Changes to our Git infrastructure

argonel argonel at
Mon Dec 29 18:38:06 GMT 2014

On Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM, Jeff Mitchell <mitchell at> wrote:

> On 29 Dec 2014, at 11:36, Jan Kundrát wrote:
>> As I see it, scratch repos are the first stage in a project's life cycle.
>>> Before playground, you might fiddle with something, drop it in a scratch
>>> repo and share the link on IRC. Deleting it is painless when you discover
>>> that your idea is terrible, or already exists elsewhere.
>> I agree with scratch repos being useful as a first step.
> Except nobody deletes it. That's a large problem. Scratch is nice in
> concept but it's a sysadmin nightmare.
I thought they expired automatically, perhaps others are under that
impression as well?

> Out of the 846 repos I currently count in scratch/, nearly all of them
> haven't seen a commit in years. Meanwhile that's an extra 846 repos that
> have to be hosted, distributed to anongits, and backed up. That's not just
> a lot; that's the largest piece of our Git hosting. There are more scratch
> repos than normal repos. If clone repos were excluded, scratch repos would
> actually be a majority of all repos -- and again, most of them haven't been
> touched in years. People complain about propagation delay of repos to
> anongits -- syncing all these totally outdated repos is a major reason.
> I understand the reason people like them -- as a place to test out early
> concepts before making them official projects -- but I think that a
> combination of social changes and technical changes can address losing them.
> One social change would be divesting ourselves of the idea that getting a
> Git repo from sysadmins is onerous. You can start a git repo locally and
> push it up later; the extra few hours or even a day it might take to get a
> hosted version should really not be the reason that your project simply
> cannot see the light of day.
> Another social change, in combination with a technical change, would be to
> get interested people who would like to see this kind of thing happen
> faster and have them take on specific sysadmin tasks -- for instance,
> creating repos on request as soon as possible, spreading the workload out
> so that any given request is likely to be handled faster (your standard
> task queue). The reason it's semi-onerous now (but we should stop thinking
> that it is, see above) is due to lack of manpower. But volunteers can be
> given rights to handle specific ticket types without having to become full
> sysadmins. Like anything else, if people think it takes too long, get
> involved.
Sign me up, I'll do this. I'd also be willing to chase down the owners of
old scratch repos and personal clones, similar to Albert's maintenance of
stale open reviews. My availability isn't perfect, but I am in UTC-5:00
which might come in handy.

> Clones (336 of them) are also nice in concept but with better code review
> and/or auditing capabilities (especially pre-commit capabilities), I think
> they will become less important, and remarks on this thread seem to back
> that idea up. On GitHub they're mostly used to prepare branches for merge
> requests because random user X can't commit to a branch in repo Y, but
> KDE's open-to-all-by-default policy, and generally decent project
> communication (IRC, mailing lists, and other means), makes that less
> necessary. Approved developers discussing improvements with developers are
> more likely to get approved to have a branch in the main repo; tiny fixes
> can be approved via a pre-commit audit. IOW, I think losing clones can be
> dealt with by some reasonable workflow rejiggering and social engineering.
> Remember, we don't have the resources of GitHub or Bitbucket. No solution
> will be 100%. We're trying to decide what solution will, on balance, be
> closest to that 100%. But this also needs to factor in actual sysadmin time
> constraints/availability.
> Sorry to be the sad-sack voice in this conversation. Ben and I have been
> having many conversations about alternate hosting mechanisms over the past
> few days, weeks, months, and (yes, really) years, and he's definitely Good
> Cop and I'm definitely Bad Cop when it comes to meeting every single desire
> of every single community member. We'd both love to do it (again, really),
> but I'm trying to be pragmatic, not the least because my availability is
> very hit and miss now and so even more burden falls on Ben. I don't want
> the minimal sysadmin staff we have getting crushed by the weight of
> requirements. Again -- I'd like to see us get as close to 100% as possible,
> and I think that some features that a few people find very useful -- but
> that can fairly effectively be addressed through other means -- and that
> cause amazing amounts of sysadmin and system burden should be up on the
> chopping block unless there are truly compelling arguments against.
> --Jeff
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