[llvm-dev] [RFC] Helping release management

Renato Golin via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue May 17 05:02:54 PDT 2016

On 17 May 2016 at 02:07, Quentin Colombet via llvm-dev
<llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> Basically, the high-level status is:
> 1. Commits should state when they are fixes.
> 2. Bugs should be tracked in a PR.


> None of these is a hard requirement but instead, best practices that we
> should remind to the contributors.
> For #1, I propose the attached patch for the commit message policy.

Your proposal goes against another policy, which is to leave the
discussion to the bugzilla, since it's either already there, or should
be there.

Also, links can rot, PR numbers cannot. (hey, it rhymes!)

> For A, the idea is to have an automatic way to update the PRs (like resolved
> and fixed with a revision number) when some keywords are set (like fixes
> PR#). The idea with Diffusion is to have a field that marks the commit has
> been a fix and that we could manually set if we forgot to set the keyword at
> commit time.

A commit that "Fixes PR123" does not necessarily close it. There may
be multiple commits, or we may wait until the buildbots are happy to
close it (I certainly do).

I think that the update here is simpler than that: Whenever a commit
refers a PR, update the bug saying "commit rNNNN was marked as a fix
to this bug".

People CC on the bug can then verify and act appropriately.

> For B, assuming the PR or Diffusion becomes the way to keep trace of every
> fixes, it is a matter of making easy to document that we are fixing a bug
> even if a PR does not exist. Maybe it is possible to have some commit hooks
> that given a keyword (e.g., fixes PR#New) file a PR with the commit message
> and marks the PR as fixed (also patch the actual commit message to put the
> PR number).

If you add some hyper-text markings to make it explicit, then creating
a bug will be unequivocal. But if you try to guess by the description,
then we'll end up with a flood of bugs (been there, done that).

Right now, "fixes PR" is our hyper-text marking, but it's only
injective, you want something bijective. I can't think of anything
that would have the same semantics whether you have a PR number or

I actually see this as an attempt to overcome the problem that people
don't create enough PRs, by forcing them to write more on the commit
message. For me, this is trying to solve the wrong problem.

I'm also strongly against any more regulation of the commit message,
as this can create a culture of backlash when people don't, which can
lead to a sour community.

With my autistic hat on, I'd *love* a very strong set of rules and
regulations. But when I wear my community hat, I realise that I'm
probably the only one that would like my own rules, as are we all.

> Now, regarding how this information could be used by release managers to
> track what has been pulled in their release, I believe we would need to
> build additional tools on top of that information, but having this
> information is the priority IMHO.

This is the problem we were trying to solve in the first place, and I
think we changed the priorities with the illusion that it would get us
closer to the real problem. I don't think it will.

By writing a script that will *only* track PRs and the commits that
refers to them, we can easily *drive* people to use the proper path
with a carrot, not a stick.

If you file a bug (as per current community practices), and link your
commits to it with a "fixes PR" message (as per current commit
policy), we'll track your commit and make it a candidate for

If you don't, you'll be summarily ignored. Have a nice day. After all,
we can't baby sit everyone that doesn't want to follow the rules that
already exist.

We could then use Bugzilla to mark to which release we'd like
back-ported. We can use the "Version" field, or "Keywords". All of
that easily automated.

We can also only grab the list of bugs that have been closed as
"Delivered", check the list of patches against it, add to the list,
send to the release manager with the names of all the people that
"fixed" that bug, and ask them for more information on possible fix
ups and reverts.

With time, people will get on track, and less effort will be needed by
release managers, because people will begin to add "PR" tags on
reverts, fixups, etc. and all will fall into place without effort.

My tuppence.


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