Are there any plans to reducing code freeze periods in master? Maybe,
for preparing releases it would be better to fork a release branch
instead of locking the master?
Master is not locked for the release now. It's locked due to the amount of things done to open the next stream.
There are no plans as for pretty much everyone releng is a "side" job. As long as things are that way there could be no planning.
Alternatively, one comes with totally new releng procedures and prove that driving a release in the new way is working solution.
P.S. What I can and do (there is just so much time I can afford) for each release is try to automate/fix/etc. 2-3 lowest hanging things per each release and repeat on the next cycle.
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