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   1HOWTO do Linux kernel development
   2---------------------------------
   3
   4This is the be-all, end-all document on this topic.  It contains
   5instructions on how to become a Linux kernel developer and how to learn
   6to work with the Linux kernel development community.  It tries to not
   7contain anything related to the technical aspects of kernel programming,
   8but will help point you in the right direction for that.
   9
  10If anything in this document becomes out of date, please send in patches
  11to the maintainer of this file, who is listed at the bottom of the
  12document.
  13
  14
  15Introduction
  16------------
  17
  18So, you want to learn how to become a Linux kernel developer?  Or you
  19have been told by your manager, "Go write a Linux driver for this
  20device."  This document's goal is to teach you everything you need to
  21know to achieve this by describing the process you need to go through,
  22and hints on how to work with the community.  It will also try to
  23explain some of the reasons why the community works like it does.
  24
  25The kernel is written mostly in C, with some architecture-dependent
  26parts written in assembly. A good understanding of C is required for
  27kernel development.  Assembly (any architecture) is not required unless
  28you plan to do low-level development for that architecture.  Though they
  29are not a good substitute for a solid C education and/or years of
  30experience, the following books are good for, if anything, reference:
  31 - "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie [Prentice Hall]
  32 - "Practical C Programming" by Steve Oualline [O'Reilly]
  33 - "C:  A Reference Manual" by Harbison and Steele [Prentice Hall]
  34
  35The kernel is written using GNU C and the GNU toolchain.  While it
  36adheres to the ISO C89 standard, it uses a number of extensions that are
  37not featured in the standard.  The kernel is a freestanding C
  38environment, with no reliance on the standard C library, so some
  39portions of the C standard are not supported.  Arbitrary long long
  40divisions and floating point are not allowed.  It can sometimes be
  41difficult to understand the assumptions the kernel has on the toolchain
  42and the extensions that it uses, and unfortunately there is no
  43definitive reference for them.  Please check the gcc info pages (`info
  44gcc`) for some information on them.
  45
  46Please remember that you are trying to learn how to work with the
  47existing development community.  It is a diverse group of people, with
  48high standards for coding, style and procedure.  These standards have
  49been created over time based on what they have found to work best for
  50such a large and geographically dispersed team.  Try to learn as much as
  51possible about these standards ahead of time, as they are well
  52documented; do not expect people to adapt to you or your company's way
  53of doing things.
  54
  55
  56Legal Issues
  57------------
  58
  59The Linux kernel source code is released under the GPL.  Please see the
  60file, COPYING, in the main directory of the source tree, for details on
  61the license.  If you have further questions about the license, please
  62contact a lawyer, and do not ask on the Linux kernel mailing list.  The
  63people on the mailing lists are not lawyers, and you should not rely on
  64their statements on legal matters.
  65
  66For common questions and answers about the GPL, please see:
  67        http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html
  68
  69
  70Documentation
  71------------
  72
  73The Linux kernel source tree has a large range of documents that are
  74invaluable for learning how to interact with the kernel community.  When
  75new features are added to the kernel, it is recommended that new
  76documentation files are also added which explain how to use the feature.
  77When a kernel change causes the interface that the kernel exposes to
  78userspace to change, it is recommended that you send the information or
  79a patch to the manual pages explaining the change to the manual pages
  80maintainer at mtk.manpages@gmail.com, and CC the list
  81linux-api@vger.kernel.org.
  82
  83Here is a list of files that are in the kernel source tree that are
  84required reading:
  85  README
  86    This file gives a short background on the Linux kernel and describes
  87    what is necessary to do to configure and build the kernel.  People
  88    who are new to the kernel should start here.
  89
  90  Documentation/Changes
  91    This file gives a list of the minimum levels of various software
  92    packages that are necessary to build and run the kernel
  93    successfully.
