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Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Is it time to drop ChangeLogs?
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2016 17:56:01 -0400

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  > Currently, I think ChangeLogs are a barrier to contribution.

We no longer directly maintain ChangeLog files.  Are you talking about
writing the commit log entries?

                                                                 The vast
  > majority of other software projects don't use them.

Are you saying that most projects do not keep track of which functions
are changed in each commit?

How can maintainers figure out how to solve problems without detailed
log records to show them which previous changes they need to study?

That "vast majority" -- how long have those projects been going?  GNU
Emacs was first released over 30 years ago.

  > So I would suggest moving to a pull request system, where code review
  > from a second contributor is required to merge any non-trivial code
  > (exceptions should be granted based on years contributing to Emacs).
  > That also gives *everyone* the opportunity to comment on the code before
  > it's merged, instead of post-facto. Clearly services such as Github and
  > BitBucket and many others have been offering this functionality for a
  > while with good results.

I don't know exactly how this works, but it seems like a good idea.

  > A big advantage of pull requests is that they can group commits, so each
  > commit doesn't need the level of detail it does today, and so the
  > evolution of the work is visible to a reviewer.

I don't see how the one relates to the other.  Better review of the
changes before they installed will not eliminate the need for support
_finding_ pertinent changes for a problem found 5 or 10 years from

  > The pull
  > request system can later provide *everything* that a ChangeLog could,

I am skeptical of this claim.  How precisely will the pull request system
provide what we now get from the detailed lists of objects changed
in the log entries?

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (gnu.org, fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See stallman.org/skype.html.

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