Usefulness of Subject-header of git commit mails

Eike Hein hein at
Sun Jan 23 22:17:54 GMT 2011

On 1/23/2011 9:30 PM, Milian Wolff wrote:
> What was broken?

Nothing as far as Commitfilter is concerned. Commitfilter actually
acts on the X-Commit-Directories headers, not the mail subject.
This header was actually somewhat broken in the old mails, it has
been fixed now as part of the hooks rewrite that also brought with
it the mail subject format change.

In total the rewrite fixed numerous bugs, many of which were in the
emails (the old implementation wasn't written by the sysadmin team):
There were problems with keyword parsing, CCMAIL recipients were not
all CC'd to the kde-commits mail but rather individual, new mails
were sent, headers with non-Unicode characters in them weren't en-
coded properly, authors didn't get CC'd if the hook found something
unsafe in the diff, license detection for new files was suboptimal,

The rewrite also improved performance by orders of magnitude,
especially in the auditing steps, and added new features. For
example the mails now mention who pushed a commit.

Yet all we hear about is rather aggressive whining about the mail
subjects ... yep, being a sysadmin is tons of fun.

 > The sysadmins only told me that they reverted to the old
> format, because it was the standard for years. They did not give me any
> arguments in favor of the useless old format, just that they did not want to
> change anything. I.e.: they didn't have time back when we all moved to
> git/gitorious back then, now they have the time and want to make it "less
> painful" for the people yet to migrate.

The change was made on request by several developers who told
us they used to rely on being able to tell at a glance which
(common root) folder a commit was made too, which is useful
in deeply nested repositories or repositories containing more
than one application, such as kdepim.git or calligra.git as
well as upcoming KDE SC module repositories.

I don't know whether you actually lacked the imagination to
consider this need or chose to purposely ignore this possibi-
lity in order to be able to focus better on saying "useless"
as many times as you felt necessary to get your pet format
reinstated, but man, your style sure feels like the latter.

FWIW, we already talked about this in the sysadmin the other
day (you're in the channel, you can check your backlog for dis-
cussion of possible formats around two-three days ago) already
and agreed that we want to try a hybrid format that includes
both the common root path and the commit subject. We just need
to get around to doing it properly (which the old implementa-
tion didn't do: it didn't encode nor wrap correctly). The last
few days we had some higher-priority tasks to juggle; there's
only so many hours in the day.

Patches welcome, btw.

Best regards,
Eike Hein

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