  94
  95  Documentation/CodingStyle
  96    This describes the Linux kernel coding style, and some of the
  97    rationale behind it. All new code is expected to follow the
  98    guidelines in this document. Most maintainers will only accept
  99    patches if these rules are followed, and many people will only
 100    review code if it is in the proper style.
 101
 102  Documentation/SubmittingPatches
 103  Documentation/SubmittingDrivers
 104    These files describe in explicit detail how to successfully create
 105    and send a patch, including (but not limited to):
 106       - Email contents
 107       - Email format
 108       - Who to send it to
 109    Following these rules will not guarantee success (as all patches are
 110    subject to scrutiny for content and style), but not following them
 111    will almost always prevent it.
 112
 113    Other excellent descriptions of how to create patches properly are:
 114        "The Perfect Patch"
 115                http://userweb.kernel.org/~akpm/stuff/tpp.txt
 116        "Linux kernel patch submission format"
 117                http://linux.yyz.us/patch-format.html
 118
 119  Documentation/stable_api_nonsense.txt
 120    This file describes the rationale behind the conscious decision to
 121    not have a stable API within the kernel, including things like:
 122      - Subsystem shim-layers (for compatibility?)
 123      - Driver portability between Operating Systems.
 124      - Mitigating rapid change within the kernel source tree (or
 125        preventing rapid change)
 126    This document is crucial for understanding the Linux development
 127    philosophy and is very important for people moving to Linux from
 128    development on other Operating Systems.
 129
 130  Documentation/SecurityBugs
 131    If you feel you have found a security problem in the Linux kernel,
 132    please follow the steps in this document to help notify the kernel
 133    developers, and help solve the issue.
 134
 135  Documentation/ManagementStyle
 136    This document describes how Linux kernel maintainers operate and the
 137    shared ethos behind their methodologies.  This is important reading
 138    for anyone new to kernel development (or anyone simply curious about
 139    it), as it resolves a lot of common misconceptions and confusion
 140    about the unique behavior of kernel maintainers.
 141
 142  Documentation/stable_kernel_rules.txt
 143    This file describes the rules on how the stable kernel releases
 144    happen, and what to do if you want to get a change into one of these
 145    releases.
 146
 147  Documentation/kernel-docs.txt
 148    A list of external documentation that pertains to kernel
 149    development.  Please consult this list if you do not find what you
 150    are looking for within the in-kernel documentation.
 151
 152  Documentation/applying-patches.txt
 153    A good introduction describing exactly what a patch is and how to
 154    apply it to the different development branches of the kernel.
 155
 156The kernel also has a large number of documents that can be
 157automatically generated from the source code itself.  This includes a
 158full description of the in-kernel API, and rules on how to handle
 159locking properly.  The documents will be created in the
 160Documentation/DocBook/ directory and can be generated as PDF,
 161Postscript, HTML, and man pages by running:
 162        make pdfdocs
 163        make psdocs
 164        make htmldocs
 165        make mandocs
 166respectively from the main kernel source directory.
 167
 168
 169Becoming A Kernel Developer
 170---------------------------
 171
 172If you do not know anything about Linux kernel development, you should
 173look at the Linux KernelNewbies project:
 174        http://kernelnewbies.org
 175It consists of a helpful mailing list where you can ask almost any type
 176of basic kernel development question (make sure to search the archives
 177first, before asking something that has already been answered in the
 178past.)  It also has an IRC channel that you can use to ask questions in
 179real-time, and a lot of helpful documentation that is useful for
 180learning about Linux kernel development.
 181
 182The website has basic information about code organization, subsystems,
 183and current projects (both in-tree and out-of-tree). It also describes
 184some basic logistical information, like how to compile a kernel and
 185apply a patch.
