[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo guidelines for code hosting ?

Andrea Aime andrea.aime at geo-solutions.it
Sun Oct 18 12:26:13 PDT 2015

On Sun, Oct 18, 2015 at 12:08 PM, Sandro Santilli <strk at keybit.net> wrote:

> How does that diagram counts contributors ?
> With SVN it's very unlikely that a bot can recognize contributors
> other than the committers, while with GIT it's easier to make the
> actual contributor visible to a machine (being there an "author"
> field in addition to the "committer" field).

Indeed, it counts the committers, and it's true that it can be skewed,
but I assure you the overall effect is negligible.

Before pull requests we used to add a "patch by xyz" in the commit
message to give credit to the actual author. I looked at the year right
before the github switch, there are 4 commits like that in total (I searched
for just "by" to make sure not to skip stuff written with slight

If I look at the last year and ask for a contributor count I get:

> git shortlog -nsu --since "one year ago" | wc -l

Github tells me there are 34 developers with direct commit access, but I
who made a commit in the last year. we are down to only 24 people.
Sometimes devs commit from another computer and
they don't have their mail setup, which makes for a two lines in that
one with the username, one with the mail
e.g. in that list we have for example Mauro listed twice (and so is mine):
    27  Mauro Bartolomeoli
    24  mbarto

So that reduces the number of actual unique contributorsq a bit, let's say
down to 75-80...
it's still 50 random people contributing to GeoServer without commit access
in the last year, or, in other words, 10 times more external contributions
compared to before the switch to Github.

The thing is, we still have patches in the bug tracker that are a few years
old, and they will likely never be merged: when they came in they probably
were either dirty, or core devs were too busy, and after a few months
applying them becomes rather challenging, so there they stay: the merge
was too high, too domanding on the core devs.

With the current pull request mechanism we have a much improved ability
to handle contributions, in part because people are reminded of the
contribution rules the moment they make the pull request, in part because
the build servers inform the submitter about a problem in the pull request
rather quickly,
but also because we can comment in a more social way about the pull
request (before reviewing the patch was a one man job), and also because
are always nicely grouped and in front of our eyes at every PSC meeting
(we check the pull request queue like that every two weeks, to see
if there is anything that merits special attention).

> I'm not trying to negate the possible benefits in terms of number
> of contributors, but I'd be careful about the correctess of available
> data.
> > There is another benefit of moving to Github, which is build checks on
> pull
> > requests,
> Yes, this is something we unfortunately lost on OSGeo.
> We used to have buildbot running to that extent, but lack of volunteers
> made that experience come to an end.

Mind, here I'm talking about a special integration, not the normal
continuous build for commits that are integrated, but a custom build for the
pull request, which tells you whether or not merging that pull request
will break the build (to clarify, by build I mean both compiling and running
all automated tests save for OGC CITE compliance ones).

The pull request build status, along with an indication if the patch is
mergeable, and possibly an indication
of whether the test coverage went up or down, is a huge time saver.
If a review of the patch is satisfying, the build give us the green, we can
just press the merge button, thank the contributor, and move on with our
instead of spending time trying to apply while the code moved, build, go
back and forth
with the committer in a rather inefficient way (and manually run
build/tests every damn time), and so on.


GeoServer Professional Services from the experts! Visit
http://goo.gl/it488V for more information.

Ing. Andrea Aime
Technical Lead

GeoSolutions S.A.S.
Via Poggio alle Viti 1187
55054  Massarosa (LU)
phone: +39 0584 962313
fax: +39 0584 1660272
mob: +39  339 8844549



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