RFC: migrating to git

Gábor Lehel illissius at gmail.com
Tue Jan 11 12:22:57 CET 2011

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 12:19 PM, Simon Marlow <marlowsd at gmail.com> wrote:
> It's time to consider again whether we should migrate GHC development from
> darcs to (probably) git.
> From our perspective at GHC HQ, the biggest problem that we would hope to
> solve by switching is that darcs makes branching and merging very difficult
> for us.  We have a few branches of HEAD that are very painful to keep merged
> with HEAD, and we would almost certainly have more branches if the overhead
> were lower.  In some sense the overhead is self-inflicted because we have
> the no-conflict policy in the mainline repository, but that is to avoid
> problems with darcs' merging algorithms (both performance and correctness).
>  We are still using darcs v1 patches rather than v2, but there are known
> problems with v2 which are preventing us from upgrading.
> The darcs team have been making great strides with performance, but conflict
> handling remains a serious problem.  The darcs roadmap doesn't show this
> being fixed in the near future
>  http://wiki.darcs.net/Roadmap
> Rebase support is coming, and it does work, though the workflow is a bit
> laborious.
> Besides the branching/merging/conflict issue, switching to git would give us
> plenty of side benefits, notably via access to a wealth of tool support.
>  Making contribution easy is important to us too, and there are a lot of
> people using git.
> The cost of switching is quite high, which is one reason we decided to stay
> with darcs last time.  We have multiple repos that need to be converted, and
> for some of them, where the repo is being shared with other projects, we may
> have to mirror rather than convert in place. We're prepared to put in the
> effort if the gains would be worthwhile though (offers of help are more than
> welcome!).
> We're intrested in opinions from both active and potential GHC
> developers/contributors.  Let us know what you think - would this make life
> harder or easier for you?  Would it make you less likely or more likely to
> contribute?
> Cheers,
>        Simon

I've contributed a small patch or two to GHC before, but nothing
major. I expect the future to be similar: I don't anticipate doing any
major work on GHC, but if I come across an itch which I see as within
my capabilities and worthwhile to scratch, I might scratch it. I
didn't have any problem with darcs after getting over the (not so
steep) learning curve, and if GHC were to switch to git, I don't think
I would have any problem with that either. So I guess I'll just be
fine either way.

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