Recently, I was wondering why I was pushing off accepting contributions in Debian for longer than in other projects. It occurred to me that the effort to accept a contribution in Debian is way higher than in other FOSS projects. My remaining FOSS projects are on GitHub, where I can just click the “Merge” button after deciding a contribution looks good. In Debian, merging is actually a lot of work: I need to clone the repository, configure it, merge the patch, update the changelog, build and upload.
I wondered how close we can bring Debian to a model where accepting a contribution is just a single click as well. In principle, I think it can be done.
To demonstrate the feasibility and collect some feedback, I wrote a program called
mergebot. The first stage is done:
mergebot can be used on your local machine as a command-line tool. You provide it with the source package and bug number which contains the patch in question, and it will do the rest:
midna ~ $ mergebot -source_package=wit -bug=#831331 2016/07/17 12:06:06 will work on package "wit", bug "831331" 2016/07/17 12:06:07 Skipping MIME part with invalid Content-Disposition header (mime: no media type) 2016/07/17 12:06:07 gbp clone --pristine-tar git+ssh://git.debian.org/git/collab-maint/wit.git /tmp/mergebot-743062986/repo 2016/07/17 12:06:09 git config push.default matching 2016/07/17 12:06:09 git config --add remote.origin.push +refs/heads/*:refs/heads/* 2016/07/17 12:06:09 git config --add remote.origin.push +refs/tags/*:refs/tags/* 2016/07/17 12:06:09 git config user.email stapelberg AT debian DOT org 2016/07/17 12:06:09 patch -p1 -i ../latest.patch 2016/07/17 12:06:09 git add . 2016/07/17 12:06:09 git commit -a --author Chris Lamb <lamby AT debian DOT org> --message Fix for “wit: please make the build reproducible” (Closes: #831331) 2016/07/17 12:06:09 gbp dch --release --git-author --commit 2016/07/17 12:06:09 gbp buildpackage --git-tag --git-export-dir=../export --git-builder=sbuild -v -As --dist=unstable 2016/07/17 12:07:16 Merge and build successful! 2016/07/17 12:07:16 Please introspect the resulting Debian package and git repository, then push and upload: 2016/07/17 12:07:16 cd "/tmp/mergebot-743062986" 2016/07/17 12:07:16 (cd repo && git push) 2016/07/17 12:07:16 (cd export && debsign *.changes && dput *.changes) midna ~ $ cd /tmp/mergebot-743062986/repo midna /tmp/mergebot-743062986/repo $ git log HEAD~2.. commit d983d242ee546b2249a866afe664bac002a06859 Author: Michael Stapelberg <stapelberg AT debian DOT org> Date: Sun Jul 17 13:32:41 2016 +0200 Update changelog for 2.31a-3 release commit 5a327f5d66e924afc656ad71d3bfb242a9bd6ddc Author: Chris Lamb <lamby AT debian DOT org> Date: Sun Jul 17 13:32:41 2016 +0200 Fix for “wit: please make the build reproducible” (Closes: #831331) midna /tmp/mergebot-743062986/repo $ git push Counting objects: 11, done. Delta compression using up to 8 threads. Compressing objects: 100% (11/11), done. Writing objects: 100% (11/11), 1.59 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done. Total 11 (delta 6), reused 0 (delta 0) remote: Sending notification emails to: email@example.com remote: Sending notification emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org To git+ssh://git.debian.org/git/collab-maint/wit.git 650ee05..d983d24 master -> master * [new tag] debian/2.31a-3 -> debian/2.31a-3 midna /tmp/mergebot-743062986/repo $ cd ../export midna /tmp/mergebot-743062986/export $ debsign *.changes && dput *.changes […] Uploading wit_2.31a-3.dsc Uploading wit_2.31a-3.debian.tar.xz Uploading wit_2.31a-3_amd64.deb Uploading wit_2.31a-3_amd64.changes
Of course, this is not quite as convenient as clicking a “Merge” button yet. I have some ideas on how to make that happen, but I need to know whether people are interested before I spend more time on this.
Please see github.com/Debian/mergebot for more details, and please get in touch if you think this is worthwhile or would even like to help. Feedback is accepted in the GitHub issue tracker for mergebot or the project mailing list mergebot-discuss. Thanks!