blob: 8823a37067811037487a9f0496736bfafdc8b7ad [file] [log] [blame]
From: Junio C Hamano <>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 16:32:55 -0800
Subject: Addendum to "MaintNotes"
Abstract: Imagine that git development is racing along as usual, when our friendly
neighborhood maintainer is struck down by a wayward bus. Out of the
hordes of suckers (loyal developers), you have been tricked (chosen) to
step up as the new maintainer. This howto will show you "how to" do it.
The maintainer's git time is spent on three activities.
- Communication (60%)
Mailing list discussions on general design, fielding user
questions, diagnosing bug reports; reviewing, commenting on,
suggesting alternatives to, and rejecting patches.
- Integration (30%)
Applying new patches from the contributors while spotting and
correcting minor mistakes, shuffling the integration and
testing branches, pushing the results out, cutting the
releases, and making announcements.
- Own development (10%)
Scratching my own itch and sending proposed patch series out.
The policy on Integration is informally mentioned in "A Note
from the maintainer" message, which is periodically posted to
this mailing list after each feature release is made.
The policy.
- Feature releases are numbered as vX.Y.Z and are meant to
contain bugfixes and enhancements in any area, including
functionality, performance and usability, without regression.
- Maintenance releases are numbered as vX.Y.Z.W and are meant
to contain only bugfixes for the corresponding vX.Y.Z feature
release and earlier maintenance releases vX.Y.Z.V (V < W).
- 'master' branch is used to prepare for the next feature
release. In other words, at some point, the tip of 'master'
branch is tagged with vX.Y.Z.
- 'maint' branch is used to prepare for the next maintenance
release. After the feature release vX.Y.Z is made, the tip
of 'maint' branch is set to that release, and bugfixes will
accumulate on the branch, and at some point, the tip of the
branch is tagged with vX.Y.Z.1, vX.Y.Z.2, and so on.
- 'next' branch is used to publish changes (both enhancements
and fixes) that (1) have worthwhile goal, (2) are in a fairly
good shape suitable for everyday use, (3) but have not yet
demonstrated to be regression free. New changes are tested
in 'next' before merged to 'master'.
- 'pu' branch is used to publish other proposed changes that do
not yet pass the criteria set for 'next'.
- The tips of 'master', 'maint' and 'next' branches will always
fast-forward, to allow people to build their own
customization on top of them.
- Usually 'master' contains all of 'maint', 'next' contains all
of 'master' and 'pu' contains all of 'next'.
- The tip of 'master' is meant to be more stable than any
tagged releases, and the users are encouraged to follow it.
- The 'next' branch is where new action takes place, and the
users are encouraged to test it so that regressions and bugs
are found before new topics are merged to 'master'.
A typical git day for the maintainer implements the above policy
by doing the following:
- Scan mailing list and #git channel log. Respond with review
comments, suggestions etc. Kibitz. Collect potentially
usable patches from the mailing list. Patches about a single
topic go to one mailbox (I read my mail in Gnus, and type
\C-o to save/append messages in files in mbox format).
- Review the patches in the saved mailboxes. Edit proposed log
message for typofixes and clarifications, and add Acks
collected from the list. Edit patch to incorporate "Oops,
that should have been like this" fixes from the discussion.
- Classify the collected patches and handle 'master' and
'maint' updates:
- Obviously correct fixes that pertain to the tip of 'maint'
are directly applied to 'maint'.
- Obviously correct fixes that pertain to the tip of 'master'
are directly applied to 'master'.
This step is done with "git am".
$ git checkout master ;# or "git checkout maint"
$ git am -3 -s mailbox
$ make test
- Merge downwards (maint->master):
$ git checkout master
$ git merge maint
$ make test
- Review the last issue of "What's cooking" message, review the
topics scheduled for merging upwards (topic->master and
topic->maint), and merge.
