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Re: [RFE] Migration to gitlab

From: Konstantin Kharlamov
Subject: Re: [RFE] Migration to gitlab
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2019 14:16:36 +0300

В Вс, мар 17, 2019 at 11:20 ДП (AM), Tim Cross <address@hidden> написал:

Just for clarification, is your suggestion that savannah.gnu.org be changed to use GitLab instead of the current web interface or that GNU Emacs is moved from savannah to a new home based on GitLab?

That GNU Emacs moved to a gitlab.

savannah.gnu.org looks like a news site, I doubt gitlab would be a good fit there.

One thing I think you have possibly overlooked or glossed over is the copyright requirements for contributions to GNU Emacs. I suspect this is one of the reasons Emacs is not developed in a similar fashion to other projects which are based on the use of pull requests etc.

I've just read a bit about that. I might be missing some nuances of the process, but right now I don't see how using merge requests vs emails could interfere.

GitLab is a good package. We use it to manage our projects and find it very good. The CI and DevOps support is very useful for the types of projects we do. For GNU Emacs, the CI stuff could be useful as a way to automate running of test suites etc, but I can't see any benefit from the DevOps perspective. The issue tracker is OK, but not sure it would meet the demands associated with GNU Emacs. There are already existing Emacs wiki sites, so adding another wiki is possibly of little benefit. Many of the other GitLab features are likewise of marginal benefit given the specific nature of this project.

There still are points besides the CI that I had in the initial email. TL;DR of that is: the threshold for first contributions is very high. I have been contributing to email-based projects for a while, and even I still feel a little uncomfortable compared to merge/pull requests workflow.

If an arbitrary newcomer out there would consider "Hmm, I have used Emacs and Visual Studio Code, where do I want to contribute"; they easily gonna stop half-way through figuring out how to send a patch, and not gonna contribute to Emacs.

I also think out there in ".emacs" configs a lot of workarounds for something that could've been changed inside Emacs instead. Because of the threshold.

It would be a big job to migrate savannah.gnu.org to GitLab and you have the issue that despite the licensing, it isn't a GNU project, where I suspect all the interface etc on savannah is. I guess it would be for those who maintain that system to evaluate and make the call. I'm not convinced the effort would provide the benefits suggested. Reality is, those keen enough to complete the copyright assignment documents and commit to Emacs development are unlikely to use any web interface - instead just using git on the command line. The GitLab model works well where you have contributors with more 'casual' connection to the project.

As I noted in initial mail, gitlab can be configured to create merge requests from a command line. Also just "sign the copyright assignment" vs "sign the copyright assignment, then struggle with the workflow (I'm referring to the rest of the points)" are setting very different thresholds for contribution.

And, is having "casual contributors" bad? How many new "commited" developers have you got in last few years?

Commitment to a project is not something that happens overnight. You first have a casual contributor, who sends occasional fixes and patches because he likes the project, and wants to share it with others. After a lot of time and discussions as he gets more acknowledged with internals and peoples around he might start considering "What if I help maintaining the project?".

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