 186
 187If you do not know where you want to start, but you want to look for
 188some task to start doing to join into the kernel development community,
 189go to the Linux Kernel Janitor's project:
 190        http://janitor.kernelnewbies.org/
 191It is a great place to start.  It describes a list of relatively simple
 192problems that need to be cleaned up and fixed within the Linux kernel
 193source tree.  Working with the developers in charge of this project, you
 194will learn the basics of getting your patch into the Linux kernel tree,
 195and possibly be pointed in the direction of what to go work on next, if
 196you do not already have an idea.
 197
 198If you already have a chunk of code that you want to put into the kernel
 199tree, but need some help getting it in the proper form, the
 200kernel-mentors project was created to help you out with this.  It is a
 201mailing list, and can be found at:
 202        http://selenic.com/mailman/listinfo/kernel-mentors
 203
 204Before making any actual modifications to the Linux kernel code, it is
 205imperative to understand how the code in question works.  For this
 206purpose, nothing is better than reading through it directly (most tricky
 207bits are commented well), perhaps even with the help of specialized
 208tools.  One such tool that is particularly recommended is the Linux
 209Cross-Reference project, which is able to present source code in a
 210self-referential, indexed webpage format. An excellent up-to-date
 211repository of the kernel code may be found at:
 212        http://users.sosdg.org/~qiyong/lxr/
 213
 214
 215The development process
 216-----------------------
 217
 218Linux kernel development process currently consists of a few different
 219main kernel "branches" and lots of different subsystem-specific kernel
 220branches.  These different branches are:
 221  - main 2.6.x kernel tree
 222  - 2.6.x.y -stable kernel tree
 223  - 2.6.x -git kernel patches
 224  - 2.6.x -mm kernel patches
 225  - subsystem specific kernel trees and patches
 226
 2272.6.x kernel tree
 228-----------------
 2292.6.x kernels are maintained by Linus Torvalds, and can be found on
 230kernel.org in the pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/ directory.  Its development
 231process is as follows:
 232  - As soon as a new kernel is released a two weeks window is open,
 233    during this period of time maintainers can submit big diffs to
 234    Linus, usually the patches that have already been included in the
 235    -mm kernel for a few weeks.  The preferred way to submit big changes
 236    is using git (the kernel's source management tool, more information
 237    can be found at http://git.or.cz/) but plain patches are also just
 238    fine.
 239  - After two weeks a -rc1 kernel is released it is now possible to push
 240    only patches that do not include new features that could affect the
 241    stability of the whole kernel.  Please note that a whole new driver
 242    (or filesystem) might be accepted after -rc1 because there is no
 243    risk of causing regressions with such a change as long as the change
 244    is self-contained and does not affect areas outside of the code that
 245    is being added.  git can be used to send patches to Linus after -rc1
 246    is released, but the patches need to also be sent to a public
 247    mailing list for review.
 248  - A new -rc is released whenever Linus deems the current git tree to
 249    be in a reasonably sane state adequate for testing.  The goal is to
 250    release a new -rc kernel every week.
 251  - Process continues until the kernel is considered "ready", the
 252    process should last around 6 weeks.
 253  - Known regressions in each release are periodically posted to the 
 254    linux-kernel mailing list.  The goal is to reduce the length of 
 255    that list to zero before declaring the kernel to be "ready," but, in
 256    the real world, a small number of regressions often remain at 
 257    release time.
 258
 259It is worth mentioning what Andrew Morton wrote on the linux-kernel
 260mailing list about kernel releases:
 261        "Nobody knows when a kernel will be released, because it's
 262        released according to perceived bug status, not according to a
 263        preconceived timeline."
 264
 2652.6.x.y -stable kernel tree
 266---------------------------
 267Kernels with 4-part versions are -stable kernels. They contain
 268relatively small and critical fixes for security problems or significant
 269regressions discovered in a given 2.6.x kernel.
 270
 271This is the recommended branch for users who want the most recent stable
 272kernel and are not interested in helping test development/experimental
 273versions.
 274
 275If no 2.6.x.y kernel is available, then the highest numbered 2.6.x
 276kernel is the current stable kernel.
