[python-committers] what's going on with Misc/NEWS?

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Fri May 24 21:08:01 CEST 2013

On 5/24/2013 9:00 AM, Nick Coghlan wrote:
> On Fri, May 24, 2013 at 10:24 PM, Brett Cannon <brett at python.org> wrote:
>> would be great. And maybe it's finally time to bite the bullet and
>> come up with some way to automatically generate Misc/NEWS from commit
>> messages.
> No, commit messages do not a NEWS file make.

They often do. Nearly all of my NEWS messages are copy and paste from 
the commit message. This is often true of other people's commits. 
Anyway, my  proposal, in response to Brett, is to make autocommit 
optional and possible partial bu only autocommitting the part of a 
commit message above a flag line like ***Library that identifies where 
to put the autocommit. This proposal does not conflict with separating 
the files.

>   The audiences are
> different (current and future developers vs interested end users), so
> it doesn't make sense to try to use the same content. Using commit
> messages also makes it annoyingly difficult to edit erroneous entries,
It is impossible to correct commit messages now. Any error not noticed 
before copy and paste already gets put in NEWS. Errors in NEWS could 
still be corrected. Auto copy and paste does not change anything except 
the hell of lower context conflict.

> as well as needing to come up with conventions to indicate commits
> which *shouldn't* get a log entry.
My proposed default is no autocommit. If you do not want it for your 
commits, continue as present.

> What *does* make sense is to use a directory structure (which version
Since the conflict problem is entirely within the sections that would be 
put into separate files, I do not see how that affects the conflict 
problem at all. This seems to me like an orthogonal proposal.

Here is an alternate proposal. Each branch has a NewsLog file. Each 
entry consists of

TAG is CORE, LIB, IDLE, TEST, or DOC. The three blank lines are part of 
the patch. Entries are put at the bottom of the file, so that the patch 
context is (should be) 3 blank lines above and <bottom of file> below. 
No conflict possible (unless differs subvert this by thinking the old 
blank lines are new and the new blank lines are old - maybe a commit 
hook could check and correct this).

When releases are tagged, NewsLog is emptied, the entries are sorted by 
tag and formatted
  ('- ' and '  ' prepended), subsection headers are added, and a 
corresponding section is added to NEWS.

> Of course, we've talked about doing something like this before, it's
> just never irritated anyone enough for them to sit down and *write*
> the associated NEWS file generator, or the code to split the existing
> NEWS file for the active branches :)
The problem irritated enough other people that the devguide contains the 
suggestion to insert news items into a random place in the current list. 
This only works when the section contains at least a few entries.

Having missed previous discussions, my impression has been that old 
timers are so used to the current mess and experienced dealing with it 
that it was useless for me to even say anything.  So if I do not care 
enough about an issue to suffer the commit pain, I leave it alone. 
Thanks Brett of saying something. However, I can only suggest as I have 
no idea how to implement a commit hook that would look at commit lines 
for a flag line to auto cut and commit. I do not even know if that is 
possible with hg.

Terry Jan Reedy

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