[OpenWrt-Devel] SVN to GIT transition

Jonathan Bennett jbscience87 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 11 12:25:27 EDT 2015

On 11 Oct 2015, at 14:48, John Crispin <blogic at openwrt.org> wrote:

patches will linger in mailing list until someone has time to look at
them. the version control system used is completely irrelevant

Which is true enough if the switch just encompasses moving to another VCS.
However, what has not been made explicit enough is that switching to git
_and_ a git web interface like Github/Gitlab may make it easier to
contribute. My understanding is that it would be much easier to test
proposed changes as people can simply do a checkout on a pull request and
run the proposed code. Currently (unless I am missing something which is
unfortunately quite possible), one would have to manually insert the
patches to test.

Someone said earlier that switching to github for the packages made a
positive difference in contributions. I would like to see that supported by
some numbers, or possibly a contributor can elaborate a bit on the process
and whether they perceive any benefits. That way, the migration of the
packages might show a practical use case in the context of this project and
its workflows.

I can comment on this last question.  I maintain fwknop, and before the
move of the third party packages to github, I had major issues trying to
get my patches committed.  The thing that was most frustrating is that I
was the maintainer for the package, and my patches that only touched that
package were not committed.  It was bad enough that I actually gave up and
wasn't doing anything related to OpenWrt development for over a year.

When the packages feed moved to github, I decided to come back and try
pushing patches again.  The experience has been much better.  I've had 24
hour turnarounds for many pull requests.  I think there are several factors
that led to such an improvement.  One is the easy interface to see changes
and the ability for someone with commit access to accept them so
trivially.  Expanding who has commit access to that repository has helped
as well.

Another big problem we see quite often is mangled patches in emails.  If
trivial patches could be pull requests instead of emails, it would lower
the noise level of mangled patches, and help new committers get their
patches in with less frustration.

Realistically, I think it's obvious that at some point we will have to move
away from SVN, if only because so many other projects are also doing so.
Because of the mass exodus from SVN, it seems destined to become legacy and
eventually unmaintained.  The sooner we commit to transitioning to git, and
start that transition, the easier it will be in the long run.

This brings another question to mind.  If we move to github/gitlab, do we
want to do bug tracking there as well, and retire trac altogether?

--Jonathan Bennett
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