Git deadline looms

The Eclipsepocalypse cometh

Tomorrow - December 21st - may or may not be the end of the world, but one thing we can confidently predict is that none of the Eclipse Foundation will be using CVS. As of tomorrow, the CVS repositories will be made read-only in an attempt to move the Foundation across to Linus’ world-beating version control system.

The foundation can’t be accused of springing the decision on its members: it’s been discussed as far back as 2009, with a page publicly listing how many projects have made the switch.

Early concerns over wasting time learning Git “vanished in light of the productivity and contribution gains,” said Wayne Beaton, Director of Open Source Projects at the Eclipse Foundation.

“The primary reason [for switching] is that our developer community asked for it,” he explained over email. “Actually, it's a lot stronger than that: they demanded it. The individual motivations vary, but most of our developer community understands that Git does a far better job of enabling contribution than CVS or SVN.”

Initial uptake was rapid, and by this time last year 50% of Eclipse projects were using Git. This was in part thanks to projects such as EGit. “The community really rallied behind the [EGit] project by providing contributions and developers,” said Beaton. “EGit is now one of our most diverse and productive projects.”

Progress has slowed since, however: by the launch of Juno in late June, 60% of all Eclipse projects had migrated to Git, and with one day remaining only 80.6% of projects have made it across.

The remaining 20% that have failed to switch from CVS will become candidates for termination - not due to their disobedience, but because it’s a clear indication of inactivity. “Of the projects still using CVS, only one of them seems to be active (at least one commit in the last three months),” Beaton said. “It's pretty natural, that the handful of inactive projects still on CVS after the deadline should be terminated.”

Even before the final bell tolled, projects were being struck down left, right and center by Beaton’s touch of death. It’s not just a coincidence: many projects were faced with the reality that, without even the resources to switch to Git, there was no life left in the endeavour.

“We consider termination a natural part of the lifecycle of an open source project,” said Beaton. “The CVS migration deadline is a trigger to do the necessary pruning. With only a few exceptions, all of the terminated projects used CVS.”

That said, one project will be surviving the end of days. “The Orbit project--which provides repositories of third-party libraries as OSGi bundles--depends very heavily on some CVS-specific idiosyncrasies and so has been granted a bit of a stay of migration,” said Beaton.

So while it may be the end for many Eclipse projects, it’s fertile new beginnings for many others as they embrace the Git revolution.

Elliot Bentley

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