The Solana protocol frequently activates hard forks shipping new features, such as syscalls, builtin programs, or fee changes. Each feature is tracked in an account of the feature program.

Who is authorized to ultimately activate these features? Does an employee at Solana Labs push a comically large enter button? Or is it determined by stake?

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"Does an employee at Solana Labs push a comically large enter button?" Yes, that is how it works right now.

While activation is a big large enter button, it is up to validators to include or not that feature in the solana-validator binary for later activation. So the feature is made, then released in the source code behind a feature flag, finally it goes live at a chosen time through the feature activation.

The enter button click schedule can be found here https://github.com/solana-labs/solana/wiki/Feature-Activation-Schedule


Each validator chooses which features they want to activate. This is usually coordinated with others on the #mb-validators discord. Features that could result in delinquency or slashing when the majority activates are publicly coordinated epochs in advance.

More details can be found in the feature proposal lifecycle docs: https://spl.solana.com/feature-proposal#feature-proposal-life-cycle

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