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Re: [RFE] Migration to gitlab

From: Konstantin Kharlamov
Subject: Re: [RFE] Migration to gitlab
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2019 06:34:06 +0300

Oops. Please, reply to this mail, I haven't thought that mails to bugs-gnu gonna create new reports. Fixed here.

В Вс, мар 17, 2019 at 6:01 ДП (AM), Konstantin Kharlamov <address@hidden> написал:

В Вс, мар 17, 2019 at 5:17 ДП (AM), Konstantin Kharlamov <address@hidden> написал:
I want to start by answering first likely question: the Community Edition of gitlab should be fine license-wise, quoting Richard Stallman "We have a simple way of looking at these two versions. The free version is free software, so it is ethical."¹

Terms: "merge request" in gitlab means "patch series sent for review".


It makes me sad, seeing Emacs addons popping up, for a functional that better could've been implemented in core. It's a lot of contributors out there; at the same time, I see very little patches on emacs-devel list.

A lot of open-source projects already migrated to gitlab: all FreeDesktop projects, all Gnome projects; and KDE are likely to migrate soon too². Gnome reports: "After switching to GitLab, I noticed almost immediately an increase in contributions from people I hadn’t met before. I think GitLab really lowered the threshold for people getting started"³.

So, at the very least, migrating to gitlab should make contributions easier for bigger part of the open-source world, peoples who used to github and gitlab. (btw, here's a rarely mentioned point, why in particular mailing-list workflow is hard for newcomers: almost every mail client out there breaks formatting by default; and configuring that out isn't always easy).

Other points include:
1. I know some people like to operate with mails rather than web-interface (which is what usual gitlab workflow based on). For them gitlab can be configured to be managed with mails. I don't know how far it stretches, but at the very least creating/replying to issues/merge requests can be enabled.⁴ 2. Gitlab makes addressing review comments easier. With mailing lists workflow you either need to α) send a v2 of the patch; which is a little frustrating: you need to find message-id to feed it to git-send-email, and then you need to make sure its title lines up with the rest of the series. Or β) resend whole patch-series; which can be just redundant when all you did was a one-line change, and clutters the mailing list. Also, upon sending v3, v4, etc. you need to save somewhere changes since v1. You can put it in actual commits, but for git-history this information is unnecessary. With gitlab workflow, on the other hand, you just force-push changes to the branch that has merge-request opened. A single command, that it. 3. CI. I've recently seen someone on emacs-devel⁵ asking a contributor to run their syntax-checking script on a regular basis. That's becase you can't run any check on a code hanging out there on a mailing list in pure air. Gitlab supports CI, i.e. one can set it up to run unit-tests for every merge-request created, so these errors get caught before getting to the tree; and possibly even before getting to eyes of reveiwers. 4. Impossible to lose "merge request". I've seen in Emacs docs an advice to send patch series to a bugtracker, because on emacs-devel they can easily be forgotten. That can't happen so easily with gitlab, where you have a tab with open merge requests. 5. Discussion on patch series is easier to read. On mailing lists can quickly appear a dozen of no longer relevant review mails, that refer to something that was addressed. In Gitlab the addressed comments can be marked as such, and get collapsed. 6. More tightly integrated bugtracker. When a commit refers to an issue, it can be seen from inside the issue. This is useful e.g. when someone fixed a problem, but for some reason couldn't address review comments, leaving the code behind. Then later peoples who stumble upon the same issue can just improve the code instead of doing research and writing it on their own. 7. Unclear how to download a patch-series from mailing list. Usually mailing-list driven projects add some system that tracks patches, and allows to download series. E.g. that's how Mesa worked. But Emacs don't seem to have one. With gitlab though you can simply fetch someone's branch.

1: https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/libreplanet-discuss/2015-03/msg00095.html 2: http://kde.6490.n7.nabble.com/Gitlab-Evaluation-amp-Migration-td1708416.html
3: https://www.gnome.org/news/2018/05/gnome-moves-to-gitlab-2/
4: https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/administration/incoming_email.html
5: http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2019-03/msg00131.html

Btw, one more point I just got: no more discrepancy between what mailing list subscribers see, and what web-interface renders. E.g. the nicely formatted list of points above from the outside worls looks like a large single line: http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2019-03/msg00531.html

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