Usefulness of Subject-header of git commit mails

Milian Wolff mail at
Sun Jan 23 22:32:09 GMT 2011

Eike Hein, 23.01.2011:
> 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,
> etc.
> 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.

Sorry Eike, it was not my intention to belittle your (and your fellow's) 
awesome work on the filter internals. This is (as the subject and contents of 
this email thread should show) be only about the subject: part of the emails. 
The other stuff is good (as always), hence nothing I have to whine about :)

>  > 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 really hate that noone told me this before. I was not kidding when I said 
what you quoted above. Noone gave me *any* arguments in favor of the old 
format, except "it was like that in SVN times". Hence this whole thread 
(which, btw, I started since your colleagues told me so).

> 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.

Yes, apparently I do lack the imagination. And it does feel useless (to say it 
once more), for all projects I work on. With Boudewijn's email I finally 
understood that this might indeed be useful for some people in some repos.

> 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.

I was not aware of that, and even though I might be in that channel I don't 
read it most of the time. If someone told me this before I would not have 
started this thread at all. Hope you get around to implement this eventually, 

Milian Wolff
mail at
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