Doing away with changelogs

Jeffrey Hutzelman jhutz at
Mon Apr 17 18:05:28 EDT 2006

On Monday, April 17, 2006 05:30:16 PM -0400 Sam Hartman <hartmans at> 

>>>>>> "Derek" == Derek Atkins <warlord at MIT.EDU> writes:

> No, technically it would be easy to do.  We have mostly decided not to
> do it because we feel that we'd want to do a manual cleanup pass after
> generating the changelog and we've decided not to dedicate those
> resources.

... but it's OK for everyone who wants to know what has changed to figure 
out exactly what in svn corresponds to the release and then manually dig 
through the revision history, when an automated tool could do this once for 

> A source release is the sources necessary to build a particular
> release.
> To do development you are going to need access to the repository and
> bugs database.  That's roughly the same as many other open source
> projects.

In fact, neither the bug database nor the repository are essential to 
people doing development.  They're important to _you_, because you're 
responsible for maintaining the "official" codebase, tracking bugs, and 
merging people's changes, and because as a group working on a number of 
projects at any one time, you need a shared, branchable repository. 
Someone else can download source, add a feature they like, port to a new 
platform, or whatever, and then send you a patch, and they don't need any 
access to your repository or bug database.  I've certainly contributed to 
more than one software project using this model.

More importantly, source releases aren't just for people doing development, 
and the ChangeLog in a source release _definitely_ isn't for people doing 
development.  As I noted earlier, it's for people who want to see what has 
changed since some previous release, or between releases.

I don't have much at stake here.  I don't build MIT Kerberos from source, 
and it's not very often that I ask myself what has changed between 
releases.  All I can tell you is what I've found working with other 
software, which is that it's very useful for source distributions to 
include a ChangeLog, and most of them don't look like they were produced 

-- Jeff

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