Re: == /dev/null ???

Linus Torvalds (
Mon, 19 Feb 1996 08:30:52 +0200

"Eric Youngdale": "Re: == /dev/null ???" (Feb 16, 12:51):
> The impression I get is that Linus looks for messages from people
> whom he has worked with in the past. A patch coming from someone completely
> new sometimes gets lost in the shuffle just because of the volume of mail.
> Oftentimes an approach that works is to send the patch to one of these
> people (i.e. someone who has worked on that general part of the kernel
> before), and have them look it over and send it to Linus.

Actually, that's partly true, but not for the reasons cited.

What happens is that if I get a patch against something where I'm not
the primary developer (against a device driver or a filesystem I have
nothing to do with, for example), I am less likely to react to that
patch if it doesn't come from the person who is responsible for that
particular piece of code.

If I get a networking patch, for example, it's a _lot_ more likely to
get a reaction if it is from Alan Cox, and then it usually goes in with
no questions asked. Similarly (and this is probably wha Eric has seen
personally), if it is a patch against the SCSI subsystem, I much prefer
to have it from somebody I know works on SCSI (Eric, Drew, Leonard..)

So that is one reason why it's a good idea to send patches to the
mailing lists (but Cc'ing them to me is a good idea too). Because if I
don't react to them, maybe the person that does the primary development
on that part of the kernel will..

The above said, the major reason why I don't apply patches is just
because I'm concentrating on something else, and don't really have time
to look into a patch. If that happens when I get a patch, I will never
go back to that patch later when I get more time: I don't have time to
go through my mail archives. So the patch is ignored, and most of the
time the sender of the patch doesn't even get an ACK about it.

Most of the people that have worked with me a longer time know that if
they don't get any reaction from me (either a reply or see their patches
in the next patch-set), and if they consider the patch important,
they'll re-send it in a week or two.

I'm sorry about not sending ACK's, but quite frankly, reading email
takes too much time anyway, and answering (even just a few words) just
about doubles or triples the time I have to spend on a message.

I could do some kind of automated acking, but then you'd just get a
confirmation that I have gotten the message, nothing more. I don't
think that is worth it (it's not as if my email connection was flaky:
it's rather solid. It's just _me_ that is flaky, so autopmated ACK's
wouldn't give anybody more information)

So consider this a "mass acknowledgement" for all the mail I have
gotten, and not reacted to.