solving the "let's make all constifiable variables const" problem is not possible with patching due to the sheer amount of patching needed.I remember reading about this on LWN but I never quite believed it. A patch to add the 'const' keyword to some code is not hard to merge manually, even if the code has diverged a lot in the meantime. But then, the sheer size of the Linux codebase may make even a simple change unmanageable - I will defer to your experience.
I guess the answer would be to generate the patch automatically against a given source tree. Then even if only a fraction of the total patch can be applied at a time, it is possible to keep trying. Clearly if it takes a week of manual work to create the patch it's never going to be practical to get it in.
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