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Sending Patches
Patching Process
Email Format
Coding Style
Various Notes
Standards Compliance
Sending Patches
* send your patches to the mailing list (see ../README) or by pull request.
* email is accepted as an inline patch with, or without, a git pull
request. Pull request emails need to include the patch set for review
purposes. See howto-pull-request.txt and ../README for git repository
* email attachments are difficult to review and not recommended.
Hint: use git send-email.
* one patch per email.
See Email Format.
* many small patches are preferred over a single large patch. Split
patch sets based upon logical functionality. For example: #endif mark
ups, compiler warnings, and exit code fixes should all be individual
small patches.
* don't include generated (autotools) files in your patches.
Hint: use 'git clean -Xd'.
* neutrality: the files in util-linux should be distribution-neutral.
Packages like RPMs, DEBs, and the rest, are not provided. They should
be available from the distribution.
Repositories & Branches
* Primary repository is on
git clone git://
We use this repository for master and stable branches only.
* Backup repository at
git clone git://
We use this repository to backup and for pull requests,
issues tracking and topic branches. The master and stable branches are
always pushed to the both repositories in the same time.
It's recommended to use for development.
* Branches:
master - development for the next release
stable/* - stable maintenance releases
Github only:
next - optionally used when master branch is frozen due to -rcN releases
topic/* - long time development
Patching Process
* announce it on the mailing list when you are going to work with some
particular piece of code for a long time. This helps others to avoid
massive merge conflicts. Small or quick work, does not need to be
* make sure that after applying your patch the file(s) will compile
without errors.
* test that the previously existing program behavior is not altered. If
the patch intentionally alters the behavior explain what changed, and
the reason for it, in the changelog/commit message.
* only submit changes that you believe are ready to merge. To post a
patch for peer review only, state it clearly in the email and use
the Subject: [PATCH RFC] ...
* incorporate reviewer comments in the patches. Resubmitting without
changes is neither recommended nor polite.
* resubmission can be partial or complete. If only a few alterations are
needed then resubmit those particular patches. When comments cause a
greater effect then resubmit the entire patch set.
* When resubmitting use the email Subject: [PATCH v2] ...
Hint: use the --subject-prefix='PATCH v2' option with 'git format-patch'
* using a git repository for (re)submissions can make life easier.
See howto-pull-request.txt and ../README.
* all patch submissions are either commented, rejected, or accepted.
If the maintainer rejects a patch set it is pointless to resubmit it.
Email Format
* Subject: [PATCH] subsystem: description.
* Start the message body with an explanation of the patch, that is, a
changelog/commit entry.
* if someone else wrote the patch, they should be credited (and
blamed) for it. To communicate this, add a line like:
From: John Doe <>
* add a Signed-off-by line.
Hint: use git commit -s
The sign-off is a simple line at the end of the explanation for the
patch; which certifies that you wrote it or otherwise have the
right to pass it on as an open-source patch. The rules are pretty
simple; if you can certify the following:
By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:
(a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me and I
have the right to submit it under the open source license
indicated in the file; or
(b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best
of my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate open source
license and I have the right under that license to submit that
work with modifications, whether created in whole or in part
by me, under the same open source license (unless I am
permitted to submit under a different license), as indicated
in the file; or
(c) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other
person who certified (a), (b) or (c) and I have not modified
(d) I understand and agree that this project and the contribution
are public and that a record of the contribution (including
all personal information I submit with it, including my
sign-off) is maintained indefinitely and may be redistributed
consistent with this project or the open source license(s)
Then you just add a line like:
Signed-off-by: Random J Developer <>
Use your real name (sorry, no pseudonyms or anonymous contributions.)
* Next a single line beginning with three hyphen-minus characters (---)
and nothing else.
* Followed by the unified diff patch.
Note: the mailing list will reject certain content. See ../README.
Coding Style
* the preferred coding style is based on the linux kernel coding-style.
Available here:
* use 'FIXME:' with a good description, if you want to inform others
that something is not quite right, and you are unwilling to fix the
issue in the submitted change.
* do not use `else' after non-returning functions. For
if (this)
err(EXIT_FAIL, "this failed");
err(EXIT_FAIL, "that failed");
Is wrong and should be written:
if (this)
err(EXIT_FAIL, "this failed");
err(EXIT_FAIL, "that failed");
* when you use 'if' short-shorthand make sure it does not wrap into
multiple lines. In case the shorthand does not look good on one line
use the normal "if () else" syntax.
* The rule of thumb for options is that once they exist, you may not
change them, nor change how they work, nor remove them.
* The following options are well-known, and should not be used for any
other purpose:
-h, --help display usage and exit
-V, --version display version and exit
* Some commands use peculiar options and arguments. These will continue
to be supported, but anything like them will not be accepted as new
additions. A short list of examples:
Characters other than '-' to start an option. See '+' in 'more'.
Using a number as an option. See '-<number>' in 'more'.
Long options that start with a single '-'. See 'setterm'.
'-?' is not a synonym for '--help', but is an unknown option
resulting in a suggestion to try --help due to a getopt failure.
Various Notes
* util-linux does not use kernel headers for file system super
blocks structures.
* patches relying on kernel features that are not in Linus Torvalds's
tree are not accepted.
Standards Compliance
Some of the commands maintained in this package have Open Group
requirements. These commands are:
If you change these tools please make sure it does not create a conflict
with the latest standard. For example, it is not recommended to add
short command line options before they are part of the standard.
Introducing new long options is acceptable.
The Single UNIX(TM) Specification, Version 2
Copyright (C) 1997 The Open Group