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

Magnus Melin mkmelin+mozilla at iki.fi
Thu Dec 7 16:04:51 EST 2017

It's a justified question, but it's about more than just git or hg, it's 
about the workflows to actually get the patch in tree. I think when 
people argue that "git is more familiar" it's much about the github 
flow, not so much about which source control system you're using. 
Ultimately they are not that different.

Mozilla and Thunderbird has the workflow that you do your change, submit 
the patch for review in bugzilla, and get it landed. Quite commonly for 
projects on github your fork is actually that, a fork, that you could be 
running for an extended time. This has very different from the situation 
with Thunderbird, were you to create your fork and submit a pull request 
for that.

Mozilla is also putting a lot of resources into streamlining this flow 
with autoland plans etc., that will in time be integral parts of the 
bugzilla workflow. Switching to git would make following this quite a 
bit harder for Thunderbird. There is also the issue that the code base 
(combined mozilla-central + comm-central) is too large to be allowed on 
github (or bitbucket for that matter, both have a 2G limit), and using 
their issue tracking is not sufficient for our needs - like hidden bugs 
for security items. You might not realize it, but we (and Mozilla) are 
really working through bugzilla much than anyone coming from the outside 
could ever imagine. We're not abandoning that, it's the backbone of the 

Even setting the above points aside, it's not reasonable to use another 
version control than mozilla, and having a git mirror is also just 
problematic if you ask me. Having that choice is more confusion than 
just having new contributors run a few commands in mercurial. Somehow I 
don't buy that hg. vs git would actually be a major barrier to contribute.


On 05-12-2017 01:03, Ryan Sipes wrote:
> 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?
> Feedback welcome.
> ---
> Ryan Sipes
> Thunderbird Community Manager
> _______________________________________________
> Maildev mailing list
> Maildev at lists.thunderbird.net
> http://lists.thunderbird.net/mailman/listinfo/maildev_lists.thunderbird.net 

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