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Re: Gitlab Migration

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: Gitlab Migration
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2021 09:52:55 +1000
User-agent: mu4e 1.6.4; emacs 27.2.50

Philip Kaludercic <philipk@posteo.net> writes:

> Hi,
> Daniel Fleischer <danflscr@gmail.com> writes:
>> One issue which I think is important is the move to a new VC system,
>> e.g. Gitlab. I started reading the relevant threads and I'm not sure
>> where the issue stands today. Let me recap the benefits:
>> 1 The need for new people to join the community and help. Newer
>>  (younger) people will be more familiar with the newer VC platforms
>>  (github/lab and similar). These are not only developers but regular
>>  users who want to report an issue (bug) or suggest a feature.
> Shouldn't it be easier to send an email than create an account, navigate
> some web UI and fill in some form? The same goes for
> patches. Git{Lab,Hub} usually requires leaving the development context,
> to prepare a patch online, that requires "forking", more navigation and
> more fora. Just today I tried preparing a "pull request" on GitLab and
> didn't manage to do so, because it insisted on merging the commit into
> my own repository, no matter what I did. Just attaching a git patch
> seems much easier.

I certainly agree email is easy. However, I'm old. When I talk to young
people i.e. in their 20s, they simply don't use email. Yes, they have an
email address, but that is only because of places that insist on one.
They communicate/share information via slack, discord, reddit, instagram
etc. Email is what they use when forced to interact with 'old'
institutions (Government, Uni, Grandparents etc).

>>  Lowering the bar for participation is the key to growing Emacs and
>>  the community.
> I think that showing people that they biases against mailing list
> development might be illegitimate would be a viable alternative.

I'm not sure how we achieve that. For many, email just isn't a comms
channel they are interested in. Your unlikely to convince anyone of the
benefits when your referring to a technology which simply doens't factor
into their world.

The answer is more likely a solution which allows multiple workflow
styles with no loss of functionality.

>> 2 Having the code + issues + discussions in the same place as opposed
>>  to now, where the code and discussions (lists) are in 3 different
>>  places (Savannah, Gnu mailing lists and Gnu bug tracker). With a
>>  modern VC system, one can jump easily between issues, discussions,
>>  code commits back and forth easily as opposed to now, where if it's a
>>  bug you can use its number to search lists and commits messages but
>>  if it's a discussion, it's not "connected" to anything.
> Correct me if I am wrong, but all the discussions are at least mirrored
> on the mailing lists. Savannah is just for project management and the
> GNU bug tracker uses the mailing list too. It is more uniform too, as
> everything is just a mail-message, not part of a forcefully linearized
> thread. Commenting on a issue, "pull request" or a patch is always just
> responding to a message.
> That being said, I wouldn't mind prettier web interface for the mailing
> list (I think that the Guix project is doing well on that front).

I suspect one of the things which made github so popular was that there
is little where you are forced to use only the web interface.
Admittedly, there are some things which take a little more effort or
setup to enable non-web UI access, but it is doable. From memory, Gitlab
was similar, but not quite and there are some functions which are either
restricted to web UI or need to be initiated via the web UI.

The solution is likely something which allows equal access via web UI,
email and command line. For example, an email gateway which creates
'pseudo' PRs, a 'shell' which allows full CLI interaction etc. 

>> Possible issue:
>> 1 Being able to use Emacs for all these needs. One way is being able to
>>  interact with the VC system using emails, i.e. issues, features,
>>  discussions should have a nice and efficient email interface in
>>  addition to using a website. Another approach is using the wonderful
>>  Magit and Forge packages. Forge currently is lacking the discussions
>>  feature but has a very good git + pull-requests + org-mode
>>  integration abilities.
> I remember Sourceforge being suggested as an alternative to Gitlab, but
> the software is currently still in a beta stage (AFAIR).

There was also another repository which had a libre/free focus at all
levels/interfaces, but it too was more 'alpha' than 'beta' wrt
development status. 

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