Zack’s Kernel News

Kernel News

Article from Issue 150/2013

Chronicler Zack Brown reports on the latest news, views, dilemmas, and developments within the Linux kernel community.

Defensive Patch Tracking for All

 Luis R. Rodriguez pointed out that the “Signedoff-by” tag has become popular with other free software projects.

Originally, the “Signed-off-by” tag for patch submissions was created in response to the SCO lawsuit, which targeted (among others) Linus Torvalds and asked for proof that Linux did not incorporate code derived from Unix System V, which SCO owned. At the time, given the hierarchical nature of Linux development, patches would sift upward through mailing lists, testers and cohorts, official maintainers, lieutenants, and others before finally arriving in Linus’s inbox to be applied to the kernel tree. Not much more than good will ensured that the code submitted to Linus was actually owned by the person who originally submitted it.

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