Gerrit v3.0 is here

GerritSprintHackathon2019.photo

Gerrit v3.0 has been released during the last Spring Hackathon at Google in Munich involving over 20+ developers for one week.

It can be downloaded from www.gerritcodereview.com/3.0.html and installed on top of any existing Gerrit v2.16/NoteDb installations. Native packages have been distributed through the standard channels and upgrading is as simple as shutting down the service, running the Rpm, Deb or Dnf upgrade command and starting again.

You can also try Gerrit v3.0 using Docker by simply running the following command:

docker run -ti -p 8080:8080 -p 29418:29418 gerritcodereview/gerrit:3.0.0

This article goes through the whole history of the Gerrit v3.0 development and highlights the differences between the previous releases.

Milestone for the Gerrit OpenSource Project

Finally, after 6 years, 18k commits and 1M lines of code written by 260+ contributors from 60+ different organizations, Gerrit v3.0 is finally out.

The event is a fundamental milestone for the project for two reasons:

  • The start of a new journey for Gerrit, without the legacy code of the old GUI based on Google Web Toolkit and without any relational database. Gerrit is now fully based on a Git repository and nothing else.
  • The definition of a clear community organization, with the foundation of a new Engineering Steering Committee and the role of Community Manager.

The new structure will drive the product forward for the years to come and will help to define a clear roadmap to bring back Gerrit at the center of the Software Development Pipeline.

Evolution vs. revolution

When a product release increments the first major number, it typically introduces a series of massive breaking changes and, unfortunately, a period of instability. Gerrit, however, is NOT a typical OpenSource product, because since the beginning it has been based on rigorous Code Review that brought stability and reliability from its initial inception back in 2008. Gerrit v3.0 was developed during the years by following a rigorous backward compatibility rule that has made Gerrit one of the most reliable and scalable Code Review systems on the planet.

For all the existing Gerrit v2.16 installations, the v3.0 will be much more similar to a rather minor upgrade and may not even require any downtime and interruption of the incoming read/write traffic, assuming that you have at least a high-availability setup. How is this possible? Magic? Basically, yes, it’s a “kind of magic” that made this happen, and it is all thanks to the new repository format for storing all the review meta-data: NoteDb.

Last but not least, all the feature that Gerrit v3.0 brings to the table, have been implemented iteratively over the last 6 years and released gradually from v2.13 onwards. Gerrit v3.0 is the “final step” of the implementation that fills the gaps left open in the past v2.16 release.

With regards to statistics of the changes from v2.16 to v3.0, it is clear that the code-base has been basically stabilized and cleaned up, as you can see from the official GerritForge Code Analytics extracted from analytics.gerrithub.io .

  • 1.5k commits from 63 contributors worldwide
  • 62k lines added and 72k lines removed
  • Google, CollabNet, and GerritForge are the top#3 organizations that invested in developing this release

In a nutshell, the Gerrit code-base has shrunk of 10k lines of code, compared to v2.16. So, instead of talking of what’s new in v3.0, we should instead describe what inside the 72k lines removed.

Removal of the GWT UI

The GWT UI, also referred to as “Old UI” has been around since the inception of the project back in 2008.

Gerrit.GWT-UI

Back in 2008, it seemed a good idea to build Gerrit UI on top of GWT, a Web Framework founded by Google two years earlier and aimed at reusing the same Java language for both backend and the Ajax front-end.

However, starting in 2012, things started to change. The interest of the overall community in GWT decreased, as clearly shown by the StackOverflow trends.

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 23.34.42

In 2015, Andrew Bonventre from the Chromium Project, one of the major users of the Gerrit Code Review platform, apart from the Android Developers, presented the new prototype of the Gerrit Code Review UI, based on the Polymer project, with the code-name of PolyGerrit, and merged as change #72086.

commit ba698359647f565421880b0487d20df086e7f82a
Author: Andrew Bonventre <andybons@google.com>
Date: Wed Nov 4 11:14:54 2015 -0500

Add the skeleton of a new UI based on Polymer, PolyGerrit

This is the beginnings of an experimental new non-GWT web UI developed
using a modern JS web framework, http://www.polymer-project.org/. It
will coexist alongside the GWT UI until it is feature-complete.

The functionality of this change is light years from complete, with
a full laundry list of things that don't work. This change is simply
meant to get the starting work in and continue iteration afterward.

The contents of the polygerrit-ui directory started as the full tree of
https://github.com/andybons/polygerrit at 219f531, plus a few more
local changes since review started. In the future this directory will
be pruned, rearranged, and integrated with the Buck build.

Change-Id: Ifb6f5429e8031ee049225cdafa244ad1c21bf5b5

The PolyGerrit project introduced two major innovations:

  • Gerrit REST-API: for the first time the interaction of the code-review process has been formalized in stable and well-documented REST-API that can be used as “backend contract” for the design of the new GUI
  • The PolyGerrit front-end Team: for the first time, a specific experienced Team focused on user experience and UI workflow was dedicated to rethink and redesign iteratively all the components of the Gerrit Code Review interactions.

The GWT UI and PolyGerrit lived in the same “package” from v2.14 onwards for two years, with the users left with the option to switch between the two. Then in 2018 with v2.16 the PolyGerrit UI became the “default” interface and thus renamed just “Gerrit” UI.

With Gerrit v3.0, the entire GWT code-base in Gerrit has been completely removed with the epic change by David Ostrovsky “Remove GWT UI“, which deleted 33k lines of code in one single commit.

The new Polymer-based UI of Gerrit Code Review is not very different than the one seen in Gerrit v2.16, but includes more bug fixes and is 100% feature complete, including the projects administrations and ACLs configuration.

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 22.58.13

Removal of ReviewDb

Gerrit v3.0 does not have a DBMS anymore, not even for storing its schema version as it happened in v2.16. This means that almost everything gets stored in the Git repositories.

The journey started back in October 2013, when Shawn Pearce gave to Dave Borowitz the task to convert all the review meta-data managed by Gerrit into a new format inside the Git repository, called NoteDb.

After two years of design and implementation, Dave Borowitz presented NoteDb at the Gerrit User Summit 2015 and called Gerrit v3.0 the release that will be fully working without the need of any other external DBMS (see the full description of the talk at https://storage.googleapis.com/gerrit-talks/summit/2015/NoteDB.pdf).

Google started adopting NoteDb in parallel with ReviewDb on their own internal setup and in June 2017, the old changes table was definitely removed. However, there was more in the todo-list: at the Gerrit User Summit 2017, Dave Borowitz presented the final roadmap to make ReviewDb finally disappear from everyone’s Gerrit server.

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 23.18.28

In the initial plans, the first version with NoteDb fully working should have been v2.15. However, things went a bit differently and a new minor release was needed in 2018 to make the format really stable and reliable with v2.16.

Gerrit v2.16 is officially the last release that contains both code-bases and allows the migration from ReviewDb to NoteDb.

Dave Borowitz used the hashtag “RemoveReviewDb” to allow anyone to visualize the huge set of commits that removed 35k lines of code complexity from the Gerrit project.

Migrating to Gerrit v3.0, step-by-step

Gerrit v3.0 requires NoteDb as pre-requisite: if you are on v2.16 with NoteDb, the migration to v3.0 is straightforward and can be done with the following simple steps:

  1. Shutdown Gerrit
  2. Upgrade Gerrit war and plugins
  3. Run Gerrit init with the “batch” option
  4. Start Gerrit

If you are running Gerrit in a high-availability configuration, the above process can be executed on the two nodes individually, with a rolling restart and without interrupting the incoming traffic.

