LLVM Developers Plotting Path Forward For Moving To A New Git Branch Name

Written by Michael Larabel in LLVM on 19 June 2020 at 06:34 PM EDT. 63 Comments
LLVM is the latest open-source project working to shift their Git development terminology away from the "master" branch naming and to something more inclusive. Nearly everyone who voiced their opinion so far were in favor of this change, but there still are open matters such as what to call their new main development branch, the involved technical costs, and how quickly such a transition should happen.

Today on LLVM-dev has been a very lively discussion over calling their main LLVM Git repository branch "master" and moving to something else like "trunk", "dev", or "main" as some of the leading contenders.

Many seem to be in favor of calling the "master" branch as "trunk", just as it was during the days of LLVM being developed using Subversion until the recent Git transition. Arm though expressed some apprehension using "trunk" as the branch name since they already are using a trunk branch for other purposes.

Meanwhile a seemingly smaller number of developers have voiced their interest in calling it the "dev" branch. Upstream Git and GitHub are still deciding upon their new default terminology, which may or may not be aligned, but aiming to be more inclusive in any case.

LLVM project founder Chris Lattner commented and supports the move away from "master" branch naming. Rather than coming up with a new branch name on their own, he proposes waiting to see what GitHub/Git upstream plans to do for their default branch naming of new repositories. Then once that is decided, align with their decision to avoid any unnecessary confusion.

Other developers have been onboard with the idea as well of waiting to see the upstream Git/GitHub decision and also the possibility of the change happening following an LLVM release for a smoother transition process. Meanwhile others are calling for immediate action and not wanting to hold up on the name change for Git/GitHub to come to a decision or waiting until after the LLVM 11.0 release later in the year but seeing action as soon as a week or two. To "immediate" action there was some push back given the technical costs involved and not wanting to unexpectedly break any build/pull scripts used by the project upstream or the many downstream users.

The matter was also raised of replacing LLVM's whitelist/blacklist terminology with allowlist/denylist, which looks like it will happen soon in the LLVM codebase. It was also raised by one developer of potentially avoiding the words "work" and "job" since in Russian and other slavic languages it can be translated in part to "slave."

Besides coming to a consensus over the new branch name, the main technical cost involved is having to update all of their build bots / CI infrastructure for pulling from the new branch name as well as any other scripts out there relying upon the existing branch name in Git -- including those in use by organizations outside of LLVM itself that may not otherwise be aware of the pending name change. Stay tuned for finding out the new branch name and when that transition will happen.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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