$ git checkout master ;# or "git checkout maint"
$ git merge ai/topic ;# or "git merge ai/maint-topic"
$ git log -p ORIG_HEAD.. ;# final review
$ git diff ORIG_HEAD.. ;# final review
$ make test ;# final review
$ git branch -d ai/topic ;# or "git branch -d ai/maint-topic"
- Merge downwards (maint->master) if needed:
$ git checkout master
$ git merge maint
$ make test
- Merge downwards (master->next) if needed:
$ git checkout next
$ git merge master
$ make test
- Handle the remaining patches:
- Anything unobvious that is applicable to 'master' (in other
words, does not depend on anything that is still in 'next'
and not in 'master') is applied to a new topic branch that
is forked from the tip of 'master'. This includes both
enhancements and unobvious fixes to 'master'. A topic
branch is named as ai/topic where "ai" is typically
author's initial and "topic" is a descriptive name of the
topic (in other words, "what's the series is about").
- An unobvious fix meant for 'maint' is applied to a new
topic branch that is forked from the tip of 'maint'. The
topic is named as ai/maint-topic.
- Changes that pertain to an existing topic are applied to
the branch, but:
- obviously correct ones are applied first;
- questionable ones are discarded or applied to near the tip;
- Replacement patches to an existing topic are accepted only
for commits not in 'next'.
The above except the "replacement" are all done with:
$ git am -3 -s mailbox
while patch replacement is often done by:
$ git format-patch ai/topic~$ ;# export existing
then replace some parts with the new patch, and reapplying:
$ git reset --hard ai/topic~$n
$ git am -3 -s 000*.txt
The full test suite is always run for 'maint' and 'master'
after patch application; for topic branches the tests are run
as time permits.
- Update "What's cooking" message to review the updates to
existing topics, newly added topics and graduated topics.
This step is helped with Meta/cook script (where Meta/ contains
a checkout of the 'todo' branch).
- Merge topics to 'next'. For each branch whose tip is not
merged to 'next', one of three things can happen:
- The commits are all next-worthy; merge the topic to next:
$ git checkout next
$ git merge ai/topic ;# or "git merge ai/maint-topic"
$ make test
- The new parts are of mixed quality, but earlier ones are
next-worthy; merge the early parts to next:
$ git checkout next
$ git merge ai/topic~2 ;# the tip two are dubious
$ make test
- Nothing is next-worthy; do not do anything.
- [** OBSOLETE **] Optionally rebase topics that do not have any commit
in next yet, when they can take advantage of low-level framework
change that is merged to 'master' already.
$ git rebase master ai/topic
This step is helped with Meta/git-topic.perl script to
identify which topic is rebaseable. There also is a
pre-rebase hook to make sure that topics that are already in
'next' are not rebased beyond the merged commit.
- [** OBSOLETE **] Rebuild "pu" to merge the tips of topics not in 'next'.
$ git checkout pu
$ git reset --hard next
$ git merge ai/topic ;# repeat for all remaining topics
$ make test
This step is helped with Meta/PU script
- Push four integration branches to a private repository at and run "make test" on all of them.
- Push four integration branches to /pub/scm/git/git.git at This triggers its post-update hook which:
(1) runs "git pull" in $HOME/git-doc/ repository to pull
'master' just pushed out;
(2) runs "make doc" in $HOME/git-doc/, install the generated
documentation in staging areas, which are separate
repositories that have html and man branches checked
(3) runs "git commit" in the staging areas, and run "git
push" back to /pub/scm/git/git.git/ to update the html
and man branches.
(4) installs generated documentation to /pub/software/scm/git/docs/
to be viewed from
- Fetch html and man branches back from, and push four
integration branches and the two documentation branches to and other mirrors.
Some observations to be made.
* Each topic is tested individually, and also together with
other topics cooking in 'next'. Until it matures, none part
of it is merged to 'master'.
* A topic already in 'next' can get fixes while still in
'next'. Such a topic will have many merges to 'next' (in
other words, "git log --first-parent next" will show many
"Merge ai/topic to next" for the same topic.
* An unobvious fix for 'maint' is cooked in 'next' and then
merged to 'master' to make extra sure it is Ok and then
merged to 'maint'.
* Even when 'next' becomes empty (in other words, all topics
prove stable and are merged to 'master' and "git diff master
next" shows empty), it has tons of merge commits that will
never be in 'master'.
* In principle, "git log --first-parent" should
show nothing but merges (in practice, there are fixup commits
and reverts that are not merges).
* Commits near the tip of a topic branch that are not in 'next'
are fair game to be discarded, replaced or rewritten.
Commits already merged to 'next' will not be.
* Being in the 'next' branch is not a guarantee for a topic to
be included in the next feature release. Being in the
'master' branch typically is.