If you are running an earlier version of Gerrit and you are still on ReviewDb, then you should upgrade in three steps:

  1. Migrate from your version v2.x (x < v2.16) to v2.16 staying on ReviewDb. Make sure to upgrade through all the intermediate versions. (Example: migrate from v2.13 to v2.14, then from v2.14 to v2.15 and finally from v2.15 to v2.16)
  2. Convert v2.16 from ReviewDb to NoteDb
  3. Migrate v2.16 to v3.0

The leftover of a DBMS stored onto H2 files

Is Gerrit v3.0 completely running without any DBMS at all? Yes and no. There is some leftover that isn’t necessarily associated with the Code Review meta-data and thus did not make sense to be stored in NoteDb.

  • Persistent storage for in-memory caches.
    Some of the Gerrit caches store their status on the filesystem as H2 tables, so that Gerrit can save a lot of CPU time after a restart reusing the previous in-memory cache status.
  • Reviewed flag of changes.
    Represents the flag that enables the “bold” rendering of a change, storing the update status for every user. It is stored by default on the filesystem as H2 table, however, can be alternatively stored on a remote DBMS or potentially managed by a plugin.

New core plugins

Some of the plugins that have been initially distributed only with the Native Packages and Docker versions are now an integral part of the WAR distribution as well:

  • delete-project
    which allows removing a project from Gerrit and the associated changes.
  • gitiles
    a lightweight code-browser created by Dave Borowitz based on JGit
  • plugin-manager
    the interface to discover, download and install Gerrit plugins
  • webhooks
    the HTTP-based remote trigger to schedule remote builds on CI systems or active any other service from a Gerrit event

The above four plugins already existed before Gerrit v3.0, but they were not included in the gerrit.war.

Farewell to Dave Borowitz and the PolyGerrit Team

After having completed the feature parity between GWT and PolyGerrit, the original PolyGerrit Team members left the Gerrit Code Review project.

Their journey came to an end with the release of the new shiny Polymer-based Gerrit UI. The PolyGerrit Team contributed 45k lines of code on 5.3k commits in 4 years.

Then the last event unfolded during the release of Gerrit v3.0: Dave Borowitz announced that he was leaving the Gerrit Code Review project. I defined the event like “Linus Torvalds announcing he was abandoning the Linux Kernel project”.

Dave Borowitz contributed 316k lines of code on 3.6k commits over 36 repositories in 8 years. He helped also the development of the new Gerrit Multi-Site plugin by donating its Zookeeper-based implementation of a global ref-database.

On behalf of GerritForge and the Gerrit Code Review community, I would like to thank all the past contributors and maintainers that made PolyGerrit and NoteDb code-base into Gerrit: Dave, Logan, Kasper, Becky, Viktar, Andrew and Wyatt.

Luca Milanesio – GerritForge
Gerrit Code Review Maintainer, Release Manager
and member of the Engineering Steering Committee

Security: do not use Git v2 in Gerrit 2.16

Git protocol v2 was released as an experimental feature in Gerrit v2.16. However, the introduction came with a quite serious unnoticed bug: all refs are visible to all users,
regardless of the ACL configuration, giving to any registered users the complete access to
of all branches, tags and meta-data refs, their associated commit SHA1s and
the ability to fetch them locally … ouch!

What is the Security impact?

If you were using Gerrit v2.16 for OpenSource projects, not much: everything is visible to everyone anyway, so what’s the point?

For not-so-OpenSource projects, well, it cannot be used as-is in production for sure. It was flagged as experimental after all because it was intended more for an early adopter to “have a go with it” rather than using it at full scale in production for sensitive projects.

See the full details of the security advisory at:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/repo-discuss/z_QCw2QHbbc

How did we get there?

The problem is mainly located in the JGit implementation of the refs filtering for the Git protocol v2. Gerrit ACLs are enforced using the JGit’s AdvertiseRefsHook which calls
RefFilter, where a Gerrit-specific implementation of it processes the access permissions associated with a user.

The AdvertiseRefsHook is usually set by UploadPack.setAdvertiseRefsHook
but, if Gerrit has the protocol v2 enabled in the gerrit.config and the client
is leveraging the git protocol v2 feature, the hook is not invoked. The bug has been already fixed in JGit but, of course, before enabling the support again in v2.16 we need to be sure that no other vulnerabilities are exposed.

What if I have Gerrit v2.16 in production?

On Gerrit v2.16 and v2.16.1, the Git protocol v2 was disabled anyway by default.

If you had it enabled in production by mistake (or bravery?), then just set it as disabled explicitly.

[receive]
enableProtocolV2 = false

If you can, just upgrade to v2.16.2 whenever possible, where the Git protocol v2 is always
disabled.

What’s next?

Git protocol v2 is coming back to Gerrit v2.16 very soon, possibly as early as next week or the one after, ready for Christmas 🙂

The fix is ready, but the Gerrit and JGit teams are working hard to put more specific security testing in place so that the new reintroduction can be safer to be rolled out.

Merry Christmas to everyone … and hope that Git Protocol v2 will be back with us very soon, just in time for the end of year celebrations.

Luca Milanesio – Gerrit Code Review Maintainer.

Shawn Pearce: a true leader

Shawn Pearce Memorial Fund

Shawn Pearce was the founder of JGit and Gerrit Code Review OpenSource projects. I am truly honored to have worked with him on the same project, even if we were sitting on the opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean and working in offices with different company names.

Many times people talk about real leaders, but having known someone like Shawn for over eight years makes a big difference. We both started with the same ideas back in 2008 even before meeting each other. Shawn had the goal of making Git scalable for its adoption in the Android OpenSource project and started by rewriting the Rietvield project in pure Java, while I had the purpose of extending the use of Git version control to large Enterprises in the world, with the GitEnterprise.com service.

Embracing ideas

We first met face-to-face in 2011 at the GitTogether in Mountain View CA at Googleplex. Shawn was the initiator of this famous “unconference.” It was an incubator of ideas and creating minds that were spending time together to exchange and enrich each one experience with new revolutionary concepts.

I was new, and I did not know anyone from the project. My ideas were very different from whatever discussed by the people in the room. Then I stood up and proposed to change the architecture of the project and make it fully pluggable, inspired by the experience and success of Jenkins CI.

Shawn did not have a clue who I was, where I was coming from, what was my experience or my working history: he just answered “yeah, that makes sense. Would you like to come and help us?”. And so I did and we worked together for a week where my journey with Shawn all started.

Inspiring people

What I liked about Shawn was his unique style of leading the project. He never announced or presented himself with glamour at the conferences, but everyone knew who he was and when he entered the room always captured the interest and attention of everyone.

The passion of talking about the challenges he was facing with the project itself and always pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved was contagious. He never said to the people what to do and still left everyone to make their mistakes to learn and improve.

Shawn was the seed that made the project grow far beyond its initial size and scope. He was able to take promising young people like Dave Borowitz, who started just a year before as an intern at Google and let him rewrite the entire backend to implement NoteDb.

Humanity first

fullsizeoutput_4.jpg

Shawn was bright and genius, but what inspired me most of all was his passion for his children and his lovely family. He was used to having his son coming over the weekend to our Hackathons as well and be close to his dad. He merged his family life with his daily work and passion. The best moment I remember was when we had a “hacking barbecue” at his new house in San Jose facing the beautiful hills at sunset, with Noah playing in the garden and hugging his loving dad.

He always looked at combining the needs of his family and the presence and duties of the Gerrit project, which remembered everyone that people are the most critical part of it.

