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Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?
Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2016 22:21:51 +0200

> From: Karl Fogel <address@hidden>
> Cc: address@hidden,  address@hidden,  address@hidden
> Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2016 13:36:07 -0600
> > Writing ChangeLog entries is just one small part of that.  It's no
> > accident that people who don't want ChangeLog files more often than
> > not don't want to write detailed commit log messages, either, and many
> > times don't know how to write good documentation.  Do we want to
> > dispense with these as well?  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.  We already are firmly on that path.
> How does dropping ChangeLog files cause us to not be able to ask for 
> ChangeLog-style entries?

I don't even need to explain that: there are already people in this
discussion who said they'd like to use a less formal format.  (You
already asked who those people were, and Dmitry already pointed out
who they were.)  To me, the connection is very clear.  If you don't
see it, just trust the facts -- it is already happening.

> You wrote of the importance of "ChangeLog files" to forensics, but having 
> that information in git commit messages is exactly equivalent (I use it for 
> forensics all the time, in lots of projects).

Once again, you take a part of the argument and try to analyze it

The point was that if we start on the slippery slope of saying the
mistakes in the log messages are unimportant, we will eventually lose
both the information in the Git log records and the ability to produce
ChangeLog files.

IOW, it's fortress -- if you dismantle one of its bastions, the others
will soon fall as well.  The only way to avoid that is to hold all of

> Do you see now why it at least looks like you're conflating these two 
> different things?

No.  There are different aspects to this issue, and I described them
one after the other.  Sometimes they are only loosely related,
sometimes they are more tightly coupled.  This is the best way I could
express my thoughts.  Since English is not the first language for
either of us, let's just agree that I failed to write in a style that
would allow you to better understand.

Once again, if there's a way to have the information in Git such that
a correct log could be generated from it, it would be fine with me,
and keeping the ChangeLog files in the repository won't be necessary,
as far as I'm concerned.  But so far, keeping the files looks like the
cheapest way of satisfying all the requirements.  I understand the
psychological effect of "going the old ways", but this is a practical
matter for me, not a religious one, and I'm looking for a practical
solution that would allow us to continue keeping an accurate accord of
the development history with as little overhead as possible.  If the
best alternative is those "old ways", I have no problem with that.

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