check-oldies is a collection of programs that warn about old things in code:

  • check-fixmes warns about old FIXME or TODO annotations and orphan FUTURE tags.

    If we did not regularly check, we would forget about that FIXME note we wrote a few months ago. check-fixmes warns us about it. It is then our choice to act: fix it, remove it (because we decided it is not worth to fix, or because it is not relevant anymore), or postpone it.

    FUTURE tags: We sometimes plan a broad modification that will span multiple files. Instead of littering FIXME annotations everywhere, we set a single FIXME annotation and a FUTURE-xxx tag on the same line. Then, wherever we need to make a modification, we only mention this FUTURE-xxx tag without any FIXME. If we ever remove the FIXME but keep a FUTURE-xxx tag somewhere, it is a mistake and this tool warns us.

  • check-branches warns about old branches, surprisingly.

  • forget-me-not runs both programs above on a set of Git repositories and sends warning e-mails to authors of soon-to-be-old annotations or branches.

In other words: check-fixmes and check-branches can be run as part of the test suite of each project (by a continuous integration system such as Jenkins). They break builds when they detect old things. On the other hand, forget-me-not can be run once a week on a set of projects to warn authors that some builds will break soon if they do not take care of their old annotations or branches.

Example output:

$ check-fixmes
NOK: Some annotations are too old, or there are orphan FUTURE tags.
jdoe            -  181 days - frobulator/ # FIXME (jdoe): we should catch errors
jdoe            -  100 days - frobulator/ # TODO: this is slow, use the batch API instead
jsmith          -   12 days - docs/index.rst:1: # FIXME: write documentation before open sourcing
$ check-branches
NOK: Some branches are too old.     -   92 days - jsmith/fix_frobs (, linked to open PR/MR #1 (

check-oldies is written in Python but is language-agnostic. It works on Git repositories but could be extended to other version control systems. It integrates with GitHub but can do without it, and could be extended to work with other code hosting platforms.

check-oldies is written by Polyconseil and is licensed under the 3-clause BSD license, a copy of which is included in the source.