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From: Dmitry Vyukov <>
To: Konstantin Ryabitsev <>
Cc: Dmitry Vyukov <>,
	"Theodore Ts'o" <>, Rob Herring <>,
	Laurent Pinchart <>,
	"Rafael J. Wysocki" <>,, Shuah Khan <>,
	Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
	Bjorn Helgaas <>,
	Jiri Kosina <>,, Geert Uytterhoeven <>,, Sasha Levin <>,
	Christoph Hellwig <>,
	David Miller <>
Subject: Re: [MAINTAINERS SUMMIT] Reflections on kernel development processes
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2019 08:46:02 +0200	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <20190930202451.GA14403@pure.paranoia.local>

On Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 10:24 PM Konstantin Ryabitsev
<> wrote:
> Hi, all:
> In retrospect, taking a week offline vacation right after getting
> everyone excited about workflow tooling was not the best timing. :) I'm
> slowly catching up to all the good conversations that took place while I
> was enjoying the fine beaches of South-West Iberian peninsula.

Hi Konstantin,

Are you going to attend OSS Summit EU? If yes, I think we should sync
up there. I know Dave and Greg are there too. Perhaps we could
schedule some kind of semi-formal meeting?

> On Sun, Sep 22, 2019 at 02:02:48PM +0200, Dmitry Vyukov wrote:
> > While I understand the intention to provide something useful as fast
> > as possible, I also a bit afraid that the Stage 1 ("putt") diverges
> > us into investing into particular UI, tying capabilities with this UI
> > and not addressing the fundamental problems.
> > People are expressing a preference for different types of UIs
> > (CL, terminal GUI, web, scripting), I think eventually we will have
> > several. So I would suggest to untie features/capabilities from
> > any particular UI as much as possible, and start with addressing more
> > fundamental aspects. Building richer features on top of the current
> > human-oriented emails is also going to be much harder, and that's the
> > work that we eventually will (hopefully) throw away.
> Yes, I fully agree. My perspective is a bit limited in this regard,
> because I am not a kernel contributor, so I only hear what the
> maintainers complain about. That said, I am also prioritizing the kind
> of effort that we can get funded -- and high-profile Linux kernel
> developers have access to a lot of important ears. I am working through
> my backlog of emails to fine-tune my tool development proposal, which I
> hope will allow me to get some funds via LF channels.
> > There are 3 groups of people we should be looking at:
> > - contributors (important special case: sending first patch)
> > - maintainers
> > - reviewers
> >
> > I would set the first milestone as having the CL utility (let's call
> > it "kit"*) which can do:
> I think we should call it kthul (pronounced k-tool, easy to type, and
> powerful enough to summon the Great Ones). :) Mostly kidding, except
> perhaps that "kit" is not websearch-friendly, so people googling for
> docs would have an easier time finding hits for "kthul".
> > $ kit init
> > # Does some necessary one-time initialization, executed from the
> > # kernel git checkout.
> >
> > $ kit mail
> > # Sends the top commit in the current branch for review.
> >
> > So that would be the workflow for sending your first kernel patch.
> I would argue that "sending your first patch" should be a hosted web
> service. A while back we discussed this in some detail -- it would be a
> simple site that would basically accept a handful of fields:
> - your name
> - your email address
> - the URL of your linux fork (e.g. on Github/Gitlab)
> - (optionally) the commit id, if not master
> - (optionally) a text field for the cover letter
> - (optionally) message-id of the previous patch/series revision
> The service would create the patch/series based on this input, run
> checkpatch, validate that the provided email address is valid, and then
> submit the patch/series to the proper list(s) based on get_maintainer
> results.
> The reasons why I think this should be a web service as opposed to a CLI
> tool are pretty simple:
> - it is easier to make updates to a web service instead of asking
>   newbies to "git pull/make"
> - it doesn't force us to stick to languages/libraries that are likely to
>   be present on users' systems (which generally limits us to perl5,
>   python, c)
> - it would be better received by newbies than a CLI tool (arguable, but
>   still)
> > Later "kit mail" can also run checkpatch, check SOB tag, add some kind
> > of change ID or anything else we will consider necessary. It may be
> > necessary to be able to force-override some of the checks, but by default
> > you are now getting patches that have SOB, checkpatch-clean, etc.
> I would argue that this should be a totally separate tool from what
> maintainers use, *or* that there should be two different tools -- a
> simplified web bridge as described above for people submitting
> occasional patches and a more powerful CLI tool used by regular
> developers.
> > If there is an easy way to make it work with the current email-based
> > process (i.e. send email on your behalf and you receive incoming emails),
> > then we could do that first and give it to new developers to relief from
> > setting up email client. Otherwise, we should continue developing it
> > based on something like SSB (or whatever protocol we will choose).
> This slots easily into the "community bridges" workflow that I have in
> mind, which is why I'm leaning towards it being a web tool.
> > On the protocol side I don't have strong preference for SSB or
> > something similar custom. It seems that we will use SSB in somewhat
> > simplified way, i.e. global connected graph, rather than several large
> > groups or small isolated groups. We won't need Facebook-like following
> > nor Pubs announcements. You obviously don't want to be notified of all
> > messages in the system (LKML), but still it's a global graph in the
> > sense that you can receive anything if you want or CC anybody.
> > That limited subset of SSB should be easier to implement.
> > So as Konstantin said, we could fork SSB to better fit our needs.
> > The more important part will be the application-level protocol that
> > we will transfer inside of SSB messages, which is mostly transport
> > protocol for our needs (at least for the majority, maybe not for
> > Konstantin's concerns :)).
> I'm all for taking the best parts of SSB and ditching the not-so-great
> parts of it (like reliance on nodejs-formatted json), but we need to be
> careful not to paint ourselves into the corner doing so. There's a lot
> of careful thought behind SSB, especially its decentralized nature, and
> people who are developing the v2 of the protocol are well-aware of the
> downsides of v1. I think we should let them complete this work before
> deciding to fork it or not.
> Many people asked why not just use git as the channel/protocol instead
> of something esoteric like SSB, and the easy answer is that git is
> poorly suited for this purpose:
