Wednesday, October 26, 2011

KS2011: Patch review (by

I have read an interesting article by Jonathan Corbet on the "patch review" session on 2011 Kernel Summit. Needless to say, patch review process in both open-source and proprietary projects is a very interesting and challenging topic, especially when it goes to a big software systems with thousands people working on them. While reading the article I have found a point not really relevant to the review process, but very interesting from the prioritization POV
As one might imagine, the discussion became rather unfocused and fragmented for a while. It came back together when Linus took the microphone and stated that, simply, code that actually is used is the code that is actually worth something. The Android code is certainly being used; the in-kernel code aimed at the same problems is just a vague idea that is worthless in comparison. We should, he said, consider merging suspend blockers as a real option. Even if it truly is crap, we've had crap in the kernel before. The code does not get any better out of tree. Alan Cox agreed that it is probably a good idea to merge that code. The interface is important and has a lot of users; getting the code merged is the best way to fix the implementation. Ingo also agreed, saying that when code has millions of users, we have to say "yes" to it. 
This is a really interesting statement, I do fully support it. It does not neglect the need to improve code quality with time - it only sets priority. It is really weird that so many people (including really good software engineers) do not understand this...

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