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[ANNOUNCE] git-series: track changes to a patch series over time

I'd like to announce a project I've been working on for a while:

git-series provides a tool for managing patch series with git, tracking
the "history of history". git series tracks changes to the patch series
over time, including rebases and other non-fast-forwarding changes. git
series also tracks a cover letter for the patch series, formats the
series for email, and prepares pull requests.

This makes it easier to collaborate on a patch series, distribution
package, backport, or any other development process that includes
rebasing or non-fast-forward development.

I'm announcing this to debian-devel specifically because package
maintenance tends to have this exact family of problems: maintaining a
set of patches to upstream code, rebasing those patches on new upstream
versions, reorganizing/refining/adding/dropping patches, having
individual patches merged upstream, and backporting changes *from*
upstream.  I've seen git repositories for Debian packaging of software
maintained many different ways, but in general, it seems non-trivial to
simultaneously maintain a tree based on upstream git history while
managing patches that don't go upstream right away.  I hope that
git-series can make Debian package maintenance easier.

A patch series typically goes through multiple iterations before
submission; the path from idea to RFC to [PATCHv12 1/8] includes many
invocations of git rebase -i. However, while Git tracks and organizes
commits quite well, it doesn't actually track changes to a patch series
at all, outside of the ephemeral reflog. This makes it a challenge to
collaborate on a patch series, distribution package, backport, or any
other development process that includes rebasing or non-fast-forward

Typically, tracking the evolution of a patch series over time involves
moving part of the version control outside of git. You can move the
patch series from git into quilt or a distribution package, and then
version the patch files with git, losing the power of git's tools. Or,
you can keep the patch series in git, and version it via multiple named
branches; however, names like feature-v2, feature-v3-typofix, and
feature-v8-rebased-4.6-alice-fix sound like filenames from corporate
email, not modern version control. And either way, git doesn't track
your cover letter at all.

git-series tracks both a patch series and its evolution within the same
git repository. git-series works entirely with existing git features,
allowing git to push and pull a series to any git repository along with
other branches and tags. Each time you change the patch series, whether
fast-forwarding or not, you can "git series commit" a new version of the
patch series, complete with commit message.

You can rebase a patch series with "git series rebase -i", format it for
submission with "git series format", or send a "please pull" request with
"git series req".  git-series knows the base of your series, so you
don't need to count patches or find a commit hash to run rebase or

If you're interested in trying git-series, see
https://github.com/git-series/git-series for installation instructions
and a "getting started" guide.

I've also documented the internal storage format of git-series at
https://github.com/git-series/git-series/blob/master/INTERNALS.md ,
including the details for how git-series ensures git can always reach,
push, and pull a series.

I'd welcome any feedback, whether on the interface and workflow, the
internals and collaboration, ideas on presenting diffs of patch series,
thoughts on maintaining Debian packaging with git-series, or anything

- Josh Triplett

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