Commit messages

Gedare Bloom gedare at
Tue Jan 31 17:59:15 UTC 2012

On Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 4:51 AM, Thomas Doerfler
<Thomas.Doerfler at> wrote:
> Sebastian,
> IMHO the question is not whether a given VCS maintains a ChangeLog
> internally, the question is more whether the project needs a separate
> document containing information about the changes.
> My personal opinion is, that a separate, collected ChangLog is quite
> useful, even for those users who are not directly working with GIT (e.g.
> because they just grab the latest tarball).
Agree, and other reasons such as grepping the source tree. I see some
advantages to having ChangeLog files separate from git's knowledge,
and I don't really see any disadvantages (perhaps a small amount of
lost time, but I think that will be negligible once we have proper
tools and procedures).

IMO ChangeLog entries (in whatever format) should be automatically
generated for each git commit from the message (which should include
the PR #), author info, commit (push) date, and the set of files that
are modified, added, or removed. Maintaining the ChangeLog
automatically and incrementally as a text file will make it easy to
fix erroneous entries manually, though ideally those are rare.

Are there good arguments against automatically generated entries? Ralf
identified the following:
* how you want to _replace_ bogus changelog entries,
 -- Do it manually. Easy if ChangeLogs are generated incrementally.
Educate developers so they don't push commits that cause bogus
entries. Use a back-end tool (see below) to avoid human error.
* how you want to cope handle rtems CVS history.
 -- Unnecessary if ChangeLog is maintained automatically and
incrementally from git commit metadata.
* how you want to handle changelogs of commits the git-commiter
received from somebody else.
 -- Use the --author flag of git. git commit --author="Some User
<someuser at domain>"

In order to make this work I think we should integrate ChangeLog entry
generation together with BuildBot or some similar back-end script that
parses a git push to append ChangeLog entries into the repository


> The exact format of the ChangeLog is a different question. As long as
> GIT is used as the VCS, I tend to let the ChangeLog (at least the
> entries of the post-CVS era) be generated automatically. I expect to
> avoid problems with the entry format and make sure that the VCS content
> and the Changelog content stay in sync.
> wkr,
> Thomas.
> Am 26.01.2012 08:54, schrieb Sebastian Huber:
>> On 01/24/2012 04:24 PM, Ralf Corsepius wrote:
>> [...]
>>> It's quite simple: Automated changelogs are nice in small projects (where
>>> actually nobody cares about them) but do not meet many larger projects's
>>> demands and are a true PITA to use.
>> [...]
>> Since the world is great, there are examples for nearly everything.  The
>> Linux and FreeBSD kernel uses no ChangeLog files at all.  What they
>> provide are release notes and these are by far more interesting for end
>> users than a collection of per file changes.
>> Using ChangeLog files and Git is absurd.
> --
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