Paul Mackerras was the leader of a kernel summit session dedicated to
development tools. In the end, though, only one tool was discussed: the
system used by the
PowerPC development community. Patchwork is a patch management system; its
job is to ensure that posted patches are properly tracked, reviewed, and
The Patchwork system can be configured to watch a mailing list; whenever a
message containing a patch is posted, it is added to the database. Any
followup discussion is also captured and stored with the patch.
Maintainers can go into the system, review patches, delegate them to other
maintainers, and mark them for their final destination. Patches which are
set to be merged into a subsystem tree can be grouped into bundles; the
maintainer can then extract them as a mailbox file suitable for feeding to
the git-am tool.
A nice feature of Patchwork is that it can recognize messages containing
Acked-by lines and automatically note the acks in the original
Patchwork was generally recognized as a useful tool; the developers began
discussing whether it should be used for the kernel as a whole. It was
noted that all maintainers need to commit to using it, or it will quickly
clog up with patches that nobody is paying attention to. Nobody has any
illusions that all kernel developers can be convinced to start working with
this new tool; Andrew Morton stated that he was probably too stuck in his
way to make use of it. Some alternatives - such as having patches
automatically age out of the system - were discussed. But it was generally
agreed that trying to deal with the full linux-kernel mailing list would
probably be too big of a step at this time.
So a more likely outcome is that one or more subsystems will start
experimenting with Patchwork, perhaps running it on one of the kernel.org
systems. The SCSI or ext4 subsystems may be the early adopters here. If
that trial works out, expanding the use of Patchwork may be considered.
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