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Re: GNU-style ChangeLog merge driver for Git

From: Micah Cowan
Subject: Re: GNU-style ChangeLog merge driver for Git
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 16:36:04 -0800
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20071022)

Hash: SHA1

Bruno Haible wrote:
> Jim Meyering wrote yesterday:
>> With the proliferation of "topic branches" in my work-flow, it is not
>> effective for me to version-control ChangeLog files (too many pointless
>> conflicts).  So, for projects that I control, I am transitioning away
>> from that.  ...
>> Instead, now, I compose ChangeLog entries solely in git log messages and
>> use the following script to generate a ChangeLog file at "make dist" time.
> So, people who now download your development version get the sources
> without any ChangeLog! If they are looking for the likely reason for the
> breakage on platform XY or of unit test foo/bar, they cannot look at and
> search through the version history, except if they have special tools
> (like "gitk") _and_ are familiar with them. You are throwing a proven
> and helpful GNU practice overboard. This is very bad.

Huh. Well, considering that the GNU Coding Guidelines specifically
recommend this technique as an alternative to maintaining an actual
file, I believe you may be exaggerating a bit.

Are you claiming that people who are capable of fetching the sources
with "git clone" will be incapable of "git log"? Why do you believe that
"gitk" is necessary? Even if it's so, it is common practice (and I
believe both coreutils and gnulib bear this out quite well) to expect
more of people fetching the development sources (at the very least,
possession of recent, or sometimes even ultra-recent, autoconf,
automake, etc).

In my (admittedly narrow) experience, ever since the advent and
widespread use of version control services, the practical usefulness of
ChangeLog files have been next to nil compared with the facilities the
versioning system itself. I never consult the ChangeLogs when I have
access to the repository, with the notable exception of entries that
predate the use of an SCM.

Even aside from merge problems (for which, thanks for the script, BTW: I
may adapt something similar for Wget's Mercurial repos), maintaining
ChangeLogs is redundant work, when you're already entering the very same
information into the version control system. Wget will probably continue
 to use checked-in ChangeLog files for some time, partly because we have
several different ChangeLog files for various directories, which
complicates things more than I want to bother with at this point in
time; but we certainly may consider abandoning them in favor of
generated entries, in the future, and I certainly don't see reason to
fault others for choosing that way.

- --
Micah J. Cowan
Programmer, musician, typesetting enthusiast, gamer...
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org


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