stable_kernel_rules.txt 4.44 KB
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Everything you ever wanted to know about Linux -stable releases.

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Rules on what kind of patches are accepted, and which ones are not, into the
"-stable" tree:
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 - It must be obviously correct and tested.
 - It cannot be bigger than 100 lines, with context.
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 - It must fix only one thing.
 - It must fix a real bug that bothers people (not a, "This could be a
   problem..." type thing).
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 - 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
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   security issue, or some "oh, that's not good" issue.  In short, something
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 - Serious issues as reported by a user of a distribution kernel may also
   be considered if they fix a notable performance or interactivity issue.
   As these fixes are not as obvious and have a higher risk of a subtle
   regression they should only be submitted by a distribution kernel
   maintainer and include an addendum linking to a bugzilla entry if it
   exists and additional information on the user-visible impact.
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 - New device IDs and quirks are also accepted.
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 - No "theoretical race condition" issues, unless an explanation of how the
   race can be exploited is also provided.
 - It cannot contain any "trivial" fixes in it (spelling changes,
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   whitespace cleanups, etc).
 - It must follow the Documentation/SubmittingPatches rules.
 - It or an equivalent fix must already exist in Linus' tree (upstream).
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Procedure for submitting patches to the -stable tree:

 - Send the patch, after verifying that it follows the above rules, to
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   changelog of your submission, as well as the kernel version you wish
   it to be applied to.
 - To have the patch automatically included in the stable tree, add the tag
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   in the sign-off area. Once the patch is merged it will be applied to
   the stable tree without anything else needing to be done by the author
   or subsystem maintainer.
 - If the patch requires other patches as prerequisites which can be
   cherry-picked, then this can be specified in the following format in
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   the sign-off area:

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     Cc: <> # 3.3.x: a1f84a3: sched: Check for idle
     Cc: <> # 3.3.x: 1b9508f: sched: Rate-limit newidle
     Cc: <> # 3.3.x: fd21073: sched: Fix affinity logic
     Cc: <> # 3.3.x
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    Signed-off-by: Ingo Molnar <>

   The tag sequence has the meaning of:
     git cherry-pick a1f84a3
     git cherry-pick 1b9508f
     git cherry-pick fd21073
     git cherry-pick <this commit>

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 - The sender will receive an ACK when the patch has been accepted into the
   queue, or a NAK if the patch is rejected.  This response might take a few
   days, according to the developer's schedules.
 - If accepted, the patch will be added to the -stable queue, for review by
   other developers and by the relevant subsystem maintainer.
 - Security patches should not be sent to this alias, but instead to the
   documented address.
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Review cycle:

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 - When the -stable maintainers decide for a review cycle, the patches will be
   sent to the review committee, and the maintainer of the affected area of
   the patch (unless the submitter is the maintainer of the area) and CC: to
   the linux-kernel mailing list.
 - The review committee has 48 hours in which to ACK or NAK the patch.
 - If the patch is rejected by a member of the committee, or linux-kernel
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   members object to the patch, bringing up issues that the maintainers and
   members did not realize, the patch will be dropped from the queue.
 - At the end of the review cycle, the ACKed patches will be added to the
   latest -stable release, and a new -stable release will happen.
 - Security patches will be accepted into the -stable tree directly from the
   security kernel team, and not go through the normal review cycle.
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   Contact the kernel security team for more details on this procedure.

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 - The queues of patches, for both completed versions and in progress
   versions can be found at:
 - The finalized and tagged releases of all stable kernels can be found
   in separate branches per version at:


Review committee:

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 - This is made up of a number of kernel developers who have volunteered for
   this task, and a few that haven't.