 277
 2782.6.x.y are maintained by the "stable" team <stable@kernel.org>, and are
 279released as needs dictate.  The normal release period is approximately 
 280two weeks, but it can be longer if there are no pressing problems.  A
 281security-related problem, instead, can cause a release to happen almost
 282instantly.
 283
 284The file Documentation/stable_kernel_rules.txt in the kernel tree
 285documents what kinds of changes are acceptable for the -stable tree, and
 286how the release process works.
 287
 2882.6.x -git patches
 289------------------
 290These are daily snapshots of Linus' kernel tree which are managed in a
 291git repository (hence the name.) These patches are usually released
 292daily and represent the current state of Linus' tree.  They are more
 293experimental than -rc kernels since they are generated automatically
 294without even a cursory glance to see if they are sane.
 295
 2962.6.x -mm kernel patches
 297------------------------
 298These are experimental kernel patches released by Andrew Morton.  Andrew
 299takes all of the different subsystem kernel trees and patches and mushes
 300them together, along with a lot of patches that have been plucked from
 301the linux-kernel mailing list.  This tree serves as a proving ground for
 302new features and patches.  Once a patch has proved its worth in -mm for
 303a while Andrew or the subsystem maintainer pushes it on to Linus for
 304inclusion in mainline.
 305
 306It is heavily encouraged that all new patches get tested in the -mm tree
 307before they are sent to Linus for inclusion in the main kernel tree.  Code
 308which does not make an appearance in -mm before the opening of the merge
 309window will prove hard to merge into the mainline.
 310
 311These kernels are not appropriate for use on systems that are supposed
 312to be stable and they are more risky to run than any of the other
 313branches.
 314
 315If you wish to help out with the kernel development process, please test
 316and use these kernel releases and provide feedback to the linux-kernel
 317mailing list if you have any problems, and if everything works properly.
 318
 319In addition to all the other experimental patches, these kernels usually
 320also contain any changes in the mainline -git kernels available at the
 321time of release.
 322
 323The -mm kernels are not released on a fixed schedule, but usually a few
 324-mm kernels are released in between each -rc kernel (1 to 3 is common).
 325
 326Subsystem Specific kernel trees and patches
 327-------------------------------------------
 328A number of the different kernel subsystem developers expose their
 329development trees so that others can see what is happening in the
 330different areas of the kernel.  These trees are pulled into the -mm
 331kernel releases as described above.
 332
 333Here is a list of some of the different kernel trees available:
 334  git trees:
 335    - Kbuild development tree, Sam Ravnborg <sam@ravnborg.org>
 336        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/sam/kbuild.git
 337
 338    - ACPI development tree, Len Brown <len.brown@intel.com>
 339        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/lenb/linux-acpi-2.6.git
 340
 341    - Block development tree, Jens Axboe <jens.axboe@oracle.com>
 342        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/axboe/linux-2.6-block.git
 343
 344    - DRM development tree, Dave Airlie <airlied@linux.ie>
 345        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/airlied/drm-2.6.git
 346
 347    - ia64 development tree, Tony Luck <tony.luck@intel.com>
 348        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/aegl/linux-2.6.git
 349
 350    - infiniband, Roland Dreier <rolandd@cisco.com>
 351        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/roland/infiniband.git
 352
 353    - libata, Jeff Garzik <jgarzik@pobox.com>
 354        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/jgarzik/libata-dev.git
 355
 356    - network drivers, Jeff Garzik <jgarzik@pobox.com>
 357        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/jgarzik/netdev-2.6.git
 358
 359    - pcmcia, Dominik Brodowski <linux@dominikbrodowski.net>
 360        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/brodo/pcmcia-2.6.git
 361
 362    - SCSI, James Bottomley <James.Bottomley@hansenpartnership.com>
 363        git.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/jejb/scsi-misc-2.6.git
 364
 365    - x86, Ingo Molnar <mingo@elte.hu>
 366        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/x86/linux-2.6-x86.git
 367
 368  quilt trees:
 369    - USB, Driver Core, and I2C, Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@suse.de>
 370        kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/gregkh/gregkh-2.6/
 371
 372  Other kernel trees can be found listed at http://git.kernel.org/ and in
 373  the MAINTAINERS file.
