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Re: Automating the maintenance of the ChangeLog file


On Wed, 21 Nov 2018, Zack Weinberg wrote:

>Specifically, I propose:  Effective immediately, project policy
>requires the Git commit message for each commit to end with the full
>text of a traditional ChangeLog entry for that commit.  Most everyone
>is already doing this most of the time, so the policy change just
>upgrades it to a requirement.

I only add a ChangeLog entry to the commit message because every commit
needs one, and our project policy states that submitted patches should not
include changes to the ChangeLog file in the diff itself, but before the
diff (see the second paragraph of section 12 in the contribution
checklist [1]).  So, maybe this is already a requirement?

On the other hand, what I would like to see removed, instead, is the
requirement to write a ChangeLog entry, in the first place.  I find it a
lot more useful to read detailed explanations of why something has
changed, rather than what bits have changed in each file.  Several people
write very detailed commit messages, which even explain how something
works, before explaining why it needs to change and how it was changed
(recent example [2]).

Some people do give detailed explanations of how and why something has
changed in ChangeLog format, and such messages in ChangeLog format are
very useful, indeed.  However, they are the exception rather than the norm.

Net, I don't think the ChangeLog format is the responsible for people
writing better messages.  People write long, detailed messages because
they can and want to, be it in ChangeLog format or free-form sentences and
paragraphs.

Removing the requirement to have a ChangeLog-formatted section in the
commit message (which I'm in favor of) would totally spoil your proposal
to generate a ChangeLog file from git commit messages, though.  :(

[1] https://sourceware.org/glibc/wiki/Contribution%20checklist#Properly_Formatted_GNU_ChangeLog

[2] https://sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-11/msg00508.html


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