Dedication

ShawnPearce.Commits.Analytics.png

The loss of Shawn was for a lot of people unexpected: he kept on posting code and feedback on the mailing lists until his very last days. He implemented brand-new support for OpenSSH in Gerrit back in November 2017 and kept in touch with the community and contributors until Christmas. His last commit was on the 3rd of January 2018, always committed until the very end of his life.

commit ea974d725ed1d5d5ffa1461bef7986168819dee3
Merge: e650e06 bd42cc7
Author: Shawn Pearce <sop@google.com>

Date:   Wed Jan 3 01:06:03 2018 +0000
    Merge "Prolog cookbook: attribute success to uploader, not author"

He never disclosed publicly his illness and how severe it was. He lived his life with the best of his ideas and passions till the very end, with his family, his project and all the things he loved the most.

Shawn Legacy

When great leaders like Shawn are leaving, there is always the danger to leave a void. I believe it is not possible to replace Shawn because he was a genuinely unique leader in its style and passion. What he has created, however, is a vibrant and healthy community that is out there and will continue with the values that he taught us with his professional and personal inspiring life.

What Shawn has created he defined a “healthy live project” which will be able to continue beyond his life and our existence. See below the 10 years of the project in numbers.

GerritCodeReview.numbers.png

Gratitude

We are all grateful for Shawn has done to us and all the future contributors and adopters of Git, JGit and the Gerrit Code Review.

I am a lucky person to have known and worked with such an inspiring leader. Thanks, Shawn.

 

Gerrit User Summit: Multimaster at Qualcomm

My name is Martin Fick and I work at Qualcomm as Gerrit Administrator and I have one of the key historical Gerrit Maintainers since its very beginning.

I am going to talk about my experience in introducing a truly Multi-Master Gerrit setup at Qualcomm and learn about the findings and the experiences we made to make that happen.

Let’s start with a question so that we can make this session very interactive from the start.

Q: Who would like to have multi-master in Gerrit Code Review? Why would you need it on your server? Failover? High-availability? Both?

A: All of that but also latency. We have developers all around the world, and we would have at least two datacentres, one in the States and another one in Europe, we were looking for a multi-site multi-master to descreen latency between the sites.

A: (Luca Milanesio – GerritForge). Scalability and elasticity that allows to grow and shrink the instances based on the incoming traffic. Additionally, we would like to have zero downtime and rolling upgrades without stopping the services when moving between minor versions of Gerrit.

Q: (Han-Wen Nienhuys – Google) Let me reverse the question: who is running multi-master and would like to have a single master?

A: (Dave Borowitz – Google) I would love if we had a single server that was powerful enough to serve all our traffic and no latency and we had not had to deal with slow database backends and replication lags between sites.

Q: Does anybody need multi-master? How are you surviving today if you needed it?

A: Right now we maintain a second master server for DR purposes, is a passive standby backup server. If our master went down, we would have to failover to it.

A: We would need multi-master soon. Currently, we are experimenting the HA-plugin as a fallback solution, but we are working towards achieving multi-master so that we can scale up, which is mainly our primary concern here.

Gerrit Multi-Master requirements

There are needs that I hear from the audience, high-availability, scalability. Not necessarily the same requirements and I believe that multi-master would address some of those. What’s important is that everyone is focussing on their needs and think about how they can approach those first instead of going to the “big everything” solution.

We have high-availability as an issue somewhere, so we want better availability. We have some scalability issues as well. We do have some site issue at times but we most generally deal with those through slaves all over the world, between 50 and 100 and we primarily have one data-center in San Diego USA. If that goes down, nobody is getting anything done even if Gerrit is up, that makes failing over to other sites not particularly useful right now.
Our current focus is on better availability and better scalability at one site.

Scalability problems at Qualcomm

We have a pretty hefty load, we have around 6k projects, but our load is enormous on a few large projects. They are not massive projects but they are significant from the standpoint of having many changes on them, and there are a lot of users using those projects. Mainly a few kernel projects are used, and even if there are many other little projects, most of the users are pushing to those single projects.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 14.05.47.png

We are a single tenant server, so we are primarily dealing with that. Other people need other Gerrit servers, and they manage their own, but at the moment we don’t have to deal with those. However, if we had a more scalable system, then I believe multi-tenancy would become the next problem on the horizon. If I had a great scalable system why am I creating this instances here and there I would instead put all of them on the central system so that I can manage one system. But then I would have the problem that Gerrit doesn’t currently handle multi-tenancy well. Maybe is because we don’t have a multi-master system and then we are not ready to put everything on one server anyway. If we are starting having a multi-master solution, then multi-tenancy is then something that would become more interesting.

On one server we have around 6k projects, the main project has about 1/2M refs, and we have in total 2.3M changes on the entire server.

I like to break down the scaling topic into two different ideas: horizontal scaling and vertical scaling. In our area, we need to scale vertically more, while horizontally is where you have lots of projects and users and vertical they are more concentrated on a few projects.

Stairway to Gerrit Multi-Master

Here is what we decided to do and we decided to build it incrementally. These are the four phases in which we have approached it.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 14.07.06.png

Step #1: Active/Passive

We have an active/passive standby, and we started doing regular failover. Let’s face it, if you have a failover machine that you probably have never failed over to, it would probably not work.
We have so much software around the Gerrit ecosystem, we have a lot of scripts, cronjobs and things that run on our server, and they use a lot of software, there are a lot of Python hooks and stuff like that.
All that software gets updated. If the failover machine is not updated through the same process and tested, there could be missing dependencies, wrong package versions, etc. Maybe some hacks or links on the filesystem that is pointing over here and not over there or maybe filesystem positions are different and things like that.

Before even dreaming about multi-master you need to have a system to have your server systems consistent. If you don’t think that your organization can do that and make two systems precisely the same, you are not going to be anywhere near ready to start doing multi-master. If you are a large organization that has a lot of history, it’s a more significant challenge. If you are starting from scratch it is a lot easier, think about that from the start: how can I focus on repeatability and deploying the same stack of software to multiple servers, and then concentrate on failing over.

Sometimes this year around February/March, we started failing over, and now we are trying to fail over weekly. We have been doing that for getting the Team used to it, to ensure that our processes work.

Step #2: Active/Hot Standby

Then we moved to hot-standby. The difference here is that the passive node had all the software in place but was not necessarily running. So now we just started the other server, but only nobody was pointing to it. The active standby gives you the opportunity to test the software you have around your Gerrit master. If you have hooks or cronjobs, try to run them on the failover server, even if it is not the active master. Do you have the coordination needed? Do you have locks in place? If you are doing repository repacking, can you do it on both servers at the same time? Do they conflict with each other?

The assumption is that you have a shared repository on the backend such as an NFS and thus activities like repacking need that coordination. And you need that stuff to work before you can go to multi-master.

Step #3: Active/Active with Round-Robin DNS (low tech)

The third step which is where we are at is active-active. We chose this as a simple low-tech and easy to backup solution: round-robin DNS. It sucks from a load-balancing standpoint and for the failover recovery, but it gets us having traffic going to two servers. We have been running that for quite some time now, 15h!

Step #4: Active/Active with Load Balancer(s)

And the next step is of course to have a load balancer. We have a load-balancer setup that we use for slaves. It is much harder to back out because you have to set IPs to have DNS in place pointing to them, but we plan to transition to that.

What Gerrit data to share in a multi-master setup?

In a single-site Gerrit multi-master setup, you necessarily need to have shared Git repositories, you don’t have to share your H2 caches because you need them on each of them and then the ReviewDb needs to be shared until it goes away with Gerrit Ver. 2.15.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 15.09.10.png

Sharing sessions

There is other stuff you need to share, like web sessions.
When you log in on with your web-browser, and you hit one machine, your browser keeps track that you are logged in with a cookie on your browser while the server keeps track of it on a shared persisted session. If your next hit goes to the other server, you don’t want that user to be kicked out, so you need to share the server session data across nodes.

In 2014 we developed the websession-flatfile plugin, and that helps taking care of sharing web sessions, and I know that a lot of people used that already for HA solutions. It is straightforward, just stores the sessions on the filesystem and if you are using Git repositories on NFS, just put them there also and share them.

