Release Highlights

  • GWT UI is deprecated

  • PolyGerrit is now the default UI

  • Experimental Dark Mode in PolyGerrit.

  • Inline editing support in PolyGerrit UI.

  • Redesigned UI for PolyGerrit based on material.

Important Notes

Schema Changes

This release contains schema changes. To upgrade:

  java -jar gerrit.war init -d site_path

New logging framework

For logging Gerrit is now using Flogger instead of SLF4J. The logging backend is still LOG4J.

The Flogger LOG4J backend is configured by a system property ( that must be set for logging to work. There is an init step that automatically sets this system property in the gerrit.config file and in addition Gerrit tries to set this system property automatically on startup if it isn’t set yet. However for some setups you may need to do additional actions to make sure that this system property is set.

In addition there is a system property that needs to be set for request tracing ( Also this system property is automatically set in the gerrit.config file by an init step and in addition Gerrit tries to set this system property automatically on startup if it isn’t set yet. However for some setups you may need to do additional actions to make sure that this system property is set.

SLF4J can still be used by plugins, but using SLF4J in plugins is deprecated and with the next Gerrit release SLF4J will no longer be exported as part of the Gerrit plugin API jar. This means from the next release on plugins must either migrate to Flogger or have an own dependency on SLF4J.

Reindex for new projects index and changed group index

Gerrit 2.16 introduces a new secondary index for projects. The initial version of this index must be created by running the offline reindex before starting Gerrit:

  java -jar gerrit.war reindex --index projects -d site_path

The group index got two new fields upon which Gerrit 2.16 depends. For this reason, the following command to offline reindex the group index must be executed as well:

  java -jar gerrit.war reindex --index groups -d site_path

The offline reindex for groups should also be run on Gerrit slave hosts.

Note that it is not necessary to reindex the changes and accounts indexes offline. These will automatically be reindexed by the online reindexer after starting Gerrit.

Support for GWT UI is deprecated

From 2.16 GWT UI is deprecated and will be removed in a future version.

Support for Velocity templates removed

In version 2.14 support for Soy templates was added. For backwards compatibility, support for Velocity templates (VTL) was kept.

In version 2.16 support for VTL is completely removed. Site administrators must replace any Velocity templates (.vm files in $site/etc/mail/) with the equivalent Soy templates before upgrading to this version.

Push to refs/changes is deprecated

The possibility to push to refs/changes is now disabled by default. It is still possible to enable it in the gerrit config by setting receive.allowPushToRefsChanges to true.

Some proxies, which are not under client control, prohibit DELETE requests with bodies. DELETE requests with bodies could work on a first attempt, but could fail afterwards because a server they have no control over was updated. In this case, client users could be in trouble if they were not notified.

Therefore, we have decided to no longer recommend sending DELETE requests with bodies. They will continue to work in this release but should be considered as deprecated and will be removed in the next release.

New Features


Request Tracing

Tracing can now be enabled for single requests. If a request is traced a unique trace ID is attached to all logs that are triggered by the request. In addition all logs are enforced regardless of the configured log level. Given the trace ID an administrator can find the trace in the error log and debug issues more easily. Detailed information about request tracing can be found in the request tracing documentation.

ACL Changes

ACLs: refs/for/ namespace is now deprecated

The refs/for namespace is no longer used when evaluating access rights.


Removing the refs/for support in the ACLs intends to solve the following issues:

  • Vast majority of permissions are defined on “real” branches. Forcing users to define a small subset of the permissions on refs/for/* hinders readability and the understanding of the applied ACLs.

  • For people using refs/publish/ to upload reviews, it is confusing to force Project Owners to set the push rules on refs/for/ to allow creation of changes.

  • Having refs/for/ in the ACL UI makes it impossible to look at one single ACL section and acknowledge with certainty which rules will be in effect for that ref.


  • Instead of defining push on refs/for/* a new Create Review permission is introduced. Like other permissions, it should be defined on refs/heads/* (or refs/*).

  • A new Submit on Push option for the Submit permission, which will enable the %submit push parameter and remove the need to specify Submit on refs/for/*.

  • Add Patch Set will work the same way, but should be specified on refs/heads/* (just like the new Create Review permission).

  • Push Merges will work the same way, but should be specified on refs/heads/* instead of refs/for/*.


Any permission that could previously be applied to refs/for will automatically be migrated to the new permission upon loading the ACLs.

Note: The configuration is not automatically resaved, so the next time the user edits the ACLs from the UI, the migrated ACLs will be shown and possibly saved if the user chose to do so.

Dependency Updates

  • Update Brics Automaton to 1.12-1

  • Update commons-lang3 to 3.6

  • Update Dropwizard metrics-core to 3.2.5

  • Update elasticsearch to 2.4.6

  • Add dependency to flogger 0.3.1

    Flogger is a fluent logging API for Java and Gerrit is using Flogger instead of SLF4J now.

  • Update greenmail to 1.5.5

  • Update gson to 2.8.2

  • Update javax.mail to 1.6.0

  • Update protobuf-java to 3.4.0

  • Update soy to 2017-08-08

  • Update tukaani-xz to 1.6

  • Remove dependency on Velocity

Plugin API changes

  • The class was moved to