RFC 71: Migration to GitHub


Even Rouault




March 2018


Adopted, implemented


It is proposed that the GDAL source tree and ticket database moves from the OSGeo hosted Subversion repository/Trac database to GitHub. Full source code history will be preserved. To make the migration simpler, existing tickets will remain in OSGeo Trac and will not be migrated to GitHub. New tickets will have to be opened in GitHub.


  1. It is considered that most developers interested by GDAL development are nowadays more used to git than Subversion, and the use of Subversion as the main source control management makes contributions less attractive.

  2. The https://github.com/OSGeo/gdal mirror has existed since 2012 and has over time become the preferred way for contributors without direct SVN access (or even those with SVN access) to submit their contributions, in particular because of the coupling with the continuous integratations services of Travis-CI and !AppVeyor that enable maintainers to check that the contribution doesn't introduce known regressions + the friendly way of commenting a pull request. However the manual porting of !GitHub pull requests to Trac is a bit painful for GDAL maintainers.

  3. GitHub has become the de-facto hosting platform for a lot of open-source projects.

Details of the migration

  1. The existing GitHub git repository will be pushed to https://github.com/OSGeo/gdal_svn_mirror_backup (eventually removed once we are confident further steps have not messed things up)

  2. As GitHub also uses the syntax "#1234" to link commit messages to its issues that was also used in Trac, currently when following links in !GitHub that point to a Trac ticket, one ends up to a non-existing or unrelated !GitHub issue/pull request. So the commit messages of the current !GitHub mirror will be rewritten by a "git filter-branch --msg-filter 'python rewrite.py' -- --all" command to replace "#1234" with "https://trac.osgeo.org/gdal/ticket/1234"

  3. The git 'trunk' branch will be renamed 'master' to follow git best practices

  4. The existing 'tag/x.y.z' branches will be replaced by proper git tags.

  5. This modified repository will be forced push to https://github.com/OSGeo/gdal This will have the consequence of invalidating existing pull request or forks of repository that will have to be rebased to the new one. From that point, "svn commit" should be avoided and changes should go to the git repository.

  6. The cron job on the OSGeo server that refreshes the website from sources will be modified to pull from !GitHub rather than SVN.

  7. Ticket creation permissions will be removed in Trac. Modification or closing of existing open tickets will still be possible. From that point, if closing a Trac ticket, one will have manually to reference the github commit.

  8. The settings of the GDAL GitHub repository will be changed allow tickets to be filed. Labels and Milestones will be populated with relevant content

Further actions required, in no particular order, and for which help from other GDAL developers/contributors would be welcome:

  • Most visible Trac wiki documentation will have to be revised to point to GitHub

  • HOWTO-RELEASE will have to be revised.

  • Existing SVN committers still interested in the project will have to request commit access to the GitHub repo.

  • Some support from OSGeo SAC will be needed to turn the GDAL SVN repository to read-only (a complementary option would be to rename it to gdal_historical so that people pulling from the old one are well aware of the migration by having their scripts 'cleanly' error out)

  • Some guidelines on how we intend to use git/GitHub features will have to be rewritten.

Exit strategy

GitHub is a closed platform. In case it would close or would start askin to pay unreasonable fees, some backup strategy of the tickets would be needed. The solutions might be:

Not covered by this RFC

  • Migration of Trac wiki content to GitHub wiki is not in the scope of this RFC. Can be done later

Voting history

+1 from HowardB, JukkaR, KurtS and EvenR