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Subject[PATCH v2 2/3] Maintainer Handbook: Maintainer Entry Profile
As presented at the 2018 Linux Plumbers conference [1], the Maintainer
Entry Profile (formerly Subsystem Profile) is proposed as a way to reduce
friction between committers and maintainers and encourage conversations
amongst maintainers about common best practices. While coding-style,
submit-checklist, and submitting-drivers lay out some common expectations
there remain local customs and maintainer preferences that vary by

The profile contains short answers to some of the common policy questions a
contributor might have that are local to the subsystem / device-driver, or
otherwise not covered by the top-level process documents.

Overview: General introduction to how the subsystem operates
Submit Checklist Addendum: Mechanical items that gate submission staging
Key Cycle Dates:
- Last -rc for new feature submissions: Expected lead time for submissions
- Last -rc to merge features: Deadline for merge decisions
Coding Style Addendum: Clarifications of local style preferences
Resubmit Cadence: When to ping the maintainer
Checkpatch / Style Cleanups: Policy on pure cleanup patches

See Documentation/maintainer/maintainer-entry-profile.rst for more details,
and a follow-on example profile for the libnvdimm subsystem.


Cc: Jonathan Corbet <>
Cc: Thomas Gleixner <>
Cc: Mauro Carvalho Chehab <>
Cc: Steve French <>
Cc: Greg Kroah-Hartman <>
Cc: Linus Torvalds <>
Cc: Tobin C. Harding <>
Cc: Olof Johansson <>
Cc: Martin K. Petersen <>
Cc: Daniel Vetter <>
Cc: Joe Perches <>
Cc: Dmitry Vyukov <>
Cc: Alexandre Belloni <>
Signed-off-by: Dan Williams <>
Documentation/maintainer/index.rst | 1
.../maintainer/maintainer-entry-profile.rst | 99 ++++++++++++++++++++
3 files changed, 104 insertions(+)
create mode 100644 Documentation/maintainer/maintainer-entry-profile.rst

diff --git a/Documentation/maintainer/index.rst b/Documentation/maintainer/index.rst
index 56e2c09dfa39..d904e74e1159 100644
--- a/Documentation/maintainer/index.rst
+++ b/Documentation/maintainer/index.rst
@@ -12,4 +12,5 @@ additions to this manual.
+ maintainer-entry-profile

diff --git a/Documentation/maintainer/maintainer-entry-profile.rst b/Documentation/maintainer/maintainer-entry-profile.rst
new file mode 100644
index 000000000000..aaedf4d6dbf7
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/maintainer/maintainer-entry-profile.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,99 @@
+.. _maintainerentryprofile:
+Maintainer Entry Profile
+The Maintainer Entry Profile supplements the top-level process documents
+(coding-style, submitting-patches...) with subsystem/device-driver-local
+customs as well as details about the patch submission lifecycle. A
+contributor uses this document to level set their expectations and avoid
+common mistakes, maintainers may use these profiles to look across
+subsystems for opportunities to converge on common practices.
+Provide an introduction to how the subsystem operates. While MAINTAINERS
+tells the contributor where to send patches for which files, it does not
+convey other subsystem-local infrastructure and mechanisms that aid
+Example questions to consider:
+- Are there notifications when patches are applied to the local tree, or
+ merged upstream?
+- Does the subsystem have a patchwork instance?
+- Any bots or CI infrastructure that watches the list?
+- Git branches that are pulled into -next?
+- What branch should contributors submit against?
+- Links to any other Maintainer Entry Profiles? For example a
+ device-driver may point to an entry for its parent subsystem. This makes
+ the contributor aware of obligations a maintainer may have have for
+ other maintainers in the submission chain.
+Submit Checklist Addendum
+List mandatory and advisory criteria, beyond the common "submit-checklist",
+for a patch to be considered healthy enough for maintainer attention.
+For example: "pass with no errors, or warning. Pass the
+unit test detailed at $URI".
+Key Cycle Dates
+One of the common misunderstandings of submitters is that patches can be
+sent at any time before the merge window closes and can still be
+considered for the next -rc1. The reality is that most patches need to
+be settled in soaking in linux-next in advance of the merge window
+opening. Clarify for the submitter the key dates (in terms rc release
+week) that patches might considered for merging and when patches need to
+wait for the next -rc. At a minimum:
+- Last -rc for new feature submissions:
+ New feature submissions targeting the next merge window should have
+ their first posting for consideration before this point. Patches that
+ are submitted after this point should be clear that they are targeting
+ the NEXT+1 merge window, or should come with sufficient justification
+ why they should be considered on an expedited schedule. A general
+ guideline is to set expectation with contributors that new feature
+ submissions should appear before -rc5.
+- Last -rc to merge features: Deadline for merge decisions
+ Indicate to contributors the point at which an as yet un-applied patch
+ set will need to wait for the NEXT+1 merge window. Of course there is no
+ obligation to ever except any given patchset, but if the review has not
+ concluded by this point the expectation the contributor should wait and
+ resubmit for the following merge window.
+- First -rc at which the development baseline branch, listed in the
+ overview section, should be considered ready for new submissions.
+Coding Style Addendum
+While the top-level "coding-style" document covers most style
+considerations there are still discrepancies and local preferences
+across subsystems. If a submitter should be aware of incremental / local
+style guidelines like x-mas tree variable declarations, indentation
+for multi line statements, function definition style, etc., list them
+Review Cadence
+One of the largest sources of contributor angst is how soon to ping
+after a patchset has been posted without receiving any feedback. In
+addition to specifying how long to wait before a resubmission this
+section can also indicate a preferred style of update like, resend the
+full series, or privately send a reminder email. This section might also
+list how review works for this code area and methods to get feedback
+that are not directly from the maintainer.
+Style Cleanup Patches
+For subsystems with long standing code bases it is reasonable to decline
+to accept pure coding-style fixup patches. This is where you can let
+contributors know "Standalone style-cleanups are welcome",
+"Style-cleanups to existing code only welcome with other feature
+changes", or “Standalone style-cleanups to existing code are not
index 3f171339df53..e5d111a86e61 100644
@@ -98,6 +98,10 @@ Descriptions of section entries:
Obsolete: Old code. Something tagged obsolete generally means
it has been replaced by a better system and you
should be using that.
+ P: Subsystem Profile document for more details submitting
+ patches to the given subsystem. This is either an in-tree file,
+ or a URI. See Documentation/maintainer/maintainer-entry-profile.rst
+ for details.
F: Files and directories with wildcard patterns.
A trailing slash includes all files and subdirectory files.
F: drivers/net/ all files in and below drivers/net
 \ /
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