Re: [RFC] Documentation: add documentation for rc-series and mergewindow

From: Pavel Machek
Date: Fri Jun 19 2009 - 11:00:42 EST

On Tue 2009-06-16 11:17:05, Luis R. Rodriguez wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 02:34:01AM -0700, Jouni Malinen wrote:
> > On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 09:21:14PM -0700, Luis R. Rodriguez wrote:
> >
> > > +2.0.2: RC-SERIES RULES
> > > +
> > > +Rules on what kind of patches are accepted after the merge window closes.
> > > +These are patches targeted for the kernel rc-series of a kernel prior
> > > +to its release.
> > > +
> > > + - it must fix a reported regression
> > > + - if must fix a reported security hole
> > > + - if must fix a reported oops/kernel hang
> >
> >
> > s/if/it/ twice..
> Thanks, fixed.
> > Is there a good reason for documenting different rules for rc-series and
> > -stable releases? These three rules look stricter than the ones
> > described in stable_kernel_rules.txt:
> >
> > - It must fix a problem that causes a build error (but not for things
> > marked CONFIG_BROKEN), an oops, a hang, data corruption, a real
> > security issue, or some "oh, that's not good" issue. In short, something
> > critical.
> The rc-series rules this patch adds are a summary, so they do indeed appear to be
> stricter but I do think new vendor/device ids should be welcomed as well AFAICT,
> for instance.
> What may be best is to merge these two somehow and refer to the common rules for
> both and try to differentiate between them in their respective documentation
> section.
> But I also think good judgement can be applied, good judgement being defined as
> that of a subsystem maintainer, which allows us to simply tell developers to
> focus on development and send patches up and the respective maintainer routes
> the fixes accordingly.
> The spirit of writig this summary is to be clear that rules do exist and that
> we cannot simply suggest to read stable_kernel_rules.txt as there are items there
> which do not apply.
> Reason for trying to add more documentation for this is today there are a lot
> companies are working upstream and a better sense of what can get into specific
> kernel releases becomes more important and you also have more responsible
> developers looking out to ensure their fixes get propagated to the right trees.
> So leaving some of these things undocumented, implied or in the dark can turn
> out to not be as healthy and IMHO is what lead to the original issue from which
> I extracted information to create this summary.
> > For example, a fix for data corruption that users can hit relatively
> > easily sounds like a good example of something that should really be
> > accepted during the rc-phase even if it is not really a regression or
> > does not cause a kernel oops/hang.
> Agreed.
> > "oh, that's not good" issue is somewhat more difficult to comment on,
> > but I would expect that there could be some critical issues that really
> > would benefit from an exception. What exactly would qualify is something
> > that may be not be easily described in a sentence or two, though.
> >
> >
> > The main problem I see with having a very hard line on not allowing
> > critical fixes (however that would be defined) during the rc-phase is
> > that it will take quite a long time to get the fix eventually out. As an
> > example, a driver could have a bug that prevents it from working with
> > certain subset of devices, but this is noticed only couple of kernel
> > releases after the initial driver merge (e.g., for hardware that was not
> > yet available for end users at the time the driver was initially
> > submitted).
> I believe it makes sense to send fixes for new hardware on an old
> driver if it is known the fix cannot regress as it does not affect older
> hardware.
> > In other words, the issue would not be a regression, not a
> > security hole, and not an oops/kernel hang. However, it could make the
> > driver unusable to large number of users (once the affected hardware
> > model becomes available; say in a new laptop).
> Agreed. But I think that would fall under the new driver category.
> > If an issue is fixed just before a start of the next merge window the
> > patch may not have had enough time to go through the maintainers and end
> > up in linux-2.6.git in time before the merge window closes. If it
> > weren't now allowed in during the rc-phase, it may not go into a stable
> > release either (assuming the rc/stable rules are more or less the same)
> > and we would be looking something like five month time until the fix
> > would actually be released in a proper kernel release. Sure,
> > users/distros could take in some additional patches to fix issues they
> > care about, but worst case scenarios of close to half a year to fix an
> > issue in a kernel release does not sound quite ideal.
> Agreed. In the end it seems to come down to the specifics of the patch and
> only the maintainer can really be a good judge of whether it should go in
> or not. Of course properly documenting each patch helps, and I believe that
> in itself may be good enough to address the grey areas.
> Here's a new patch with the fix you noted. Also added a little stub about
> maintainers judgement, etc.
> From: Luis R. Rodriguez <lrodriguez@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [PATCH] Documentation: add documentation summary for rc-series and merge window
> This is losely based on previous discussions on linux-kernel [1][2].
> Lets also refer people reading the stable rules to
> Documentation/development-process/.
> Also add the number of days it has taken between releases,
> and provide the average for the last 10 releases: 86.0 days.
> [1]
> [2]
> Signed-off-by: Luis R. Rodriguez <lrodriguez@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> ---
> Documentation/development-process/2.Process | 96 ++++++++++++++++++++++++---
> Documentation/stable_kernel_rules.txt | 5 ++
> 2 files changed, 91 insertions(+), 10 deletions(-)
> diff --git a/Documentation/development-process/2.Process b/Documentation/development-process/2.Process
> index d750321..c220646 100644
> --- a/Documentation/development-process/2.Process
> +++ b/Documentation/development-process/2.Process
> @@ -7,20 +7,96 @@ course of one year, the kernel has since had to evolve a number of
> processes to keep development happening smoothly. A solid understanding of
> how the process works is required in order to be an effective part of it.
> +2.0:SUMMARY
> +
> +This section provides a brief summary of the kernel release rules.
> +
> +
> +Stable kernels are released when they are ready! This means there are
> +absolutely no strict guidelines for sticking to specific dates for a
> +kernel release.
> +
> +2.0.1: MERGE WINDOW
> +
> +The merge window opens up after the next stable kernel is released.
> +The merge window is when maintainers of different subsystem send pull
> +requests to Linus for code they have been queuing up for the next
> +stable kernel. This is typically now done through respective
> +foo-next-2.6.git trees where foo is your subsystem. Each maintainer
> +queues up patches for the next kernel cycle in this foo-next-2.6.git
> +tree. After the merge window the kernel is worked on through the
> +rc-series of the kernel release. The merge window closes at the first
> +rc-series release.
> +
> +After a maintainer has sent his pull request to Linus during the merge
> +window no further new development will be accepted for that tree and
> +as such it marks the closure of development for that subsystem for that
> +kernel cycle. Developers wishing to target deadlines should simply work
> +on their development without regards or consideration for inclusion to
> +a specific kernel release. Once development is done it should simply be
> +posted. If you insist on targeting a kernel release for deadlines you can
> +try to be aware of the current rc cycle development and how soon it seems
> +the next stable kernel release will be made. When Linus notes the last rc
> +cycle released may be the last -- that is a good sign you should already
> +have all your development done and merged in the respective development
> +tree. If your code is not ready and merged into the respective maintainers
> +tree prior to the announced last potential rc kernel release chances are
> +you missed getting your code in for the next kernel merge window.
> +Exemptions here are new drivers, covered below.
> +
> +
> +Rules on what kind of patches are accepted after the merge window closes.
> +These are patches targeted for the kernel rc-series of a kernel prior
> +to its release.
> +
> + - it must fix a reported regression
> + - it must fix a reported security hole
> + - it must fix a reported oops/kernel hang

- it must fix a bug.

I do not think the 'reported' requirement is there in -rc, and yes,
compile-fixes etc are welcome. Non-intrusive bugfixes too, afaict.

(cesky, pictures)
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