Sharing events

The other thing that you require to share is the events data. Our events need persistence on the server side, and we share them on the filesystem too. That allows to share them across masters also. If you connect to one of our masters through SSH, you get events from both of the masters. It’s a poor man’s sharing, and it is a simple set of files that is there and is shared. One thing that we realized using multi-master is that possibly your events are going to be disrupted much more. Even if you think you have high-availability, the client can only connect to one server. So it doesn’t matter if the cluster has even ten servers, the client is still attached to just one of them.

Generally speaking, most of us want to do rolling upgrades, and that would bring one server down, and that is one of the reasons we want to go to multi-master. If you are doing that frequently, you are disrupting your SSH clients and for those who are permanently connected such as the stream events even more.

I have contributed a new stream events plugin, and I merged it upstream during the last hackathon so you can download it if you want to look at it that helps you to store stuff. You get the added benefit to add some flags to get IDs on your events, and then replay IDs. Since they are stored on the filesystem, when you connect you can tell what the last ID was you connected to, and you can start receiving all the events after that. It does it through the same interface of the old stream events: you drop it in, and it works. It respects Gerrit permissions, just like the core plugin does so that the user that is connecting will see only the events of the projects and branches he has access to.

Coordinating other processes on the Gerrit nodes

As processes on our Servers, we have the Gerrit JVM, but also we have a lot of hooks, some of them run for a very long time. You need to get those to run on both servers. We have a few cronjobs that do repack, we have others that are checking if users are active or inactive on LDAP and update their status on Gerrit and check their e-mails to make sure that they are really what they are saying. And last we have some various maintenance cronjobs.

We focussed on the background stuff first because you need to get that done anyway and you can use it as a peace mill, and we tried to coordinate those first.

We went for the low-tech solution, sharing as much as possible via the filesystem.
Years ago I created a lock implementation based on the filesystem. It is similar to an echo PID to a file but is a lot more robust and can recover deadlocks as long as he can contact the other server using SSH and does all of that automatically.

We use that as a primary method to coordinate things, so on top of that, I have built a scripting queue executor for hooks. Years ago before multi-master, we had issues with hooks that were running for too long. If you remember how Gerrit manages hooks, runs from the Java process with a queue that runs only one at a time. If your hooks take for instance three minutes, you may build up a backlog on your server. If your node goes down, you lose that backlog. What we decided years ago is to have the java process just to write the hook onto a file, and then we have a schedule that runs them in the background. The queue in Gerrit is then always at zero, it takes less than a second to write to the file and then it is done.

We made that multi-master friendly, but because that queue uses the locks, it just worked when we run them on more than one master. One server can write the hooks to a file, and the other could be the one that runs it, and thus it distributes the load in that way.

Gerrit cluster events

If you think about it, there are a lot of things that are hooked into the startup, so I just put a little hook framework that checks if the servers are running and check if the other nodes are running by ssh-ing into them. That allows identifying that if the two servers are down and one goes up, then your node is starting, but also your cluster is starting. And if the other just comes up you are not starting the cluster, but you are starting the node. Then if one node goes down, you haven’t stopped the cluster but you’ve stopped only the node, and if the other goes down you have now stopped the cluster.

I have created a little hooks framework so that you can plug into those events, and then you can do things based on that. For example, at the startup of any node, we are going to start the hooks just to make sure that they are running. But then when you stop a node we disable them only when all the cluster goes down. If one node goes down, the hooks need to be still running because they can contact the other server because they go to the domain name and not to the local server.

We plan to use the hooks framework for replication too. Currently, if you are familiar with the replication plugin, at startup try to replicate all the project to all the slaves to see if they are up to date. The theory behind it is that data could have been modified behind Gerrit back and possibly because when the server was shut down, it was in the middle of doing something and never finished it. In a cluster situation, if at any time something goes down, it could have been in the middle of replicating, and the other node won’t know. When any server goes down, you don’t want to replication, but there is no need to do replication at startup when any node starts but only when the cluster starts.
If there is at least one node up, when the other comes up you don’t want to do global replication. You could replicate it, but it would be a just extra load.

Caching across the cluster nodes

You can do some coordination better than the simple filesystem, for instance, the high-availability plugin does one to one connection, you need to configure the IP of the one master to connect to the other and they connect between each other. That works for two, but it is not a super-scalable system, it is an N-squared problem. Eventually, you want to move to a pub/sub system for things like that.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet it is what we had to do coordination wise it is caching. The high-availability plugin evicts caches, but we don’t do that yet, we consider it an optimization. The primary remedy is just to reduce the time on the caches, mainly decreasing to the values that we had on our slaves. Mostly you probably have lower cache time on your slaves, to make sure that you are checking your projects’ ACLs and your group memberships a little more often than your master. The Gerrit master knows when things get changed without the need to evict any cache, but the slaves do not know when they changed. We made the masters a little bit dumber like the slaves because they know when they changed something but they don’t know when the other masters did. As long as you are fine with the delay, let’s say 5 minutes, then it means that when you change an ACL, it may take up to 5 minutes to be seen by the other masters.

Demo: make your laptop a multi-master Gerrit server

As anybody tried to run two Gerrit instances on the same laptop?
The first problem that you will see is that if you point them to the same H2 caches it will just not start. But if you run init on two different directories and you don’t share any data on the two masters, then you need to go and modify your gerrit.config file to say to start sharing something.

Out of the box sharing abilities

You need to reconfigure the Database to be the same, and you should use a PostgreSQL or MySQL because the default H2 won’t allow any sharing. I am running 2.14 here, and I did not share the indexes, so they are going to be out of date for this demo. The user’s sessions are not going to be shared, so you need to configure them manually to make them shared.
If you use the websession-flatfile plugin, it will put the sessions on the filesystem and then you can share them on the filesystem.
Lastly, the stream events won’t be shared, but most of the rest will just work.

I am about to run stream events on both masters, on the left screen I am connecting to port 29418 and on the right screen on port 29419.
Now if I go to the WebUI, on port 8080 I have the same master of the one on the left, and on port 8081 I have the one on the right.

I am going to create a project using the master on the left: I hit create and you can see that the events appear on the stream events on 29418 but not on 29419.

Now let’s try to go to port 8081, and I have to log in again because the websessions are not shared yet. I am showing to you what it does out of the box. The events now came on the right screen but not on the left one.

The two masters are just pointing to the same Git data: I am trying to make them multi-master, but so far it is not working very well.

Adding plugins to share events and sessions

So, let’s step in and start deploying some new plugins. What we did with the plugins is to create a new one called “events” so that when you want to get the distributed events, you just call “events stream” where “events” is the name of the plugin and stream is the command.

What we did in the core is to remap the actual “gerrit stream-events” to “gerrit stream-events-core” so that you can still get to it if you want and this helps for debugging. And then we pointed the “gerrit stream-events” to “events stream” so that users will automatically get the new plugin events so that to them in invisible.

I am now on 8081 on the browser over here, create a new project called ‘Luca’ and here we go, events are generated on both 29418 and 29419 ports. You may have noticed that showed up on the right first and then to the left.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 15.11.51.png

The events are on the filesystem, so the server just have to pull and here I am pulling every one second, but if something happened on this server, it will automatically catch-up on all the events generated on the other server as well.

The pulling is a backup: the events should come up even without a pulling mechanism. If we eventually had a pub/sub mechanism, I would still suggest keeping the pulling. Events are inherently unreliable and will get lost: you need a pulling mechanism in place if you want true reliability. Pulling is not great, but it is reliable. Events are effectively an optimisation for speed.

Let’s go back now to the other server at port 8080, and I did not have to login because the sessions are now shared and kept across masters. I create a ‘hugo’ project, and it came up pretty quick on both stream events on both masters.

