The Wikimedia Foundation has announced that it will migrate its code repositories from Gerrit to Gitlab. We asked Greg Grossmeier, Director of Engineering, what this means for developers.

Hello, Greg, the code depots of Wikimedia should now be moved from Gerrit to Gitlab. In your announcement, you write that nothing will change yet. When is the move planned?

GG: Yes, nothing is immediately changing for anyone but we will be migrating all code review from Gerrit to GitLab and decommissioning Gerrit. We have a roadmap with the stages of the project. We do have one date in that roadmap as of now: We plan to have a GitLab installation up and running, with a few early adopter repositories, ready by the end of June 2021.

There’s a lot to do between now and then and we will be updating that roadmap as we make progress and refine our understanding.

What do you think are the main advantages of Gitlab?

GG: I think two of the advantages important to me are: having a more integrated and modern build+test pipeline as well as lowering the barrier to entry for new contributors (staff or otherwise).

How will this move take place? Are there any details yet?

GG: The best place to learn about the move to GitLab for Wikimedia is https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/GitLab – this includes the roadmap along with other initial documentation including our policies and workflow guides.

What are in your opinion the biggest hurdles and problems with this move?

GG: There is a lot of work to make this a successful migration and I think acknowledging that is important; work to be done by both Wikimedia as well as our community of developers. It will be a change in habits and workflows, which really is probably the hardest thing to overcome.

What does the move mean for extension developers? When will they migrate or work there?

GG: MediaWiki, extensions, and skins will be migrated together in step 6 of the roadmap. The reasoning is that their development is tightly coupled and thus they should be migrated at the same time. We will migrate other high-use repositories before MW+ext+skins and take what we learn from those migrations and improve the plans for MediaWiki+ext+skins.

To people who haven’t heard about this migration already, I think the most important thing to know is: continue to use Gerrit for your development for now and we’ll make everyone well aware of any deadlines or changes before they happen.

Greg, thanks a lot for the background information and hints. We wish you much success with the project, which is a large undertaking!