 374
 375Bug Reporting
 376-------------
 377
 378bugzilla.kernel.org is where the Linux kernel developers track kernel
 379bugs.  Users are encouraged to report all bugs that they find in this
 380tool.  For details on how to use the kernel bugzilla, please see:
 381        http://bugzilla.kernel.org/page.cgi?id=faq.html
 382
 383The file REPORTING-BUGS in the main kernel source directory has a good
 384template for how to report a possible kernel bug, and details what kind
 385of information is needed by the kernel developers to help track down the
 386problem.
 387
 388
 389Managing bug reports
 390--------------------
 391
 392One of the best ways to put into practice your hacking skills is by fixing
 393bugs reported by other people. Not only you will help to make the kernel
 394more stable, you'll learn to fix real world problems and you will improve
 395your skills, and other developers will be aware of your presence. Fixing
 396bugs is one of the best ways to get merits among other developers, because
 397not many people like wasting time fixing other people's bugs.
 398
 399To work in the already reported bug reports, go to http://bugzilla.kernel.org.
 400If you want to be advised of the future bug reports, you can subscribe to the
 401bugme-new mailing list (only new bug reports are mailed here) or to the
 402bugme-janitor mailing list (every change in the bugzilla is mailed here)
 403
 404        http://lists.linux-foundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bugme-new
 405        http://lists.linux-foundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bugme-janitors
 406
 407
 408
 409Mailing lists
 410-------------
 411
 412As some of the above documents describe, the majority of the core kernel
 413developers participate on the Linux Kernel Mailing list.  Details on how
 414to subscribe and unsubscribe from the list can be found at:
 415        http://vger.kernel.org/vger-lists.html#linux-kernel
 416There are archives of the mailing list on the web in many different
 417places.  Use a search engine to find these archives.  For example:
 418        http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.linux.kernel
 419It is highly recommended that you search the archives about the topic
 420you want to bring up, before you post it to the list. A lot of things
 421already discussed in detail are only recorded at the mailing list
 422archives.
 423
 424Most of the individual kernel subsystems also have their own separate
 425mailing list where they do their development efforts.  See the
 426MAINTAINERS file for a list of what these lists are for the different
 427groups.
 428
 429Many of the lists are hosted on kernel.org. Information on them can be
 430found at:
 431        http://vger.kernel.org/vger-lists.html
 432
 433Please remember to follow good behavioral habits when using the lists.
 434Though a bit cheesy, the following URL has some simple guidelines for
 435interacting with the list (or any list):
 436        http://www.albion.com/netiquette/
 437
 438If multiple people respond to your mail, the CC: list of recipients may
 439get pretty large. Don't remove anybody from the CC: list without a good
 440reason, or don't reply only to the list address. Get used to receiving the
 441mail twice, one from the sender and the one from the list, and don't try
 442to tune that by adding fancy mail-headers, people will not like it.
 443
 444Remember to keep the context and the attribution of your replies intact,
 445keep the "John Kernelhacker wrote ...:" lines at the top of your reply, and
 446add your statements between the individual quoted sections instead of
 447writing at the top of the mail.
 448
 449If you add patches to your mail, make sure they are plain readable text
 450as stated in Documentation/SubmittingPatches. Kernel developers don't
 451want to deal with attachments or compressed patches; they may want
 452to comment on individual lines of your patch, which works only that way.
 453Make sure you use a mail program that does not mangle spaces and tab
 454characters. A good first test is to send the mail to yourself and try
 455to apply your own patch by yourself. If that doesn't work, get your
 456mail program fixed or change it until it works.
