Petr Baudis:
> > - it pollutes the patch branches with metadata (.topmsg, .topdeps)
> 
> I'd like to single this out - this is a very arbitrary decision and has
> its distinct pros and cons compared to alternative approaches, and was
> not taken lightly. It wouldn't be that difficult to go in a different
> way and it's not a fundamental limitation.
It's also the most minor problem I see, rather a matter of taste.

> > - AFAIK nobody has solved the problem of managing different patchsets
> > with tg
> 
> Why not just manage them in separate repositories? If you want to pick
> patches between patchsets, that should be easily posible through remotes.
You mean having multiple local working directories per project? That's not 
nice. If you also work on the project with an IDE, it'd most probably mean 
setting up the same project multiple times.

>   I agree that topgit really sucks in many areas. :) While it is usable
> in practice if you know what you are doing, in some aspects it never got
> out of the proof-of-concept stage.
Thank you for not taking it personaly! :-)

> > 1) merge commits to save history
> >
> > git allows the free creation of merge commits with an arbitrary content
> > tree. So we can create an octupus merge combining all patch-branches
> > while the content of this merge can contain meta data about a patchset
> > instead of the content of the merged commits.
> > Such a merge commit thus provides a pointer to all the history of all
> > patches and can contain all metadata about the merged patch branches.
> > Pushing only a branch or tag with this commit to a central repository
> > thus pushes all the history of all contained patches.
> 
>   But how is this different from TopGit's approach? TopGit doesn't use
> octopus merges for various reasons (I mainly guess since I was too lazy
> to implement that), but that's more of an implementation detail than
> anything conceptual.
Maybe I didn't make clear that the commits on the patchset branch should not 
necessarily contain the merged content of all patches. The role of the merges 
is solely to keep pointers to the commits making up the patch branches.
Now that you're asking there may however be a similarity to topgit in that you 
can have one topgit controlled branch that combines all topgit branches 
belonging to the same patchset.
However there still remain some differences:

- in tg you need to push all tg branches while in my approach you'd need to 
push only one branch per patchset
- As far as I understand tg, all commands are repository global while for the 
Debian packaging use case you'd need patchset local commands:
  - tg export <patchset>
    export <patchset> as a quilt series

  - tg summary <patchset>
    gives summary information for the branches of <patchset>

  - tg delete <patchset> <branch>
    removes <branch> from <patchset>. However old history of <branch> is still 
recorded in the history of the <patchset>-branch

  - tg add <patchset> <branch>
    adds <branch> to <patchset>
    (The question is open, where to record the merge resolution of all 
patches)

  - tg recreate <patchset> <newbase> <new patchset name>
    Creates a new patchset with root <newbase> by creating new patch branches 
for each patch branch in <patchset>
    This command is useful if you need to keep the old patchset to maintain an 
older version of your Debian package.
    
> > 2) collapse / expand branches
> >
> > Managing a Debian package in stable, unstable and experimental can
> > quickly doom you to manage at least three different patchsets with
> > possibly three different roots. The list of branches grows in the
> > douzens. Which branches belong to which patchset? Which branches are
> > already pushed or pulled? It may be an advantage to see only some main
> > branches and the branches of one patchset I'm currently working on.
> > The tool I propose would manage each patchset in one branch per patchset.
> > This branch has two roles:
> > - keep the metadata of the patchset as files in the content tree
> > - keep pointers to the top of the patch-branches in the parent pointers
> > of the commit
> > With the help of such a patchset-metadata-branch I can:
> > - delete the patch-branches of one patchset while the commits are kept
> > save - recreate the patch-branches of one patchset
> 
>   The disadvantage is that you will have to invent a lot of arbitrary
> metadata and wide range of commands to manipulate and work with this
> metadata, all to accomplish something that _is actually one of the main
> Git functions to do_!
I don't see this. What do I miss? All metadata I'd need to manage is:
- one file with the name of each branch, it's last commit and the names of its 
dependencies (the root of the patchset, if empty)
- one message file for each patch
- the root of the patchset

The example commands given above would manipulate or read the patchset branch 
in the background much like pristine-tar does it with its metadata branch.
 
>   Wouldn't it be better to do the collapsing/expanding instead, e.g.
> have a convention for patchset/stage branch tying up all patchset/*
> branches, and an alias that lists only */stage branches and another that
> lists only patchset/* minus patchset/stage branches.
So you propose not to delete/recreate the patch branches but to provide extra 
commands to list only the desired subset of branches? This would still mean 
that I'd see douzens of patch branches in gitweb and that I't need to push 
douzens of branches to my co-packagers. - That doesn't solve it for me.
It may also be of interest, that Guido G√ľnther, the author of git-
buildpackage[1] wrote a command git-pq to "maintain debian/patches on a patch 
queue branch". - There seems to be a need to have few branches and that it 
seems to be practical to create and destroy patch branches in your workflow.

[1] https://honk.sigxcpu.org/piki/projects/git-buildpackage/

> > Is my explanation understandable? Could this approach work or did I miss
> > something? Who has time to implement it (GSOC?)?
> 
>   It's especially not clear at all whether you propose to start over or
> just make two improvements to TopGit, and if the former, how would your
> approach differ from TopGit in all the other aspects. It's all a bit
> ambiguous.
I hope I managed to make it clearer this time. I believe my proposals are 
incompatible to topgit and thus would require a new project from scratch. 
However it may well be that some code from topgit could be reused.

Best regards,

Thomas Koch, http://www.koch.ro

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