So we have now shared web sessions and shared events. That’s in 2.14 but to make it a true multi-master you would need to share your indexes as well but as we are still on Gerrit v2.7 at Qualcomm, we don’t have an index and we don’t have to share it.

More exciting features in the events plugin

We’ve been using the events plugin in a single-master scenario since early this year, and it has been pretty reliable. I can show some other exciting features are in there. There are some new options here, IDs and resume after. If I give –ids and –resume-after 0, then it returns all the events since I started the instance, and I initialized it. Even if the server started and stopped a bunch of times, I still have all those events recorded. The IDs of the event have two parts of it: the left part is a UUID, and a right portion is a number. The idea being that this is your file store and this is your event store, a unique id associated with it. If someone deleted it on disk, it would create a new one. The idea is that if you had event 1M and someone has removed the file store, and you ask after event 1M, the new event store will restart at zero, and you get nothing. By having different Ids if you ask “give me all the events after ID 1M” then the UUID changed, and it realizes that you need everything. That allows giving some little extra safety. The plugin works on Gerrit v2.14, and I made some changes to make it work on v2.15 as well.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 15.12.54.png

Q: If you use Hugo’s high-availability plugin for the index, you basically can probably do multi-master right now. Why then are you guys not running multi-master? Are you guys concerned about NFS and ref-updates?

A: (Hugo Ares – Gerrit Maintainer) We use it in failover mode for the only reason that if you just have a little bit of load, you are safe and consistency will be kept. But if you push it a bit more then sharing Git repositories from different machines in write mode doesn’t work. If you have two computers writing precisely to the same Git repository to the same branch to the same file at the same time, you are going to lose history, and we know because it happened for us. That’s why we don’t do multi-master right now.

We have been writing for several years to the same repositories from different machines using NFS and we haven’t found any issues because we do repack all over. Perhaps we have different NFS settings or just a different implementation.

A: It did not happen that often, but at least a couple of times and that’s why we don’t do it. We mainly use the high-availability plugin for evicting the caches so that we don’t need to lower the cache settings because they are removed automatically and takes care of the events in a slightly different way and trigger the reindex of the other copies. We can keep nodes down during the day, and the people would not notice any difference at all, no deal. We are just a little bit reluctant to write from both nodes, but that’s the plan.

So here you are already on a “multi-master ready” setup. We hear about your reports of the JGit problems, and we will be keeping an eye on it. I am confident we can fix any issues that could show up over here, understanding how Git works on NFS. There are some tricks that we can pull from our code base.

The (in)famous NFS stale file handle bug

I know we fixed in the past a bug on JGit to handle NFS: when you delete a file, and someone else tries to access it from a different node gets a stale file handle error. That’s the main problem you are running into and we encountered and fixed some of those issues on JGit, and there are possibly a few more left here and there probably. The workaround to the stale file handle problem is just to make a copy or a hard link to it and keep it for a bit more time and remove it later, and then you are fine. Generally speaking is just the brief moment after the operation that would be a problem. It is what it would happen on a local file system anyway: if you delete a file that was still opened by other processes, the inode will stay there for a while until it gets unreferenced. That is the main issue we have been running into, and most of the other problems have been already fixed on JGit.

Distributed GC on a multi-master setup

We have a distributed Git GC and repacking relying on the SSH filesystem lock mechanism that I talked before. We basically have a list of repos to be GCed on the filesystem. All the nodes are saying: “I am going to this,” and another node says “Oh, good, then I am going to do this other one” and in this way, the GC load gets fairly well distributed and you get only a few hours to get through the whole thing. The lock allows preventing to step on each other toes when doing repacking. As far as the backup is concerned, we do a rsync and take database dumps, so that we don’t get inconsistent snapshots. You need to get your Database backup first and then the repositories next. If you are running an older version of the DataBase backup, you are generally safe because you don’t risk to have references to inexistent objects.

Questions

Q: I may have missed one point: the shared filesystem approach is assuming you are not doing multi-site, right? If you were doing multi-site, it would add extra latency that would introduce more problems and add more latency which was the problem you were trying to solve.

A: Yes, that’s correct. We are not interested in multi-site because there are a lot of downsides to it: it is a lot more complicated and makes your writes a lot slower while the reads would be faster. When you are pushing to gerrit-review.googlesource.com you realize that is not the best experience. You need to go to a quorum to the majority of the people around the world to get the agreement of the majority of them to finalize a git push operation.
Single-site is the first initial step for us, multi-site requires a very different approach. You need to get the Git objects to be replicated and then having somewhere to store the refs that have to be shared without a system like Google’s database that assures that the refs are replicated around the world.
It is not impossible; we made some experiments on it. A few years ago Dave Borowitz uploaded a ZooKeeper implementation that does the refs sharing, but that only does the refs. Then you need to do something for the Git objects replication. You could use the regular Git replication to do that, but you need to come up with a bit of magical ref scheme that does the job behind the scene.

A: (Luca Milanesio – GerritForge) Last year at the Gerrit Hackathon in Mountain View, we presented a new implementation of the “missing bit” you were talking about. It an OpenSource project based on JGit and leverages Apache Cassandra for the Git objects, while uses the ZooKeeper implementation for the refs you mentioned. We are making a lot of progress on the project and it will soon be possibly THE solution for Gerrit Multi-Site.

Q: (Luca Milanesio – GerritForge) We found out and fixed recently in JGit a problem with the cache consistency: it was reported on NFS but had nothing to do with it. When JGit was not able to open a file for whatever reason, NFS latency, maximum opened files, whatever, then the packfile was removed from the list of packs because it was considered missing. Then JGit started to failing fetching objects from the repository, and the people were panicking thinking that their Git repository got corrupted. But then, why the other nodes accessing the same repository did not have the same problem? Then “magically” the problem disappeared when you restarted Gerrit. The problem has been fixed in recent versions of JGit but is still there for the version you are currently using as the basis of Gerrit v2.7. Did you find the same problem? How do you manage to keep up with the recent releases of JGit but staying on Gerrity v2.7?

A: We have an old version of JGit, but we have put our patches on it. I believe we discovered and fixed a bug like that years ago. We ported a series of patches upstream and we a set of performance improvements on our branch. However, it is hard sometimes to get stuff merged on JGit; there are not enough maintainers to even look at the thing.

Gerrit User Summit: Script plugins with Docker

My name is Luca Milanesio, and I work for GerritForge. My talk today is about plugins and how to create them using scripting languages.

Gerrit plugins, where it all began

My contribution to the Gerrit Code Review project started in 2011 with the introduction of plugins. To understand where we are coming from we need to back to those times when the project was just born a year earlier. Gerrit was mighty since its very beginning, and different companies that used and contributed to the tool had tailored the code base to their specific needs. When I joined the GitTogether conference in 2011, almost every user was talking about their fork of Gerrit. Forking is excellent especially in OpenSource because you can customise a project as much as you want and, we were all excited about the growing popularity of GitHub and forking was a popular concept. However, keeping a fork up-to-date is not as easy as you may initially envision. Moving on with the upstream releases is hard when you are working on a fork.

Back in 2011 when I was at the conference, I thought: “how can the Gerrit project evolve and grow if we are all working on forks?”. My way to convince the Gerrit Community to change that status quo was inviting Kohsuke Kawaguchi, the Jenkins CI project founder, to the summit. Jenkins CI is wholly based on plugins while the core does not do much: the plugins are making the whole thing work as a CI.

That was enough to convince the community that a change was needed and, during the next Hackathon in 2012, I wrote the initial version of the Gerrit plugin loader and the first “Hello world” Gerrit plugin was born.

