It has been 2 months since 1.18 was branched (April 16th). Since we want to return to a 3 month release cadence, next core branching will be just under one month from now, on July 16th. As @Marek_Hulan mentioned, as part of my new role I will be managing the 1.19 release in cooperation with @ekohl who will be the release engineer in charge of this release.
In the last several releases, there was a rush to get features into the release at the last moment, leading to unstable nightlies, delayed branching, and difficulty in getting the stable branch built, leading to longer release cycles (~5 months in average for the last 3 releases).
To avoid this situation for 1.19, I request that all people working on features they wish to include in 1.19 make sure that their code is ready to merge at least a week before branching. Please also avoid bumping dependencies if possible in the days prior to branching to make sure we have stable nightlies on the branching day. I would ask @packaging and @infra teams also coordinate with me in the week leading up to branching regarding any changes that may lead to instabilities in nightlies or pipelines.
In case there are significant changes which you believe should be merged during this period (or even post branching), please discuss them with me so that we can reach a joint agreement regarding them without jeopardizing the release stability or timelines.
To help reviewers to prioritize PRs/issue for inclusion 1.19, please mark PRs with the 1.19 milestone and redmine issues with the 1.19 release (if you do not have the necessary permissions to do so yourself, please reach out to me or any of the other @core contributors).
If there are any question or concerns regarding this, please reach out to me here or on IRC.