The future of commit access policy for core Firefox

Bobby Holley bobbyholley at
Thu Mar 9 22:59:33 UTC 2017

At a high level, I think the goals here are good.

However, the tooling here needs to be top-notch for this to work, and the
standard approach of flipping on an MVP and dealing with the rest in
followup bugs isn't going to be acceptable for something so critical to our
productivity as landing code. The only reason more developers aren't
complaining about the MozReview+autoland workflow right now is that it's

The busiest and most-productive developers (ehsan, bz, dbaron, etc) tend
not to pay attention to new workflows because they have too much else on
their plate. The onus needs to be on the team deploying this to have the
highest-volume committers using the new system happily and voluntarily
before it becomes mandatory. That probably means that the team should not
have any deadline-oriented incentives to ship it before it's ready.

Also, getting rid of "r+ with comments" is a non-starter.


On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 1:53 PM, Mike Connor <mconnor at> wrote:

> (please direct followups to dev-planning, cross-posting to governance,
> firefox-dev, dev-platform)
> Nearly 19 years after the creation of the Mozilla Project, commit access
> remains essentially the same as it has always been.  We've evolved the
> vouching process a number of times, CVS has long since been replaced by
> Mercurial & others, and we've taken some positive steps in terms of
> securing the commit process.  And yet we've never touched the core idea of
> granting developers direct commit access to our most important
> repositories.  After a large number of discussions since taking ownership
> over commit policy, I believe it is time for Mozilla to change that
> practice.
> Before I get into the meat of the current proposal, I would like to outline
> a set of key goals for any change we make.  These goals have been informed
> by a set of stakeholders from across the project including the engineering,
> security, release and QA teams.  It's inevitable that any significant
> change will disrupt longstanding workflows.  As a result, it is critical
> that we are all aligned on the goals of the change.
> I've identified the following goals as critical for a responsible commit
> access policy:
>    - Compromising a single individual's credentials must not be sufficient
>    to land malicious code into our products.
>    - Two-factor auth must be a requirement for all users approving or
>    pushing a change.
>    - The change that gets pushed must be the same change that was approved.
>    - Broken commits must be rejected automatically as a part of the commit
>    process.
> In order to achieve these goals, I propose that we commit to making the
> following changes to all Firefox product repositories:
>    - Direct commit access to repositories will be strictly limited to
>    sheriffs and a subset of release engineering.
>       - Any direct commits by these individuals will be limited to fixing
>       bustage that automation misses and handling branch merges.
>    - All other changes will go through an autoland-based workflow.
>       - Developers commit to a staging repository, with scripting that
>       connects the changeset to a Bugzilla attachment, and integrates
> with review
>       flags.
>       - Reviewers and any other approvers interact with the changeset as
>       today (including ReviewBoard if preferred), with Bugzilla flags as
> the
>       canonical source of truth.
>       - Upon approval, the changeset will be pushed into autoland.
>       - If the push is successful, the change is merged to mozilla-central,
>       and the bug updated.
> I know this is a major change in practice from how we currently operate,
> and my ask is that we work together to understand the impact and concerns.
> If you find yourself disagreeing with the goals, let's have that discussion
> instead of arguing about the solution.  If you agree with the goals, but
> not the solution, I'd love to hear alternative ideas for how we can achieve
> the outcomes outlined above.
> -- Mike
> _______________________________________________
> dev-planning mailing list
> dev-planning at
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