Notification mails for git repos

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Wed Jan 30 12:45:16 EST 2013

Geert Janssens <janssens-geert at> writes:

> Here is a first practical limitation of the new script: the old
> scripts had some logic built in that would add an AUDIT tag in front
> of the mail subject if the commit message had a line containing solely
> "BP".
> This gets more complicated with the new scripts. One mail can hold the
> commit messages of multiple commits. What to do if only some of these
> commits are supposed to be backported and have BP in their commit
> message ?
> Add AUDIT as soon as one commit in the push asks for backporting ?
> Alternatively I played with the idea to just drop the whole BP
> trickery. Instead we could use a backport branch in git. Each dev that
> commits something to trunk/master that should also be backported,
> could cherry-pick this commit to the backport branch. Since this would
> trigger a mail notification that the backport branch was updated, this
> also serves as a heads-up, just like the AUDIT tag would have. This
> alternative may not be possible as long as we are bound to svn. Svn is
> pretty poor in merging, while git's cherry-pick is very easy. Then
> again, as the backporting is currently mostly done by devs that
> already work from git anyway, it may work now already.

It seems silly to me to have an extra "waiting for backport" branch.

> Yet another option would be to send mails per commit. That would mean
> though we'd have to start from scratch for our mail script and I'm not
> sure I know enough of git internals to be able to deal with all commit
> types properly. I prefer not to go this route if possible.
> Any thoughts, bright ideas, suggestions ?
> Geert
> P.S. Now is perhaps also a good time to re-evaluate our mail sending
> habits. Do we really still need two different mails ? I know one is
> only a summary while the other hold the complete diff, but do we want
> to generate both types or is one sufficient ? What are the use cases
> and are they still valid ?

I use the -patches email list to notice when the -commits email fails,
so I can look into it.  Generally this happens when there is a very
large commit (like a translation update).  I also use -patches it to
decide if I need to look at the changesets immediately or if I think it
can wait a bit.

But I'm willing to change how I work if people want to change.


       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord at MIT.EDU                        PGP key available

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