The introduction of scripting languages

After two years, Gerrit had only 50 plugins. If you had looked at Jenkins, at that time they had over 600 plugins, ten times as many plugins compared to Gerrit. Writing a new plugin for Gerrit was still too hard for most developers and administrators.

To develop a new Gerrit plugin you needed to know way too many things and have many skills: a different build system (Buck and now Bazel), having a full development environment and all the required dependent packages.

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 09.38.07.png

We still had new plugins because some people went through the initial pain of setting up the environment. However, for a project to thrive, you need to get people together and embrace a diversity of skills to allow people to give the best of their knowledge.
Maybe the typical Gerrit admin is not a Java Developer, possibly could be more familiar with Groovy because the Ruby syntax is used a lot of DevOps tools. Others are more familiar with Python, and if you accept what they can contribute, the project can benefit from many more experiences from different people and backgrounds.

What does the community think about it?

Once I shared my ideas with the community, the feedback was great. However, different people with different backgrounds started asking to use very different languages, ranging from Scala to Groovy and Python. Then I realized that supporting one scripting language would not have been good enough for most of the people.

“Hello world” in Groovy

To give you an idea of how easy is to write a new plugin in Groovy, see the following example.

import com.google.gerrit.sshd.*
import com.google.gerrit.extensions.annotations.*

@Export("groovy")
class GroovyCommand extends SshCommand {
  public void run() { stdout.println "Hi from Groovy" } 
}

It is straightforward to write scripting plugins: put the above content in a hello-1.0.groovy file in the Gerrit’s /plugins directory and as soon as the file is saved the plugin is there and will be loaded in Gerrit within a few seconds.

The way that Gerrit recognize this file being a plugin is through its .groovy extension. The file name denotes both the plugin name and its version, delimited by the ‘hyphen’ on the filename. In this example the file hello-1.0.groovy identify a plugin called ‘hello’ with a ‘1.0’ version.

One warning about Groovy: it is a language that relies on Java Reflection for method invocation. Reflection is a capability of the Java Runtime and enables methods discovery which is handy to use but is slower than a native Java language.
The drawback of the ease of use of the Groovy language is the CPU cycles at runtime.

The beauty of using a scripting language for plugins is the speedup of the development cycle: as soon as you edit the Groovy file on the file system, the old plugin is unloaded and the new one loaded in Gerrit. The plugin development lifecycle becomes so much faster compared to the traditional Java application development.

Develop Scripting plugins using Docker

Slide01.jpg

Gerrit is provided as a Docker image on DockerHub. The ‘gerritcodereview’ organization has an image name called ‘gerrit’ with all the versions available denoted as tags since Ver. 2.14. Earlier versions of Gerrit docker images are available on the ‘gerritforge’ DockerHub organization.

In the following example I am running Gerrit 2.14.4 on Docker fetching the image directly from DockerHub:

docker run -ti -p 8080:8080 -p 29418:29418 gerritcodereview/gerrit:2.14.4

In the above example, Gerrit is exposed through HTTP on port 8080 and exposes its SSH interface at port 29418.

Docker is a system that allows running containers, which are application “packaged” with everything needed, including other components of libraries of the underlying operating system. The only requirement on your physical host is the Docker engine, which exists nowadays for MacOS and Windows other than Linux where it was originally designed. Whatever operating system you are running on your laptop, Docker is there.

Docker can be handy for all the contributors that are not familiar with Gerrit Development Environment. There is no need to know or install anything on the local box, other than running the Gerrit Docker container. When I am running Gerrit in this way in this example, it starts straight away, with zero installation steps or configuration.

Gerrit out-of-the-box experience

The second significant value of the Gerrit Docker container is that includes an out-of-the-box configuration, a welcome screen, and the plugin manager. It consists already a set of components that, if you are not familiar with Gerrit, will help you a lot to understand what is Gerrit and how to use it.

As you can see from this screen, Gerrit has started, and if you navigate to http://localhost:8080, it shows you an initial welcome screen.

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 09.42.10.png

Historically the very first screen, once you have installed Gerrit, was a blank screen. I remember a few years ago people coming to me saying that as new Gerrit users they were quite confused: they just did not know what to do with the initial blank screen. In Gerrit Docker, the initial screen is a “Welcome” which is a beautiful thing to say to people that you did not know that came to your house. Additionally, it provides some useful links and information to install plugins, which is very important because Gerrit without plugins is missing some fundamental parts of its functionality.

Playing with Gerrit Plugin Manager

By clicking the “Install plugins” button, you reach the Gerrit Plugin Manager screen. For all of those who are familiar with Jenkins, it provides precisely the same functionality as in Jenkins. If you type ‘groovy’ in the search bar, you can easily find where the Groovy scripting provider is, and you can install it with a simple click. That is the plugin you need to tell Gerrit that from now on, every file in the /plugins directory with a .groovy extension is a plugin that needs to be parsed and loaded at runtime.

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 09.44.14.png

You can discover and install other plugins as well. For instance, typing ‘github’ would list the integration of Gerrit with GitHub authentication and pull requests, or typing ‘jira’ would return the association and workflow integration with Jira Tickets.
The plugin manager is a fantastic discovery mechanism to understand what are the integrations available for Gerrit Code Review.

The plugin manager automatically discovers the versions of the plugins that are compatible with the Gerrit you are currently running and, when you click ‘Install’, it downloads them and installs them locally. When you are done, just click on the top-right link “Go To Gerrit” and you are straight into Gerrit UX.

How we have a running Gerrit instance that has installed all the plugins I need, including the support for Groovy plugins.

Writing plugins in Scala

If you need want to leverage the Gerrit scripting plugins, but you need optimal performance at runtime, you can use a different scripting language such as Scala.

GerritUserSummit-2017-Scala.png

The Scala language allows compiling into the native Java bytecode; it does not use reflection for method calls and, for some operations could be even faster than the Java language itself. See the same hello world example but rewritten in Scala.

import com.google.gerrit.sshd._
import com.google.gerrit.extensions.annotations._

@Export("scala")
class ScalaCommand extends SshCommand {
  override def run = stdout println "Hi from Scala" 
}

When I showed this to the community people got so excited and started writing tons of scripting plugins.

What scripting plugins do in Gerrit?

Admin tasks as SSH commands

Sometimes Gerrit admins need to automate specific tasks, however, coding an external script could be slower and difficult to implement. Inside Gerrit, there are already a lot of objects which represent pre-processed in-memory entities ready to be used. It makes sense to leverage all the information that is in-memory already and write new SSH commands like Scripting plugins to control admin tasks remotely.

Scripted REST API

At times you need as well to tailor existing Gerrit REST API to your needs. For instance, imagine that your company has specific policies for requesting new repositories: why not then creating a new ‘Create Project’ REST API tailored for your needs using the Scripting plugins and expose it through a company HTML form? You can do it without the need to be an experienced Java or Gerrit contributor and using a simple Groovy script for the new REST API.

Low-footprint hooks events

A third option is fascinating because, before the introduction of Gerrit plugins, the only way to react to Gerrit events was through hooks or stream events. Hooks are a traditional Git mechanism and, in Gerrit, have a scalability problem: they are invoked for every project and every event that happens anywhere and spawn a different asynchronous process. Over time the extra processes created can cause a significant overhead for your super-busy Gerrit server.
When a hook script needs to read from the Git repository, it would then need to process from scratch the packfiles from the local filesystem, uncompress and parse them in memory over and over again, which could slow down your server significantly.
If you are implementing Gerrit events using plugins, the same processing could be ten or even hundreds times faster.

 

 

 

 

Gerrit v2.14 brings new features and UX

A brand new version of Gerrit is out, but the increment of the minor version number to 14 uncovers a set of unique innovations that this release provides.

