We received an interesting email last week from Jens Langner, maintainer and Ohloh manager for the MCC NList Classes project. Jens has an undying passion for the Amiga platform, and is one of a small group of dedicated developers hacking AmigaOS. Their project had an unfortunate problem – their SVN repository on SourceForge was accidentally deleted, with no backups! Might Ohloh, having crawled their repository to generate metrics, have a copy of that repo lying about?
Now, MCC NList Classes is not one of your famous projects like GNOME or Firefox or GCC. But it represents nearly 10 years of effort and 620 commits by 12 developers. It is an important API library for AmigaOS hackers, and represents many hours of irreplaceable work. The team was able to cobble together most of the code from recent checkouts, but their entire development history would have been wiped out if they couldn’t restore that repository. Well, it turns out that because of the quirks of SVN and how we’ve implemented our SVN adapter, one of Ohloh’s crawler servers had a complete copy of the project’s SVN repository sitting on disk. We zipped it up and sent it off to Jens, who replied:
WOW, this is awesome. Let me express that you have helped us a lot! We were almost at the task of manually restoring the repository from the very few checked out revisions we had around on the different machines.
Ohloh doesn’t really work as a backup service – we couldn’t have done this if it had been a Git repository, for instance, because of our implementation. So one moral of the story is one everybody who has been around computers knows – backups are essential! But we’re so glad we could help the team out, and that this accident has a happy ending!
Keep on hacking, Jens and team! You are the heart of FOSS!