Is the Kernel Janitors project still alive?

Valdis.Kletnieks at Valdis.Kletnieks at
Thu Jul 18 13:26:26 EDT 2013

On Thu, 18 Jul 2013 08:33:05 -0500, Christopher Stanton said:

> Is there some live version of this project somewhere or has there been a
> replacement? A unified list of needed but non-critical clean-ups? Or, is it
> suggested people just look at bug reports?

Janitors is pretty much deceased, for several reasons:

1) Most of the low-hanging fruit that can be done by somebody who's just
starting out has already been done.  The kernel tree is much cleaner than it
was when the Janitors project started.

2) There's fewer old APIs to clean up, as most subsystem maintainers require
that a patch series that replaces an API also clean up the old one.

3) For many subsystems, the maintainer will give some pushback for style
cleanup patches not part of actual development, for two reasons:  (a) it's
possible for a cleanup patch to break something (for instance, a bad cleanup
of curly brackets can change the control flow).  So they don't like patches
against old stable code that could destabilize it.  (b) If there *is* other
development going on, style cleanups cause merge conflicts (unless they're
done as Step 0 of a development patch, by the guy writing the code, so
all the conflicts are pre-resolved).

A good place to start is to just use git to suck down the current linux-next
tree, build it, run it, and report all problems you encounter. Most code only
gets tested on the 3-4 boxes the code author has access to before it gets into
the linux-next tree. I usually manage to trip over anywhere from 1 to 5 bugs
per kernel release, just because nobody else has actually tried running the
code on a Dell Latitude with the same .config as I have and the same workflow.

If anything, we need a good pool of kernel testers even more than we need more
kernel coders. (And you'll learn a ton that way too - some 95% of what I know
about kernel innards has come from "Oh crud, what did I break *this* time?"

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