EIP Repository Faces Impending Division: A Split on the Horizon

Problems, Proposed Solution, Benefits, Counterarguments & Conclusion

EIP Repository Faces Impending Division: A Split on the Horizon

The Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) repository was initially created as a unified GitHub repository for Ethereum standards. However, due to increased popularity of application development on Ethereum, the inflow of ERC proposals started to overwhelm the EIPs editors and people enabled notification to the repository. Discussions have arisen regarding the separation of EIPs and ERCs into distinct repositories over two years ago. Perhaps this will allow independent evolution, address process limitations, and better align with the needs of each process.

Several client teams have expressed support for the separation, stating that it would enable the processes to evolve in directions that best suit their users. They also believe that maintaining separate repositories would make it easier to track all the EIPs and ERCs, as the number of ERCs in pull requests exceeds that of EIPs.

Pooja Ranjan, Herder-in-chief at Ethereum Cat Herders has expressed her concerns regarding the increasing number of PRs and the excessive noise in the repository, which has made it challenging for individuals interested in EIPs to stay updated. She proposed the implementation of a separate RSS feed dedicated to core EIPs as a possible solution to address this issue. Furthermore, she emphasizes the shortage of ERC editors and stresses the importance of considering ERCs as an integral part of the Ethereum ecosystem.

Check out this ELI5 video by the EW team to learn more about EIPs and the Standardization Process:

Some EIP editors, notably Greg Colvin, and Zainan Victor Zhou opposed the separation. They argue that splitting the repositories may not solve the underlying problems with the processes and could potentially worsen the situation for ERC authors and editors. Despite the opposition, most of client developers agree that although the separation may not resolve all the issues, it is worth trying. They believe that granting EIP and ERC editors more ownership over their respective processes could lead to improvements.

The proposed steps by lightclients for performing the separation are as follows:

  • Remove all ERCs from the EIPs repository and migrate them to a new repository while preserving the history.
  • The new repository will be a fork of the current one, with non-ERCs removed.
  • Set up an ercs.ethereum.org subdomain.
  • Establish a redirect for ERCs on eips.ethereum.org to redirect to the new ERCs website.
  • Create a unified document for editors to assign EIP/ERC numbers.

Concerns have been raised that splitting the repositories could reduce collaboration between EIPs and ERCs, particularly for proposals that require interaction between the two. However, it has been noted that client developers already work across multiple repositories, and the impact of an additional repository would be manageable.

Justin Florentine from the Besu team has voiced his support for the idea of segregating the repositories, highlighting the potential benefits it would bring in terms of streamlining the editorial process and facilitating automation. Both Tim Beiko and Justin are in agreement that minimizing external sources of friction is crucial, and they are inclined towards proceeding with the proposed change.

Although client teams have agreed to split the repositories, with some objections from certain EIP editors, developers will discuss how to move forward in the next week's EIPIP call.

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