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Linux Journal: The Kernel Hacker's Guide to Source Code Control

Aug 21, 2002, 13:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Greg Kroah-Hartman)

"Many issues involved with Linux kernel development are different from traditional software development processes. When working on a portion of the kernel (or a specific driver), you need to 1) stay aware of changes that are happening to other portions of the kernel with which you interact, 2) constantly apply your changes to the moving target of a fast-based kernel development release schedule, 3) resolve any merge conflicts between changes you have made and changes made by other people and 4) be able to export your changes in a format others can use easily.

"For a number of years, I developed and maintained the USB to serial port drivers and then eventually took over maintaining all of the USB code in the kernel. In this article, I explain some of the tools I used in the past to do this work and show how some new tools have enhanced my ability to keep on top of changes in the kernel and let me do my job with less effort.

"One of the most common methods of doing kernel work is to use the patch and diff programs. You can use this and no other type of source-code control system to do kernel development. One way is to use two different directory trees: a 'clean' one and a 'working' one. The clean tree is a released kernel version, while the working one is based on the same released kernel version, but contains your modifications. Then you can use patch and diff to extract your changes and forward port these changes to a new kernel release..."

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