Re: Why have a ChangeLog file if you already have commit messages?

On Sun, 2007-09-16 at 00:13 +0200, Jaap Haitsma wrote:
> Hi
> Talking to Daniel "Cheese" Siegel we asked ourselves:
> Why do all GNOME projects have a ChangeLog file?
> Isn't it redundant when you just save a commit message.

More than anything else, I use the ChangeLog file to prepare
the NEWS entry for a release.  The modules I maintain tend
to have numerous ChangeLog files, and I need to look at all
of them.

  gnome-devel-docs   10 ChangeLogs
  gnome-user-docs     7 ChangeLogs
  gnome-doc-utils     4 ChangeLogs
  yelp                2 ChangeLogs

Back in the days of CVS, I'd do something like this:

  cvs diff -rLAST_RELEASE `find . -name ChangeLog`

SVN, on the other hand, makes this stupidly difficult.

If we were to use commit logs instead, I'd have done
this with CVS:

  cvs log -rLAST_RELEASE::

With SVN, I'd have to figure out which revision on
trunk the LAST_RELEASE "tag" was copied from.  Then
it's more or less the same command.

With git, it's simple as well.  I could, in principle,
prepare my NEWS entry from git log.  But the messages
would no longer be grouped as they are with separate
ChangeLog files.  What's more, it seems most git users
don't prefix their commit messages with the affected
files.  So I'd end up seeing a commit message like

  Updated the Spanish translation

As I'm preparing the NEWS entry for gnome-devel-docs,
do I record an updated Spanish translation of the HIG,
the Platform Overview, the Integration Guide, the GDP
Handbook, or the GDP Style Guide?  I just don't know.

I recognize that ChangeLogs cause annoying conflicts
when merging, and I'd be more than happy to do away
with them.  But preparing NEWS entries was already
a pain in the ass, and SVN made it worse.  I think
I'd just give up if it got more annoying.


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