> - git is fine-tuned for small revisions to large static codebases; it is
>   not well-suited for applications where either the number of files
>   grows indefinitely as records are added, or where the contents of the
>   same file get completely rewritten between revisions (as with
>   public-inbox v2). It *works*, but it's obviously not built for it.
> - we don't need multiple branches/tags/etc for the purpose of creating a
>   chain of records; we also don't need to worry about
>   merging/rebasing/etc. Using git would be like using the scissors on
>   a swiss army knife -- you *can*, but only out of desperation.
> - similarly, git replication protocol is too chatty for what we need
>   it to do -- it was written to support reconciling between multiple
>   branches, some of which may have been rebased/deleted/etc. For
>   replicating a chain of immutable records, we just need to compare the
>   auto-incremented value of the latest record on the chain
> > I would suggest to put bug/issue tracking aside for now (it's an
> > important thing, but it should be possible to add it later) and also
> > "bare chatting" (which can be done over emails for now) and
> > concentrate on patches just to make things simpler. Patches are
> > the cornerstone of the process.
> Agreed.
> > So we need to define the format of the "patch for review" SSB message
> > which "kit mail" will form and push.
> I think we shouldn't touch SSB yet -- we can write the maintainer tool
> to support multiple sources of patches:
> - public-inbox repositories (most natural choice)
> - web tools that offer REST APIs (patchwork/patchew/etc)
> - SSB sigchains, eventually
> In my mind, these would be pluggable in the same way as one can choose
> pop/imap and smtp/sendmail for mutt -- the rest of the app works the
> same regardless of what fetch/delivery method you have configured.
> > Regarding "state machines" in the protocol (Radicle/IPFS), I think
> > it's not just "sipping the blockchain cool-aid a bit too much",
> > it's a wrong tool for our needs. Smart contracts are used for
> > crypto-currencies where one does want to carve the rules in the
> > blockchain. But we don't want and don't need this.
> Right, we need a solution where humans are the final deciding factors
> about what makes it into their git trees. It's interesting to consider
> futuristic situations where such decisions are made by smart contracts,
> but it's a path I'd rather leave for someone more bright-eyed and
> optimistic.
> > Another important part of the system is user identities.
> > Do we go with a public/private key pair? Or we have some other realistic
> > alternatives? Assuming we go with key pairs for now, "kit init"
> > will generate a local key pair for you (a new developer). But a user
> > should be able to evacuate/export the private key later and pass
> > an existing key (to bootstrap a new machine with the same identity).
> Ah, now we are getting to *interesting* bits. :) I have a separate
> conversation happening on the git list where I argue that git-send-email
> and git-am should natively support minisign-type signatures:
> Other than cryptographic signing, there aren't really any "realistic
> alternatives" -- and I would argue that we should continue to use PGP
> for git tag/commit signing, but consider simpler alternatives for
> patches, such as my minisign+TOFU proposal there.
> Upsides of PGP:
> - established standard with good support in git tools, including web
>   tools like Gitlab/Github
> - smartcard support, so PGP keys belonging to important maintainers are
>   better protected than just by a passphrase
> - cross-certification support with other PGP keys ("key signing")
>   allowing us to establish a web of trust
> Upsides of minisign:
> - really fast
> - really tiny signatures and public keys, such that adding them to patch
>   submissions doesn't balloon things out of proportions, as with PGP
>   keys and signatures
> - good cross-platform support (minisign is a compatible reimplementation
>   of OpenBSD's signify)
> > However, we will probably need another identity that is slightly
> > easier to remember and type in patch CC line than 256-char hash.
> > And that probably needs to be an email address (required for sending
> > email notifications anyway). But I don't know how to ensure uniqueness
> > of emails in this system. An alternative would be to use usernames
> > (e.g. "torvalds" or "tytso") and then a user can map that to own email
> > as they want. But this does not remove the requirement for uniqueness.
> My suggestion is that we continue to use email addresses for now, since
> that's still required for git commits. Having a "unique global identity"
> is a hard problem to solve (if it's at all solvable), so we shouldn't
> try to come up with a solution while brainstorming this tool.
> > Two more interesting/controversial possibilities.
> > If we have an email bridge, we could also have a github bridge!
> > Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we need to do this now or at all.
> > I am saying that if UI part is abstracted enough, then it may be
> > theoretically possible to take a PR on a special dedicated github
> > project, convert it to "patch for review" SSB message and inject
> > into the system. Comments on the patch will be proxied back to github.
> > Andrew will receive this over email bridge and review and merge,
> > not even suspecting he is reviewing a github PR (w00t!).
> It's basically what I described above with my "patch submission web
> service" tool. :)
> > Second controversial idea: the local rich GUI/patchwork is actually
> > web-based _but_ it talks to a local web server (so fast and no internet
> > connection required) _and_ it resembles terminal UI and has tons of
> > hotkeys and terminal-like navigation (so it kinda feels like terminal).
> > You start it with "kit gui" which starts a browser for you.
> > The advantage of this: we build 1 UI instead of 2, so immediate 2x
> > time savings. Also consistency between the UIs: you go to web, you see
> > exactly the same UI that you used to work with locally (now it's just
> > powered by a remote web server).
> It's not that controversial -- a web-ui that runs on a local port and is
> accessible via a browser is something we should totally do, simply
> because it offers a much richer interface than the terminal. The main
> trouble would be designing a non-horrible web UI for this purpose...
> without trying to offend anyone on this list, I'd argue that nobody
> present is any good at web UIs. :) So, we should enlist a group of
> people who are willing to put a good amount of effort into getting it
> done.
> Thanks for all of your work on this! I am trying to finalize a proposal
> that I can submit for review to the Proper People -- I just wish the
> rest of my work would stop demanding so much attention at the moment, so
> I can spend more time working on cool things like this, and less time on
> putting together spreadsheets and approving travel expenses. :)
> Best,
> -K

