First Check-in Comments from Popular Open-Source Projects

Some time ago a former colleague of mine tweeted ‘if your first check-in comment is something like “initial check-in” you’re doing it wrong’. To which my immediate reply was that I had been doing it wrong repeatedly since I personally have no problem with ‘initial check-in’ and had used it as a comment multiple times. I wish I could post you a link to the tweet but twitter’s search…sucks. This got me wondering what ‘good’ first check-in comments looks like. Thanks to the wonders of publicly hosted revision control systems I started looking at the initial check-in comments of some of what I considered the more well-known pieces of open-source software. Did they know they were destined for greatness from the outset?  Here’s the list I came up with, with some commentary where applicable. If there are any projects with first check-in comments that are worth adding (or there is a better source than the one I’ve cited) leave me a comment and I’ll fix it up. The ‘Go’ one is probably the most interesting.


Project Check-In Comment Notes
Knockout.js Initialising  
Ruby Initial Revision Looks like Ruby was migrated from CVS to SVN so I can’t be sure if this is the ‘original’ commit message.
OMQ initial commit Judging by the # of files this might be from a different revision control system, or earlier branch.
Hibernate initial upload There are some earlier revisions starting here that look to have come from CVS.
Iron Python this is a test  
Postgres Postgres95 1.01 Distribution - Virgin Sources Obviously migrating from a previous codebase, with 868 files changed.
FreeBSD Initial import, 0.1 + pk 0.2.4-B1 According to their ‘history’ page FreeBSD was an outgrowth of 386BSD, and started in 1993, so this looks like the real deal.
node.js add dependencies  
Orchard Populating initial tree  
NuGet Initial commit  
TightVNC Initial revision Migrated from CVS
Go hello, world

This is a particularly weird one….according to the Go repo this is from 1972. The first couple of commits from this page seem to chronicle some of the steps in the evolution of C (presumably culminating in ‘Go’) with ‘commits’ in ‘74, and 1988. Either that or Brian Kernighan has a really good backup strategy.

Update - Jason Sirota tracked down this wikipedia entry that explains more of the history behind this check-in. Pretty much what we expected B -> C -> ANSI C -> GO

SQLite ? I really like SQLite, but their funky fossil revision control system only shows me the 20 most recent commits.
Apache initial check-in to set up Apache Commons This is the oldest commit in their SVN repository, but apache is ~8 years older than this, so presumably they didn’t keep history when they ported.
Ruby on Rails Initial Always the minimalist, wasn’t he.
Mono Initial revision Wow,  mono is 10 years old.
jQuery Initial Import The history of jQuery goes back a little further than this early 2006 check-in, so presumably this was a migration from SVN.

Add back links from file revisions to changeset revisions
Add simple transaction support
Add hg verify
Improve caching in revlog
Fix a bunch of bugs
Self-hosting now that the metadata is close to finalized

Their first SELF HOSTED check-in
Python Initial revision From August 1990.
CoffeeScript Unfancy JavaScript  

fixed compiler warnings, changed some gints to gbooleans
cleaned up namespace and documentation
updated libgimp documentation

GIMP is a little bit older than this check-in from 1997. This looks like around the time it moved to being a GNU project. Strangely almost a year later there is one labelled ‘initial revision

Image courtesy of sebastien.b


Diogo Haas
24/06/2011 6:35:17 PM
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