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Subject: Re: [boost] [conversion] Isolating the phantom file changes problem
From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2013-11-30 22:33:03

On 29 Nov 2013 at 16:26, Beman Dawes wrote:

> > > > When we talk about renormalisation, we're talking about the procedure
> > > > described in the gitattributes man page.
> >
> > Unfortunately that procedure would corrupt many files within Boost.
> I've tested, on Windows and Linux, without apparent problems. The most
> files modified (152) are on master. Here is the list:

I looked through that list - it doesn't seem to contain anything from

My original Boost2Git EOL conversion patch was developed against
trunk only i.e. not including sandbox. That conversion, to my
knowledge, was completely lossless, even when going right back to the

The problem was Sandbox really. Dave spotted that my patch fatal
exited when Sandbox was included, and it was an assertion check for
an "impossible" condition. Things got worse the more I worked around
problems. I eventually concluded we would have to accept data loss if
we were converting all of history, and upcalled the decision to Dave
and Daniel.

One option I did posit was to convert the last three years of
history, and flatten everything before that. We could have done a
perfect conversion of the last three years easily enough, and it was
my personally preferred option. I think we're beyond that now though.

> > Off the top of my head, you'll need to watch for the following (this
> > list is incomplete):
> [snip]
> None of the modified files fit in that category.
> I checked tools/inspect/wrong_line_ends_test.cpp to see why it wasn't
> normalized, and the reason was simple. It had already been normalized! That
> isn't worrisome - inspect is a tool that will need tuning for git anyhow.

The problematic files were mostly in Sandbox. I found little issue
with trunk. I think because stuff in trunk had to pass peer review,
people didn't do unwise commits.

> .pdf is in .gitattributes, so no problem. I checked a couple of .pdf files
> to be sure, and adobe reader opens them without problems.

Yes, I made sure .pdf was in gitattributes specifically to deal with
that problem. I still think a test which sweeps the first 8Kb of all
files in Boost which don't have extensions in .gitattributes is a
very good idea.

> > We never dealt with these issues during conversion, and there are
> > probably more we don't know about yet. This is why I said Boost is
> > not ready to do the transition - plus too few want to do the manual
> > labour involved in achieving a "perfect" conversion and just want
> > "someone else" to do the tedious work for them.
> I'm sure there are problems we don't know about. But we have done enough
> testing do know that vast numbers of files were converted correctly, that
> passing tests on both trunk and branches/release still pass, and that the
> small number of the minor problems we have found are not even close to
> being showstoppers.
> To delay further just because of FUD will be harmful.

Caution is not FUD. My biggest single worry has always been lack of
testing of the validity of the conversion. I personally hate doing
anything irreversible which has not been tested to destruction.

The decision is out of my hands of course. And I have always seen
your point about getting on with it Beman, it's just I am personally
much more cautious in this type of situation (equally I am far less
cautious than many on this list in many other situations).

Also, it's entirely possible much more testing has been done than I
am aware of - after all I am not on the steering commitee. If that is
so, my caution is unwarranted and I have been talking out of my ass.

> Thanks for your list of possible problem areas. It gave me something
> additional things to look for.

You're welcome.


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