[Maildev] Obligatory GitHub vs Mercurial (Mozilla-hosted) Question

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at beonex.com
Mon Dec 4 19:59:26 EST 2017

Ryan Sipes wrote on 05.12.17 00:03:
> Fine folks of the Thunderbird MailDev mailing list, I'm here to ask a 
> question regarding our continued use of Mercurial for projects related 
> to Thunderbird's development:
> Given the current software development landscape (specifically when 
> looking at open source development), is managing development on 
> Mozilla's infrastructure the best place to do so?
> Side-stepping any argument of Git vs Mercurial, I believe we have seen 
> GitHub emerge as the place people go to work collaboratively on open 
> source projects by default. With even projects with existing 
> competitors (Canonical's Launchpad, anyone?), moving away from their 
> own infrastructure in order to adopt GitHub for the sake of attracting 
> more contributors.
> Has their been any formal discussion of moving parts of the project 
> (or all of it) to GitHub? What would be the drawbacks in doing so?

I'm in favor of git. hg is posing a major barrier for new contributors.

hg is very similar to git, but still different enough to make people 
trip. If you like hg and hate git, because git doesn't do what you want, 
then you have an impression of how frustrated new contributors feel with 
hg, because it's the same vise-versa.

git has now established as the de-facto standard of version 
repositories. Even abandoned their own VCS and Visual Studio 2017 offers 
to create a git repo together with a new project. Not that VS is a good 
example, but rather the last bastion that git conquered: Everybody now 
uses git, even more so open-source developers.

As for github, I do *not* want to rely on external infrastructure. But 
given that git can make copies everywhere, I think we should have a copy 
on github, while the authorative repo is hosted on our servers under our 
control. Running a git server without frontend is trivial. I'm hosting 
one myself, and I'm just a "hobby admin", so if I can do it, surely 
Andrei can set it up in no time.


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