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LinuxWorld.com: Kernel source merging 101

Feb 12, 2002, 16:08 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nicholas Petreley)
"If you're not familiar with the kernel patch and development process, here it is in a nutshell. People modify source files to fix bugs, add or remove features, or adapt to changes in the way the kernel handles certain tasks. They produce patch files by using a utility called diff. diff compares the old source file to the new one and produces a text file from the differences. You can then distribute this text file to others, who can use it to patch their source code with the utility called (what else?) patch.

Incidentally, the tradition for using patch to produce kernel patch files is to add the command line switches -urN, which tells diff to use the unified output format (which is what everyone on the kernel development team uses), recurse through directories, and keep track of new files that appear in one branch but not another. The full command would be diff -Nru.

Until recently, kernel developers submitted their patch files by including them within the body of an email message. Then they sent the message to one or more kernel maintainers and/or the kernel development mailing list. I'm not quite sure how the patch submission process will change now that Linus Torvalds and others are using the Bitkeeper Web-based source management system, but it looks like they'll still rely largely on the diff"

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