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Re: new procedure with GitLab CI

From: Jean Abou Samra
Subject: Re: new procedure with GitLab CI
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2020 22:39:14 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.8.0

Hi everybody here,Valentin Villenave wrote:

Hey Jonas, hey everybody;
just so you know, I’m getting increasingly frustrated -- as you may
guess if you take a glance at the thread on
-- with the GitLab process.
There *are* definite improvements over the previous arrangement
(although James may probably be in a better position than us to
appreciate this).  But here are my three pet peeves at the moment:

-- Issues & Labels.  Not that I’m particularly keen to revisit that
matter here; I’ve learned my lesson and stopped trying to intervene
and triage any Issues; it remains to be seen whether
     a) Milestones are a good fit to replace Fixed_2_xx_xx labels;
     b) we’re scrapping the process of a) marking as Status::Fixed, b)
waiting for the next GUB unstable release, then c) going through them
one by one (ideally by somebody else) and d) marking them as
Status::Verified.  I’m very much against ditching that; Jonas,
however, thinks that (IIUC -- please correct me if I’m wrong) as soon
as an issue is considered “Closed” within GitLab, its status is no
longer relevant.

-- The need to let the pipeline run every time an MR branch is
touched: rebasing (no matter how many commits behind one may be),
addressing a reviewer’s suggestion (no matter how minor), on penalty
of getting stuck in Patch::needs_work land and getting a distinct
chance of falling through the cracks.  I *am* very much in favor of
every patch/MR getting through the pipeline when it first gets posted
and at least once or twice before it gets merged; I just think that
during the reviewing process the pipeline *could* be put on hold for
minor changes while we’re getting stuff in shape.  (And *no*,
needs_work is not appropriate in that sort of situation.)

-- The merge window (every three days) is getting ridiculous.  Now
we’re all asked to check, re-check, double re-check, triple re-check
the pipeline list to hopefully get our branch rebased and merged at
some point; if we’re unfortunate enough to stumble onto another
merging process already engaged, there is nothing else to do but come
back an hour later, quite possibly only to discover that someone else
got in first.  I’m not blaming anyone for that, but surely there must
be a way of smoothing out that process, for example some sort of a
waiting list.  Maybe something as dumb as sending an email on -devel
or writing down our MR’s number on an Etherpad somewhere.

Han-Wen Nienhuys wrote:

I concur that this is problematic. Today, I spent several hours
shepherding my multiple MRs through the process, which was
additionally complicated by David and Valentin doing the same.

David Kastrup wrote:

So I lean towards the following process modeled upon our old one:

No push to master except by automation.  Staging is unprotected and gets
scheduled runners.  People ultimately rebase and push there once they
get Patch-push status.  Default branch can be master as long as we make
sure that one cannot push there: that way you never rebase on ephemeral

When James gives Patch-push status (which he hopefully does supported by
a script), at the same time any merge request pointed at master gets
changed to point at staging.  So if you are "Patch-push", the "Push"
button starts working.

That means as long as staging isn't stuck (and we should make sure that
the scheduled pipelines do not pick up the same commit more than once to
avoid wasting our minutes), you can rebase on master when you want (or
not).  One initial pipeline run should be require to get into "Review"
state.  Rebasing puts you back to "Patch-new" (which for trivial stuff
you may choose to hand-replace with "Patch-review" at the danger of
later getting staging borked).

It would be nice that if staging has tested as being borked, we could
temporarily disable pushes to staging: that will keep the patches and
merge requests requiring redoing limited.  We got out along without that
previously but if the automation is good for that, that would be great.

At any rate, this scheme naively does not seem to require stuff
impossible to do with Gitlab, at least for the basic parts of operation.
And it would mean that you can usually rebase and forget without waiting
for pipeline completions.  And you get the liberty of bypassing most CI
and rebases if you don't want to.

I may be wrong about the possibility to do this with a reasonable amount
of effort: I don't want to get hopes up unnecessarily.

That sounds reasonable, but alas, rather complicated. What about the
other option, that is, switching to a non-linear history, with merge

My fear is that we get back to a complex and non-standard development
process. The simple fact of having two branches to look at is already
a source of confusion for the unexperimented (for instance, merge requests
will target master at the time you create them, but that will change for
staging automatically). From the information I could gather, one of the
main incentives for moving to GitLab was making it easier to contribute
by standardizing the workflow. GitLab does everything we want, the only
blocker is the fast-forward merge strategy, if I understand well (please
correct me in case I don't). I would happily live with merge commits if
that facilitates development for everyone.

Plus, a non-linear history would skip all the rebases, which are creating
unnecessary noise within the merge requests. And it would be a lot less
work to set up, given that Jonas expressed to be fed-up.

David Kastrup wrote:
I don't think it would be a good idea to start a pipeline on somebody
else's merge request without having an indication that they were going
to follow through with "Patch_push": Patch_push indicates no objections
from foreign review, but the responsibility for starting the final
pipeline/merge should really lie with the original submitter.
What about new contributors who don't have the required permissions to
push? (By the way, thank you Jonas and Valentin about that, sorry that
I didn't have time to reply but I appreciate your trust).

Valentin Villenave wrote:

And, yes, I am grateful towards Jonas for everything he’s done and the
increased activity we’re seeing because of his work.  I’ve already
tried to talk things through off-list; now I think we need to talk
things through with others in the team.  Jonas, you may not know me
well enough to know how emotional I tend to get, and how easily I tend
to just give up and drop off the map (the difficult times I’m going
through IRL, as some of you guys may be, certainly don’t help); so
please, please don’t take this message as an attack, because it
certainly isn’t intended as one.  (If anything, this is me trying to
de-escalate a potentially tense situation; the words I’m using may not
be the most appropriate ones in that regard, but they’re the only ones
I have at hand so I apologize for that.)

-- V.

You're not alone, Valentin. From what I could read so far, LilyPond
contributors very often get emotional quickly. That is unusual enough
to be noticed. I believe this is because we are all musicians, and thus
tend to be particularly sensitive.

Of course, this exacerbates tensions when there are some. But it also
entails a friendly community where people demonstrate enthusiasm.

(One example 

And, I very much understand the difficulties you're facing in real life,
the nerve-wracking French lockdown, the thorny situation artists
face, etc. So if LilyPond is an additional cause of frustration for you,
maybe it could do you good to set it aside for a while and focus
on your current problems. At least, that's what I did.

Jean Abou Samra

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