directory'] setting. Similarly, %w(gitlab nginx listen_addresses) means gitlab['nginx']['listen_addresses']. We internally convert it to nginx['listen_addresses'], which is what we use in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb.


deprecation is where you set the <major>.<minor> version that deprecated the change. Starting in that version, running gitlab-ctl reconfigure will warn that the setting is being removed in the removal version, and it will display the provided note.


removal is where you set the <major>.<minor> version that will no longer support the change at all. This should almost always be a major release. The Omnibus package runs a script at the beginning of installation that ensures you don’t have any removed configuration in your settings. The install will fail early, before making any changes, if it finds configuration that is no longer supported. Similarly, running gitlab-ctl reconfigure will also check the gitlab.rb file for removed configs. This is to tackle situations where users simply copy gitlab.rb from an older instance to a newer one.


note is part of the deprecation message provided to users during gitlab-ctl reconfigure. Use this area to inform users of how to change their settings, often by linking to new documentation, or in the case of a settings rename, telling them what the new setting name should be.

Tracking the removal of deprecation messages

Deprecation messages should not be cleaned up together with removals, because even after the removal they protect upgrades where an administrator tries to upgrade to the version where the key got removed, but they have not yet migrated all the old configuration.

Upgrades do this by running the Gitlab::Deprecations.check_config method, which compares existing configuration against their scheduled removal date, before allowing the GitLab package to be updated.

Additionaly, we have users who might skip multiple GitLab versions when upgrading. For that reason, we recommend deprecation messages to only be removed in the next planned required stop following the removal milestone, as per our upgrade paths. For example:

  • A deprecation message was added in 15.8.
  • The old configuration was removed from the codebase in 16.0.
  • The deprecation messages should be removed in 16.3, as this is the next planned required stop.

To track the removal of deprecation messages:

  1. Create a follow-up issue using the Remove Deprecation Message issue template.
  2. Add a comment next to your deprecation message with a link to the follow-up issue to remove the message. For example:

      config_keys: ...
      deprecation: '15.8', # Remove message Issue:
      removal: '16.0', 
      note: "..."

Track the removal of the feature

Define the correct milestone to remove the feature you want to deprecate, based on the you must know section above. Then create a follow-up issue to track the removal of the feature, and add a comment beside the removal key informing which issue is tracking its removal. For example:

  config_keys: ...
  deprecation: '15.8', # Remove message Issue:
  removal: '16.0', # Removal issue:
  note: "..."

The follow-up issue should be set to the milestone in which the feature is expected to be removed.

Removing deprecation messages

When the messages are ready to be removed you should:

  1. Make sure the deprecated configuration was indeed removed in a previous milestone.
  2. Make sure the message removal is being released in a required stop milestone later than the one that removed the configuration.
  3. Open an MR to remove the deprecation messages and to close the follow-up issue.