Gerrit Ver. 2.14 is most likely the last 2.x version before the introduction of Gerrit 3.0, which would change forever the way we look and interact with code-reviews. That means that even though 3.0 isn’t ready yet, some experimental features have already been introduced in Gerrit 2.14. Those will be tagged with the [exp] prefix in this article, but don’t be scared by the wording: all Gerrit features, including the experimental ones, are heavily used on a daily basis by large installations like Google’s and GerritHub.io

Java 8

For the first time, Java 8 is a mandatory requirement to run Gerrit. It was previously a strongly recommended option, but both Java 7 and 8 were equally supported. The switch to Java 8 comes with the incompatibilities with all the operating systems that do not support its latest version and updates, such as Ubuntu 15.x or CentOS 5.x to name some of them.

PolyGerrit and review by e-mail [exp]

Gerrit includes a richer user experience with two major improvements: new redesigned HTML5 with WebComponents UX (code-named PolyGerrit) and a fully featured bi-directional HTML e-mails. Interacting with Gerrit is becoming easier and more intuitive.

With PolyGerrit the changes diffs are included into the main screen and are as simple as expanding a div section. The page loading is much faster thanks to the browser caching to the core building blocks of the UX. Even though the UX isn’t complete yet, a lot of Google’s teams use it already on a daily basis, including the Chromium and Go-Lang projects.

The redesigned and richer HTML emails are now bidirectional and include all the information you need to perform an off-line review using your e-mail client. If you are on the move, just reply to the e-mail with your comments and Gerrit will pick them up and include in the change review as messages, amazing isn’t it?

ElasticSearch [exp]

It is now possible to use an alternative Indexing engine, ElasticSearch, which allows having a clustered setup of distributed nodes of index data. That is a major stepping stone towards the full implementation of Gerrit multi-master, giving the possibility of multiple Gerrit masters to share the index data with replication over the network.

Out of the box UX and Plugin Manager [exp]

Installing Gerrit with the associated plugins is so much easier: there is no need to clone the code or googling around for a compatible plugin build: everything is included in Gerrit with an intuitive and user-friendly user-experience. Just use the search box to find the plugins compatible with Gerrit v2.14 and install them with a single click.

This new feature is provided by the new native packages (RPMs, Debian and Docker) which benefit from two new plugins (out-of-the-box and plugin-manager) that are included by default and executed as the first action after a new fresh installation.

What’s next?

A lot more is coming, as the NoteDb support become more mature every day. Google has announced to have switched off the ReviewDb in production and is using NoteDb as “unique source of truth” for all its projects. Gerrit 3.0 with 100% NoteDb support is coming very soon and will change the way you think and interoperate with your code review forever.

Stay tuned; more innovation is coming! – Luca Milanesio – GerritForge

 

London to host Gerrit User Summit 2017

gerritusersummit-2017-poll-results.png

… and the winner is … Europe/London!

Despite the future Brexit plans, London will still be this year the beating heart of Code Review innovation by hosting the Gerrit User Summit 2017.

Here are the numbers in detail:

  • 157 people visited the poll page (goo.gl/M7X6rp)
  • 75 people from 14 countries expressed their vote in the past two weeks
  • Summit in Europe (only Europe + USA/Europe) received 54 votes
  • Summit in USA (only USA + USA/Europe) received 37 votes

Countries

GerritUserSummit2017-countries.png

The audience is very diverse, with the most votes coming from West and East Coast of the USA, the British Isles, and Germany. There was some interest in the Summit as well from Israel, India, and Japan.

It will be excellent to see new faces at this year Gerrit User Summit, to exchange ideas and capture new and essential requirements for the next versions to come.

The London Venue and Dates

SkillsMatter.png

SkillsMatter offered the CodeNode venue in London (10 South Place, London, EC2M 7EB, GB) which is entirely dedicated to hosting events, meetups and user groups from the global OpenSource Community.

The new venue can record every session, open policy about taking pictures and share content and the possibility of streaming the event to allow remote attendees to watch and interact.

The proposed dates for the event are:

  • Saturday 30/09 to Sunday 01/10 – Pre-summit and Gerrit+Plugins Hackathon
  • Monday 02/10 to Tuesday 03/10 – Gerrit User Summit

New location, same community, and format

Even though this year the country and location will be different from the past User Summits hosted by Google in Mountain View – CA, we want to keep the organization and format of the Summit exactly as it was before:

  • User-driven: focussed on sharing experiences and networking between the users of Gerrit Code Review
  • Self-organized by the Community: no calls for papers, sponsored talks or products presentations. All has to come from the users and voted by the users.
  • No commercials: even though the supporters of the event are business entities (SkillsMatter, eSynergy, GerritForge and many others) we will be very careful in keeping the spotlight on the users and not interfere with them.

Costs and sponsorships

Historically Google has paid for all the costs involved in the Summits (venue, catering, marketing, etc.). For this year, a lot of companies who are using Gerrit Code Review and contributing to it have already provided their interest in contributing to cover the costs and make this European event successful.

We want to keep the list of sponsors small and tightly coupled with the Gerrit Community. If you are a company and you want to sponsor the event, please contact Luca Milanesio (luca@gerritforge.com) or post your offer to the Gerrit Code Review mailing list https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/repo-discuss.

Next steps

We will work together with the Gerrit Community to organize this event and make it fruitful and profitable for the future of this amazing OpenSource project.

Thanks again for your vote and your interest in the 2017 Summit.

Luca Milanesio – GerritForge

Gerrit Summit 2016 is coming

google

Four weeks from now, the eighth edition of the Gerrit User Summit will open its door at Google HQ in Mountain View – CA, 12th-13th of November 2016.
It has been a long journey since the first GitTogether in 2008, and after the split between the Git[Hub Universe] summit and the traditional “unconference” style Gerrit event at Google’s, things have changed quite a lot. While Gerrit remained a 100% OpenSource user-centric project, GitHub has attracted $350M in VC, and they have been losing traction over the years to join the unconference-style events.

What’s new this year?

For the first time, the proposals of talks to the Gerrit User Summit are submitted in Gerrit directly (yeah!) on the summit/2016 repository.

The list of currently approved talks is available by searching for “status:merged project:summit/2016” (https://gerrit-review.googlesource.com/#/q/status:merged+project:summit/2016)
The talks awaiting review are under “status:open project:summit2016” (https://gerrit-review.googlesource.com/#/q/status:open+project:summit/2016)

How cool is that? I foresee already a Doodle plugin for Gerrit 😉

How to register for the User Summit?

Shawn Pearce has prepared a Registration Form for you to sign-up to the event:
https://goo.gl/forms/oeEnQweHl2noNSnn1

Once you access the Registration Form at the above URL, you need to sign-in with your Google Account credentials and then complete the following information:
– Your name
– Your Organisation
– Your previous attendance to the user summit
– Any dietary restrictions

The User Summit is FREE for EVERYONE, including novice users of Git and Gerrit Code Review, but you would need to register beforehand.
The Summit is a unique opportunity to learn about Gerrit new feature, contribute to the product roadmap with your needs and requirements and, most of all, network with other users to learn new use-cases where Gerrit can be very helpful.

How to submit my talk proposal?

Well, you need to demonstrate a good understanding and use of Gerrit Code Review if you want to teach and talk to other people about it! At the end of the day, if you want to talk about Gerrit you should be able to clone a repository and submit a patch to a project 🙂

If you need just a little help … see my “Diffy super super talk” example:

$ git clone https://gerrit.googlesource.com/summit/2016 && (cd 2016 && curl -Lo `git rev-parse --git-dir`/hooks/commit-msg https://gerrit-review.googlesource.com/tools/hooks/commit-msg ; chmod +x `git rev-parse --git-dir`/hooks/commit-msg)
$ cd 2016
$ cat - > sessions/my-amazing-talk.md
# My amazing talk at Gerrit User Summit

Hi folks, this is my super-duper-talk. You should be interested in it as I will unleash the dark force of Code Review Diffy Kung Fu Review Cuckoo.