 457
 458Above all, please remember to show respect to other subscribers.
 459
 460
 461Working with the community
 462--------------------------
 463
 464The goal of the kernel community is to provide the best possible kernel
 465there is.  When you submit a patch for acceptance, it will be reviewed
 466on its technical merits and those alone.  So, what should you be
 467expecting?
 468  - criticism
 469  - comments
 470  - requests for change
 471  - requests for justification
 472  - silence
 473
 474Remember, this is part of getting your patch into the kernel.  You have
 475to be able to take criticism and comments about your patches, evaluate
 476them at a technical level and either rework your patches or provide
 477clear and concise reasoning as to why those changes should not be made.
 478If there are no responses to your posting, wait a few days and try
 479again, sometimes things get lost in the huge volume.
 480
 481What should you not do?
 482  - expect your patch to be accepted without question
 483  - become defensive
 484  - ignore comments
 485  - resubmit the patch without making any of the requested changes
 486
 487In a community that is looking for the best technical solution possible,
 488there will always be differing opinions on how beneficial a patch is.
 489You have to be cooperative, and willing to adapt your idea to fit within
 490the kernel.  Or at least be willing to prove your idea is worth it.
 491Remember, being wrong is acceptable as long as you are willing to work
 492toward a solution that is right.
 493
 494It is normal that the answers to your first patch might simply be a list
 495of a dozen things you should correct.  This does _not_ imply that your
 496patch will not be accepted, and it is _not_ meant against you
 497personally.  Simply correct all issues raised against your patch and
 498resend it.
 499
 500
 501Differences between the kernel community and corporate structures
 502-----------------------------------------------------------------
 503
 504The kernel community works differently than most traditional corporate
 505development environments.  Here are a list of things that you can try to
 506do to try to avoid problems:
 507  Good things to say regarding your proposed changes:
 508    - "This solves multiple problems."
 509    - "This deletes 2000 lines of code."
 510    - "Here is a patch that explains what I am trying to describe."
 511    - "I tested it on 5 different architectures..."
 512    - "Here is a series of small patches that..."
 513    - "This increases performance on typical machines..."
 514
 515  Bad things you should avoid saying:
 516    - "We did it this way in AIX/ptx/Solaris, so therefore it must be
 517      good..."
 518    - "I've being doing this for 20 years, so..."
 519    - "This is required for my company to make money"
 520    - "This is for our Enterprise product line."
 521    - "Here is my 1000 page design document that describes my idea"
 522    - "I've been working on this for 6 months..."
 523    - "Here's a 5000 line patch that..."
 524    - "I rewrote all of the current mess, and here it is..."
 525    - "I have a deadline, and this patch needs to be applied now."
 526
 527Another way the kernel community is different than most traditional
 528software engineering work environments is the faceless nature of
 529interaction.  One benefit of using email and irc as the primary forms of
 530communication is the lack of discrimination based on gender or race.
 531The Linux kernel work environment is accepting of women and minorities
 532because all you are is an email address.  The international aspect also
 533helps to level the playing field because you can't guess gender based on
 534a person's name. A man may be named Andrea and a woman may be named Pat.
 535Most women who have worked in the Linux kernel and have expressed an
 536opinion have had positive experiences.
 537
 538The language barrier can cause problems for some people who are not
 539comfortable with English.  A good grasp of the language can be needed in
 540order to get ideas across properly on mailing lists, so it is
 541recommended that you check your emails to make sure they make sense in
 542English before sending them.
 543
 544
 545Break up your changes
 546---------------------
 547
 548The Linux kernel community does not gladly accept large chunks of code
 549dropped on it all at once.  The changes need to be properly introduced,
 550discussed, and broken up into tiny, individual portions.  This is almost
 551the exact opposite of what companies are used to doing.  Your proposal
 552should also be introduced very early in the development process, so that
 553you can receive feedback on what you are doing.  It also lets the
 554community feel that you are working with them, and not simply using them
 555as a dumping ground for your feature.  However, don't send 50 emails at
 556one time to a mailing list, your patch series should be smaller than
 557that almost all of the time.
