How to contribute (was Re: Kernelnewbies Digest, Vol 77, Issue 7

valdis.kletnieks at valdis.kletnieks at
Wed Apr 12 08:34:51 EDT 2017

On Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:30:27 +0800, Tran Ly Vu said:

> How exactly do i start to contribute to linux community, i.e fix bug, etc

Step 0:  Figure out *why* you want to contribute to the Linux kernel.

Did your boss just tell you that you have 6 weeks to write a driver for
your company's new widget?

Do you have a device that doesn't have Linux support?

Is your kernel crashing/misbehaving?

Do you have an intense interest in filesystems, or memory management, or
networking, or process scheduling, or other aspect of kernels?

Do you just want to give back to the community?

Did you think it was a good way to attract members of the appropriate gender?

What you do next will depend on *why* you're here, and what your current
technical skills are.

Note that asking others for what you should do is as bad an idea as
asking people whether you should write a murder mystery or a romance novel,
and for exactly the same reason.  If you're doing it because somebody else
suggested it but you don't care for it, the results will be bad.

Though if you just want to give back to the community, the easiest thing
to do, and the most useful, is to build and boot linux-next kernels and
see if anything breaks on your system.  We have *lots* of people slinging
code, and not so many testing.  And testing is easier than coding. :)

Here's the cheat sheet for linux-next:

$ git clone git://
$ cd linux
$ git remote add linux-next git://
$ git fetch linux-next
$ git fetch --tags linux-next

(now get a .config file - grabbing your distro's config is a good place
to start. 'make locallmodconfig' if you want a faster build by not building
device driver modules for devices you don't have.
Then do a 'make' and install/boot your kernel.  Google for detailed
instructions for how to build/install your own kernel on your distro

... # later on - do this once every 1-3 weeks or as time permits
$ git remote update
$ make oldconfig
$ make
(install as above)
Boot it, and report any problems.

Do *not* do a 'git pull' to get the most recent linux-next, it won't do what
you think.

Yes, it really *is* that simple.

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