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From: Hollis Blanchard
Subject: ChangeLogs?
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 09:10:08 -0500

ChangeLog files are new to me, so could somebody help explain them? (Yes I've read the GNU Coding Standards.)

It seems to me that the ChangeLog is an anachronism born in a time before source control systems, and a poor substitute for the actual patch. The GCS does not explain the role of the ChangeLog file in the context of a system like CVS, and I find that to be a glaring omission. Why would you want a ChangeLog when CVS can tell you what *really* happened?

I guess my real problem is the level of detail in the ChangeLog: way too much, or way too little. If you want that much detail, read the patch. "New variable" doesn't give you enough detail anyways: What type is it? Where is it initialized? Where is it used? Or it gives you too much detail: maybe you just want to know that there's a firmware bug in certain systems that we work around by setting a flag so later code knows to avoid it.

There are also many ChangeLog features (such as say "macro" instead of "#define", and "variable" instead of "global") which are not described in the GCS, so I assume these are either project/maintainer-specific, or unwritten rules that all GNU members "just know". That makes it very difficult to follow them.


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