*Diffy, Birds & CO. Inc.*
^D
$ git add sessions/my-amazing-talk.md && git commit -m "Diffy super-duper talk"
$ git push origin HEAD:refs/for/master

Talks highlights.

There are already some fascinating talks submitted and approved and more will undoubtedly come in the next couple of weeks. We will start sharing some highlights of what’s happening at the conference. Here is the overview of the first talks.

What’s new in Gerrit 2.12 and 2.13

Two major versions of Gerrit have been released since the last summit in 2015, and they contain significant improvements to the platform:

  • Topic submission workflow – aka Git commits across repositories  (v2.12).
    Group multiple changes in a “topic” and having them merged as a whole, even across multiple repositories, in a single submit operation.
  • GPG signed pushed verification (v2.12).
    Allows people to upload their GPG public keys into Gerrit and have them used to verify Git signed commits.
  • Large File Storage support (Git LFS) (v2.13).
    Gerrit finally supports the automatic management of large files outside the Git repository. The feature is fully pluggable and exposed via plugins. Amazon S3 and Local file system support are available at the moment, but more plugins are here to come on this feature.
  • Gerrit metrics (v2.13).
    Expose the internal metrics to external consumers. The feature is exposed for plugins to gather this data and send to external systems for analysis and visualization purposes. Graphite, ElasticSearch, and JMX plugins are available.
  • Hooks plugin (v2.13).
    Finally, the Gerrit hooks mechanism have been entirely externalized and implemented in a pluggable way. The legacy hooks have become a core plugin. However, you can now leverage the new extension to develop a new-generation of hooks by leveraging the new extension points provided.
  • New HTML5 UX with WebComponents – PolyGerrit preview (v2.13).
    The next generation of Gerrit UX based on Polymer Web components is available. Even though not complete, offers a sneak preview of what the new interface looks like and, if you like it as-is and is good enough for your use-cases, you can enable and start using it already. Both GWT and Polymer-based UX are using the same REST API, and thus the changes generated and reviewed with them are 100% interoperable.

There is more to come.

In the next few days we will keep on publishing the highlights of the topics coming at the Gerrit User Summit this year, stay tuned and REGISTER NOW at:
https://goo.gl/forms/oeEnQweHl2noNSnn1

The GerritForge Team.

How to Migrate a Git Repository

When and why?

We wrote yesterday about the GitEnt-Scm.com shutdown due on April 30th, 2016. Now the issue you would be facing is: how to migrate somewhere else?
Although StackOverflow already contains over 800 response threads when asking this question we thought that giving a practical example based on a real-life GitEnt repository would allow you to avoid the trial & error discovery.

Step 1 – Mirror clone

When you want to clone a repository for the purpose of migration, you really want everything, including all the other refs that are not branches:

  • Git Tags (refs/tags/*)
  • Git Notes (refs/notes/*)
  • Gerrit Reviews (refs/changes/*)
  • Gerrit Configs (refs/meta/*)

Instead of using a standard clone, you can do a “git clone –mirror”, which implies –bare and thus does not generate a working copy.

Example:

$ git clone --mirror ssh://myuser@gitent-scm.com/git/myorg/myrepo.git
Cloning into bare repository 'myrepo.git'...
remote: Counting objects: 109, done
remote: Finding sources: 100% (109/109)
remote: Total 109 (delta 19), reused 83 (delta 19)
Receiving objects: 100% (109/109), 66.42 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (19/19), done.
Checking connectivity... done.

Step 2 – Create empty repo on the new Git Server

You need to have an empty target repository where to push your mirrored local clone. Note that most of the Git Servers propose you to create a first master branch with a README, but, in this case, you do not need it and it would only create more trouble in your migration path.

Example for GitHub:

– Go to https://github.com/new and create the ‘myrepo’ repository
– Do not tick any of the suggested README or LICENSE auto-generation
– Once the project is created, GitHub provides you with the repository Git URL (e.g. git@github.myorg/myrepo.git)

Step 3 – Push to the new Git Server

You are now ready to push to the target repository, and we can use the useful option “–mirror” again.
Similarly to the clone, “–mirror” automatically include all refs, including the non-branch ones (tags, notes, reviews, configs, …); it provides the behaviour of removing all the refs that are not present in your local clone. You should never use this option when you have a “regular default clone” as you would risk removing all the remote refs that have not been typically cloned with a standard default “git clone” operation.

Example for GitHub:

$ git push --mirror git@github.myorg/myrepo.git
Counting objects: 109, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (61/61), done.
Writing objects: 100% (109/109), 66.42 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 109 (delta 19), reused 109 (delta 19)
To git@github.myorg/myrepo.git
* [new branch] refs/changes/02/802/1 -> refs/changes/02/802/1
* [new branch] refs/changes/03/803/1 -> refs/changes/03/803/1
* [new branch] master -> master
* [new branch] refs/meta/config -> refs/meta/config

Step 4 – Import into GerritHub.io (Optional)

Your repository has not been fully migrated to your new target server. If you wish now to keep on using Gerrit Code Review for your Development Workflow, you can link your repository to Gerrit using GerritHub.io

The YouTube Video explains how to perform this last operation using GerritHub.io import Wizard.

Need more help?

Do you require more help? Contact our Sales Departement at sales@gerritforge.com and we will provide the extra support you need or perform the migration for you to GerritHub.io.

GitEnt-scm.com Farewell

An open letter to all GitEnt-Scm.com users

it has been a fantastic journey to launch and see the GitEnterprise service growing over the past five years.
We announced the availability in 2011 of a new Enterprise-grade service ahead of other major competitors such as CollabNet or Atlassian. We were the only real Enterprise-Ready Git service much more advanced than GitHub and well before the birth of GitHub:Enterprise.

Since then, over 5000 people used and loved our service and enjoyed a fully FREE and compelling Git server, powered by Gerrit Code Review, the major OpenSource platform code for Code Review on Git.
We are grateful for your trust and confidence in us.

From premium service to commodity

Times have changed, what was considered a premium had become a commodity and services like BitBucket started to erode our take up in the past three years. We moved on to a different and more compelling level of services, jumping again on the edge of innovation and moving into Code Review and its integration with the Continuous Delivery pipeline. We launched in 2013 a brand-new service called GerritHub.io which is now the reference point for major OpenSource and Commercial organisations such as IBM, Cisco System, RedHat and Rackspace.

We continued to maintain both GitEnterprise and GerritHub.io so that you did not have to face any migration or disruption; however the audience of GitEnterprise has become so marginal that we have unfortunately decided to shut down the service within the next 30 calendar days.

The choice: Red or Blue pill?

You have two options, either stay on the cutting edge technology and jump to GerritHub.io or moving to a free commodity service.

Option 1 => migrate to GerritHub.io

Option 2 => moving to another Git provider, such as BitBucket or GitLab.

If you decide to go for Option 1, we invite you to watch the GerritHub.io video on YouTube  and decide whether you would like to start adopting Gerrit Code Review workflow, bearing in mind that it may actually change the way you interact and manage your Git repositories.

Should you need our help in migrating your repositories, we can offer our bolt-on support services at a 10% discounted rate. See www.gerritforge.com/pricing for all the options available and costs involved.

Time is running fast: ACT NOW !

You do need to take a decision before the 30th of April 2016, as after that date the GitEnterprise.com and GitEnt-SCM.com will just redirect to our GerritForge Website and your repositories will not be accessible anymore.

Thank you again for those five fantastic years and for believing in us.
We hope you will decide to continue your journey with us.

Should you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to come back us.

The GerritForge Support Team.