New candidate JEP: 369: Migrate to GitHub

Mario Torre neugens.limasoftware at
Wed Nov 13 13:20:08 UTC 2019

I agree with Andrew here which has quite brilliantly explained all of
my biggest concerns so I won't repeat them here, but I also still have
a fair share of issues with the GitHub specific enforcement of the
forking+pull request workflow. And yes, I know we've discussed some of
those issues already extensively but I'm still not satisfied because
the reality is that most of the answers provide a theoretical
implementation that in reality will force a lot of re-learning and
personal adjustments.

We (sort of) accepted to experiment with GitHub in Mission Control and
the project is aiming to move there soon, I suggest we first gain some
first hand experience before moving the largest and arguably most
important project to this completely new workflow.

Btw, the "Expanded community" section, in my humble view, isn't really
a point to consider. Realistically, it won't happen that the
occasional developer with no experience lurking on GitHub will find
OpenJDK and send random pull requests, so the mere fact that the
project exist on GitHub won't make it more visible or lower the
entrance barrier, it just won't make any difference whatsoever.


Il giorno mer 13 nov 2019 alle ore 11:36 Andrew Dinn
<adinn at> ha scritto:
> On 12/11/2019 16:00, mark.reinhold at wrote:
> >
> Firstly, thanks to Joe and Erik for producing a very comprehensive JEP
> that addresses so many important questions. There are many aspects of
> this proposed move that are very appealing. However, I am afraid I am
> still going to start by expressing my severe reservations about one
> proposed change: replacing email review with GitHub PRs (sorry guys :-/).
> The JEP has this laudable goal:
> "Ensure that workflows structurally similar to the existing e-mail and
> webrev based workflows are supported."
> and further qualifies that with:
> "Today, OpenJDK contributors collaborate via mailing lists, they push
> changes to Mercurial repositories, they test changes via the jdk/submit
> service, and they file bug reports via the JDK Bug System (JBS).
> Contributors can also make use of several command-line interface (CLI)
> tools, primarily jcheck, webrev, and defpath. This is a workflow that
> many experienced contributors enjoy and find productive. It's therefore
> critical to preserve as much of this workflow as possible if we move to
> an external provider."
> which one cannot really disagree with.
> The JEP then explains that:
> "Reviewers can now discuss the changes in the PR, using multiple workflows:
>     By replying to the RFR email sent to the mailing list(s), in which
> case the contents of replies are copied into the PR on GitHub (no GitHub
> account is required);
>    . . .
> Any comment made in any of the workflows is reflected in all of the
> workflows. One reviewer can add a comment via the mailing list, another
> via the web browser, and a third via the command-line and they will all
> see each others' comments."
> My experience of GitHub use in the Graal project suggest that this is
> not entirely the full picture. My view derived from that experience is
> that the GitHub PR is very much an inferior medium for review
> discussion. In particular, it definitely fails to be "structurally
> similar to the existing e-mail and webrev based workflows".
> Firstly, I'll note that email discussions consist of a tree of dependent
> commentary. That commentary often contains quoted material which,
> especially when carefully edited (as it normally is), tracks relevant
> context. The structuring that results from this use of the reply
> hierarchy and quoting permits a given discussion to split into a group
> of related subordinate discussions where required while still retaining
> a continued thread of relevance to a specific review. Crucially, most
> email readers allow such branching discussions to be followed and
> extended in /parallel/.
> By contrast discussions in GitHub PRs are essentially linearized (modulo
> a single level of nesting of commentary on top level comments). Worse,
> the presentation forces all commentary to be flattened into a single
> browser pane view. This linear mode of presentation results in a severe
> hindrance to separation of, and attention to, separate concerns. It also
> fails to preserve and display source relationships that clarify the
> provenance and relevance of quoted text i.e. it not only fails to record
> but actually obfuscates important context.
> Of course, discussions that remain in email may continue to profit from
> the multi-focus aspect of the current workflow. However, I believe that
> contributions to the discussion via a GitHub PR will inevitably bypass
> and, therefore, invalidate any such structuring contributed via the
> email workflow. Not only do I currently see that effect with Graal PRs
> but I also see the damage it imposes on flow and quality of discussion.
> Secondly, email reviews are conventionally directed to readers with
> different domains of interest and expertise. That sometimes requires
> re-routing a discussion to a different list from the one on which it was
> first initiated. It also sometimes requires posting comments to multiple
> lists, either when discussion is initiated or in mid-stream as the scope
> of discussion develops. Managing distribution when using emails lists is
> both easily achieved and well understood (n.b. that's not to imply that
> deciding which list to send to is easy).
> The JEP suggests that discussions raised via PRs will be routed to lists
> 1) derived from the affected files and/or 2) specified by whoever raises
> the PR. It doesn't explain how (whether) target lists are to be (may be)
> updated as review progresses. It also doesn't state clearly whether
> whoever raises the PR or comments on it will have the ability to
> override those default choices (I fully expect that option will be
> necessary in some cases).
> I need to stress that these concerns should not be considered as minor
> details of how the project operates. Easy management of the flow and
> direction of discussion is critical to being able to consume and respond
> to commentary at the rate needed to keep up with a project as large and
> rapidly changing as OpenJDK currently is. Given the central importance
> of our review process to ensuring the health of the project and its
> products I think it is right to be very concerned about the potential
> for problems caused by this switch of medium.
> regards,
> Andrew Dinn
> -----------
> Senior Principal Software Engineer
> Red Hat UK Ltd
> Registered in England and Wales under Company Registration No. 03798903
> Directors: Michael Cunningham, Michael ("Mike") O'Neill

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