Stable branch reformatting issues

Chase Douglas chase.douglas at
Mon Mar 19 11:54:32 PDT 2012

Hi all,

I see that Jeremy is interested in reformatting the stable branches at
the same time we reformat the master development branch. While I
understand how this would be very helpful, I'm worried about it.

In Ubuntu we have about 25 patches against the X server that we carry. I
believe we are reviewing those patches each cycle and upstreaming them
as we go, but our delta from upstream is non-trivial. I imagine other
distros are similar, but I could be wrong.

If we reformat the stable branches, in Ubuntu we will have to either:

* Make a huge one-time change to each of our released packages:
  - One big patch for the upstream reformatting
  - Refreshes for every distro patch
  - Perform checks to ensure nothing is broken (maybe Keith's assembly
    checker will help)
* Leave our packages as-is and deformat new upstream stable changes

We would need to make the decision above for each of our released
packages. We have 5 releases in development or in support right now,
though I'm not sure how many would be impacted.

Every distro will have to refresh it's patches at least by the time 1.13
is released, so the effort there is of less concern. However, distro
releases are usually based on upstream stable branches, and large-scale
changes after release or even after feature freeze are frowned upon. As
an example, I don't think the Ubuntu stable release or feature freeze
criteria allow for code format changes, so we would have to get a big
exception or leave our packages and deformat upstream stable changes.

If every distro is in the same position and can't update released
packages with huge formatting rewrites, then the upstream stable
reformatting would be pointless. As such, I don't think it would be wise
to reformat the stable branches unless a majority of downstreams are in


-- Chase

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