Notes from Ben's "contribute to ghc" discussion

Simon Marlow marlowsd at
Mon Sep 26 19:40:07 UTC 2016

On 26 September 2016 at 20:13, Ben Gamari <ben at> wrote:

> Simon Marlow <marlowsd at> writes:
> > I would rather we *didn't* accept contributions via github, even for
> small
> > patches, and instead put more effort into streamlining the Phabricator
> > workflow.
> >
> >
> >    - Adding another input method complicates the workflow, users have to
> >    decide which one to use
> >
> I think we would want to try to sell the GitHub route as "if you would
> like to contribute then we would strongly prefer you use Phabricator,
> but if you must and it's a small patch, we will accept it via GitHub."

But this is opening the floodgates a crack... how do we know what a "small"
patch is?  What happens when someone submits a patch that's too large?  The
patches will get larger, we'll have to do code reviews on two different
tools, and it will be really hard to go back.  I just have a bad feeling
about this.

>    - Github is not integrated with our other infrastructure, while
> >    Phabricator is
> >
> True, but I suspect for the small documentation patches that we are
> currently consider this shouldn't matter so much.
> >    - Mutliple sources of contributions makes life harder for maintainers
> >
> It does certainly put yet another task on our plates, but I would argue
> that it's actually easier than accepting patches via Trac, which we
> already do.

We should stop accepting patches via Trac too :)


> >    - I also like the idea of auto-push if validate succeeds.  Or a button
> >    that you can press on the diff that would do the same thing, so you
> can get
> >    code review first.
> >
> To be clear, I'm a bit weary of opening up the auto-push feature to new
> contributors. While regular contributors know what changes can be safely
> pushed and which require review, we have no guarantee that a new
> contributor has developed these sensibilities.
> >    - +1 to making the manual easier to build.  The same goes for
> Haddocks;
> >    it's really hard to make a simple patch to the docs and test it right
> now.
> >
> The users guide should be quite possible to do.
> I don't believe there is any reliable way to allow a contributor to
> build the haddocks without having built GHC (since you need GHC master to
> parse `base`, et al.); that being said, we could have Harbormaster
> upload built documentation somewhere and then leave a link to it on the
> Diff.
> > One other thing that came up but wasn't mentioned in the notes: let's be
> > more prompt about reverting patches that break validate, even if they
> only
> > break a test.  Now that we have better CI support, we can easily identify
> > breaking patches and revert them.
> >
> Agreed.
> Cheers,
> - Ben
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