[TxMt] Re: Why the software history was not kept?

Allan Odgaard mailinglist at textmate.org
Wed Aug 3 21:20:52 UTC 2016

On 21 Jul 2016, at 22:10, Gustavo Henrique Lima Pinto wrote:

> […] I would like to ask textmate developers the following four brief 
> questions:
> 1. Why did you decide to not keep the software history?

I think the question should be rephrased as “Why did you decide not to 
make your full development history public?”

The full history is a time stamped log of all my activity going back 
years and also show commits from people who may have written commit 
messages, code comments, or similar that they never intended to be made 
public, so I did not feel I could make it public without reviewing all 
of it and also getting the permission from former participants.

So not worth it for me going through such review process for a 
hypothetical future situation, after all, I still do have the full 
history, so I still have the option of releasing it (should I feel it 
would be useful), and a contributor can always ask me, if they have 
questions that require looking at the private history.

> 2. Do the core developers faced any kind of problems, when trying to 
> refer
> to the old history? If so, how did they solve these problems?

Not sure how you define “core developers”. I am the core developer, 
and I still have the private history. I have used it a handful of times 
since the open source release.

> 3. Do the newcomers faced any kind of problems, when trying to refer 
> to the
> old history? If so, how did they solve these problems?

My guess would be no, but someone else will need to answer this. Based 
on commits the top five committers are:

- Ronald Wampler
- Jacob Bandes-Storch
- Boris Dušek
- Adam Strzelecki
- Joachim Mårtensson

At least some of them should be on this list.

> 4. How does the lack of history impacted on software evolution? Does 
> it
> placed any burden in understanding and evolving the software?

I think history is more about bug fixing, figuring out when buggy code 
was introduced or why seemingly wrong/redundant code was added, and that 
task probably mostly falls on me.

Also, with a few exceptions, this part is mostly concerned with the last 
few commits done to the code being reviewed, e.g. if in next build 
something misbehaves and a contributor decides to look into why, they do 
not need the history from four years ago, but simply what has changed in 
the last build and why.

Kind regards Allan
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