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Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2016 10:09:01 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.6.0

On 03/09/2016 07:53 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
Writing a log entry in ChangeLog format is an excellent opportunity for reflecting on the changeset

Yes, the ChangeLog format is useful. I use it myself for commits I make to GNU projects (as well as some non-GNU projects, e.g., https://github.com/eggert/tz). Perhaps the format could be improved, but that should be a different thread.

So removing ChangeLog files will be a bad blow to our ability to easily and conveniently research the past,

No, this doesn't follow. If we use ChangeLog formats in commit messages, we can still research the past easily and conveniently.

If we drop the ChangeLog files, there's no way we can explain why we ask for commit log messages in ChangeLog format, so the next logical step is to drop that as well, and we will then lose valuable information.

It's not a logical step at all, and we already have an explanation of why we ask for ChangeLog format in CONTRIBUTE. Perhaps the explanation can be improved, but that's true no matter what approach we take (assuming we continue to prefer ChangeLog format).

Other prominent GNU projects that maintain ChangeLog files in the repository include GCC, Binutils, GDB, glibc, and Texinfo. XEmacs also has it. Why should Emacs be the first one to plunge into this adventure?

Emacs is not the first at all. All the projects I've mentioned (Guile, coreutils, tar, etc.) used to maintain ChangeLog files in the repository. They've all moved away from that approach, in large part because of the hassle and confusion it entails.

There are 3 possibilities:

   . Keep the current system, where ChangeLog is produced from Git log
     and mistakes made in Git log should be corrected manually after
     producing ChangeLog

   . Give up on having ChangeLog files, either produced from Git log or
     maintained in the repository -- meaning a tarball will not include
     any ChangeLog at all

   . Go back to previous practice where we maintained ChangeLog files
     in the repository, and Git log messages were just copies of the
     ChangeLog entries

There is a 4th possibility: switch to what coreutils etc. do.

This would mean we don't care at all about what's in the ChangeLog.

No, we can still make corrections with the 4th possibility. And even if we couldn't make corrections, it wouldn't mean we don't care about what's in the ChangeLog.

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