 558
 559The reasons for breaking things up are the following:
 560
 5611) Small patches increase the likelihood that your patches will be
 562   applied, since they don't take much time or effort to verify for
 563   correctness.  A 5 line patch can be applied by a maintainer with
 564   barely a second glance. However, a 500 line patch may take hours to
 565   review for correctness (the time it takes is exponentially
 566   proportional to the size of the patch, or something).
 567
 568   Small patches also make it very easy to debug when something goes
 569   wrong.  It's much easier to back out patches one by one than it is
 570   to dissect a very large patch after it's been applied (and broken
 571   something).
 572
 5732) It's important not only to send small patches, but also to rewrite
 574   and simplify (or simply re-order) patches before submitting them.
 575
 576Here is an analogy from kernel developer Al Viro:
 577        "Think of a teacher grading homework from a math student.  The
 578        teacher does not want to see the student's trials and errors
 579        before they came up with the solution. They want to see the
 580        cleanest, most elegant answer.  A good student knows this, and
 581        would never submit her intermediate work before the final
 582        solution."
 583
 584        The same is true of kernel development. The maintainers and
 585        reviewers do not want to see the thought process behind the
 586        solution to the problem one is solving. They want to see a
 587        simple and elegant solution."
 588
 589It may be challenging to keep the balance between presenting an elegant
 590solution and working together with the community and discussing your
 591unfinished work. Therefore it is good to get early in the process to
 592get feedback to improve your work, but also keep your changes in small
 593chunks that they may get already accepted, even when your whole task is
 594not ready for inclusion now.
 595
 596Also realize that it is not acceptable to send patches for inclusion
 597that are unfinished and will be "fixed up later."
 598
 599
 600Justify your change
 601-------------------
 602
 603Along with breaking up your patches, it is very important for you to let
 604the Linux community know why they should add this change.  New features
 605must be justified as being needed and useful.
 606
 607
 608Document your change
 609--------------------
 610
 611When sending in your patches, pay special attention to what you say in
 612the text in your email.  This information will become the ChangeLog
 613information for the patch, and will be preserved for everyone to see for
 614all time.  It should describe the patch completely, containing:
 615  - why the change is necessary
 616  - the overall design approach in the patch
 617  - implementation details
 618  - testing results
 619
 620For more details on what this should all look like, please see the
 621ChangeLog section of the document:
 622  "The Perfect Patch"
 623      http://userweb.kernel.org/~akpm/stuff/tpp.txt
 624
 625
 626
 627
 628All of these things are sometimes very hard to do. It can take years to
 629perfect these practices (if at all). It's a continuous process of
 630improvement that requires a lot of patience and determination. But
 631don't give up, it's possible. Many have done it before, and each had to
 632start exactly where you are now.
 633
 634
 635
 636
 637----------
 638Thanks to Paolo Ciarrocchi who allowed the "Development Process"
 639(http://linux.tar.bz/articles/2.6-development_process) section
 640to be based on text he had written, and to Randy Dunlap and Gerrit
 641Huizenga for some of the list of things you should and should not say.
 642Also thanks to Pat Mochel, Hanna Linder, Randy Dunlap, Kay Sievers,
 643Vojtech Pavlik, Jan Kara, Josh Boyer, Kees Cook, Andrew Morton, Andi
 644Kleen, Vadim Lobanov, Jesper Juhl, Adrian Bunk, Keri Harris, Frans Pop,
 645David A. Wheeler, Junio Hamano, Michael Kerrisk, and Alex Shepard for
 646their review, comments, and contributions.  Without their help, this
 647document would not have been possible.
 648
 649
 650
 651Maintainer: Greg Kroah-Hartman <greg@kroah.com>
 652
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