Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

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yorik
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Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by yorik »

Some of us (basically @chennes and me) have undertaken to explore migrating our issues from the current mantisBT tracker at https://tracker.freecadweb.org to github issues. That is, an "issues" tab under https://github.com/FreeCAD/FreeCAD

While it might seem dangerous (our mantisBT tracker is hosted ans controlled by ourselves, while github is a proprietary platform), lots of veteran developers have asked for it, and I'll try to explain the motives why we think it's a good idea below:
  • First let me say I also used to think it was a very bad idea. Github is now owned by Microsoft, which has a history of killing interesting projects and features if they hinder some other of their projects. And as much as our git-hosted FreeCAD code is safe there, because it is duplicated hundreds of times all over the web, if github behave badly we just decide another platform is our "official" address and we're done, the same doesn't apply to issues, which only exist on the platform, and therefore could become hostage.
  • I changed my mind mainly because there is a reliable API, which allows us to extract and backup all the issues from github. I created a backup script for it, that will maintain an updated copy of all the contents of issues and pull requests at all times. If we can get out anytime, I agree with the move. (Next things to check: 1) that this scripts still holds after importing the 800+ mantis issues and 2) how easy it is to import it to another platform like gitlab, should the need arise).
  • Our mantis BT tracker is full of problems: It is annoying to manage, hard to upgrade, plugins are unreliable and the most useful ones (git integration) have stopped working correctly since a long time) and not much customizable. It is annoying and a bit of a hassle to use. In fact, developers don't use it much. Also, we never managed to make its API work.
  • As a result, even if it is controlled by ourselves, the data contained in our tracker is at risk. We don't have a good backup solution for it, it depends on a mysql databasse, so it doesn't exist as "physical" files, that we can keep a copy somewhwere. So even if it is controlled by us, it is in danger. That danger would be much much less on github
  • We all like working with github and already work a lot on github (pull requests), so that would be really refreshing to have everything centered in one place, with issues-to-PR communication (on github PRs are issues too), easy referencing of code and commits, etc. We believe this would have a good, positive impact on issues handling (we currently have 800+ "stalled" issues under layers of dust)
  • We have looked at other self-hosted solutions besided Mantis, like bugzilla, etc. We always come to the conclusion that there is no really obvious improvement over mantis (allsuffer from similar problems), and if we stay self-hosted, then let's stay with mantis.
  • @chennes is experimenting with importing Mantis issues here: https://github.com/chennes/MantisToGitHub/issues and this looks pretty good so far.
  • Removing the tracker would be one less self-hosted app to maintain, which, apart from freeing up some of @kkremitzki's load, would also raise the overall portability of the FreeCAD assets. Our issues data become something we keep somewhere, and can transfer anywhere else.
  • There are many interesting command-line or local tools to work with github issues, such as https://github.com/stephencelis/ghi or https://github.com/muesli/gitty or the official github command line tool at https://github.com/cli/cli and it is really enjoyable to be able to work with issues the same way we work with code.
So the plan is:

1) Revising the existing bugs. For this wee need your help. When you have time, step over the open bugs and:
A) If you cannot reproduce the bug with FreeCAD 0.19.3, please leave a note that the bug can be closed. (If you have the permission to close bugs, do so immediately.)
B) If you need more info from the bug reporter, ask for it. If the bug reporter was already asked at least 3 months ago but did not reply, please add a note to close the bug or close it immediately.
2) Finish testing and make sure everything looks fine, and issues are fully backupable
3) Put the mantis tracker in read-only mode
4) Copy the open issues over to github
5) Add a link at every open mantis issue pointing to its new URL at github
6) Keep the mantis instance running in read-only mode to not loose the existing links out there

I fear this post might be the start of a flame war, I expect -hope- a majority of contributors here to be happy about the move, so so please refrain from screaming if otherwise :) , keep the discussion civilized and useful, so we can tailor things better and maybe include points we forgot to consider.
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apeltauer
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by apeltauer »

:+1:
openBrain
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by openBrain »

Good thing from my point of view. Will considerably ease traceability between issues and contributions. ;)

Will the migration be "bijective" enough so [issue] tag of forum can point to GH?
Is that plan to have a dedicated group of trusted members that can manage issue workflow?
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chennes
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by chennes »

I’d also like to request that over the next several weeks, anyone who wants to help out with the transition go to Mantis and help us re-test as many bugs as possible to make sure we only import ones that are still relevant. In cases where there is not enough information to reproduce the bug, post a request for the necessary info in Mantis. Ideally we’d like only genuinely active bugs to be imported, so this will help us do some house cleaning. The current target is to do the migration in mid-to-late January.
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chennes
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by chennes »

openBrain wrote: Thu Dec 23, 2021 12:37 pm Will the migration be "bijective" enough so [issue] tag of forum can point to GH?
This is a little tricky because we want old issues to continue to work, and the current plan is to migrate only open issues to Mantis, not our total historical ticket database. The real solution (for best usability anyway) is probably some middleware web app that sort of seamlessly detects where to send a tracker.freecad.org link. Needless so say I have not written this yet :).
Chris Hennes
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by openBrain »

chennes wrote: Thu Dec 23, 2021 3:39 pm This is a little tricky because we want old issues to continue to work
Thx. Was just a question, I still think migrating is worth. ;)
TheMarkster
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by TheMarkster »

This could also encourage more users to contribute PR's because you would need to signup for github to create an issue and if you have a fix for it, then submitting a PR would be easy(er).

As it relates to being held hostage by the evil empire we must always be prepared to pack up and move at a moments notice. Is there a destination in mind? It could make sense to create a placeholder account in some potential destination places so the domain is available. The readme in the destination would be simple link back to the current github account.
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yorik
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by yorik »

TheMarkster wrote: Thu Dec 23, 2021 5:57 pm Is there a destination in mind? It could make sense to create a placeholder account in some potential destination places so the domain is available.
We already have an "official" freecad account (which currently work as mirrors) on gitlab and codeberg. Those could be used immediately if needs arises.
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Kunda1
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by Kunda1 »

+1
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gheja
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Re: Migrating from Mantis to Github issues

Post by gheja »

Just a heads up about the GitHub About section still pointing to Mantis:
Issues are managed on our own bug tracker at https://www.freecadweb.org/tracker

This is my first post/reply, please let me know if I should submit an Issue there or a separate post here. Thanks!
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