  reply	other threads:[~2019-10-08  6:46 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 28+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
     [not found] <20190912120602.GC29277@pure.paranoia.local>
2019-09-22 12:02 ` [Ksummit-discuss] " Dmitry Vyukov
2019-09-23 12:52   ` Daniel Borkmann
2019-09-23 14:08     ` Dmitry Vyukov
2019-09-23 14:57       ` Daniel Borkmann
2019-09-30 21:24     ` Konstantin Ryabitsev
2019-10-01 21:33       ` Daniel Borkmann
2019-10-02 15:04         ` Konstantin Ryabitsev
2019-09-30 20:24   ` Konstantin Ryabitsev
2019-10-08  6:46     ` Dmitry Vyukov [this message]
2019-10-08 16:51       ` Konstantin Ryabitsev
2019-10-11  2:16         ` Konstantin Ryabitsev
2019-10-11  2:30           ` Steven Rostedt
2019-10-11  8:30           ` Greg Kroah-Hartman
2019-10-11  8:59             ` Dmitry Vyukov
2019-10-11  9:33               ` Dmitry Vyukov
2019-10-11  9:40                 ` Christian Brauner
2019-10-11 13:18                 ` Steven Rostedt
2019-10-11 13:19                   ` Christian Brauner
2019-10-11 13:30                     ` Dmitry Vyukov
2019-10-11 13:40                       ` Laurent Pinchart
2019-10-11 15:28                       ` Jonathan Corbet
2019-10-14  7:42                       ` Nicolas Belouin
2019-10-14  7:52                         ` Daniel Vetter
2019-10-15  7:31                           ` Dmitry Vyukov
2019-10-15 16:17                             ` Konstantin Ryabitsev
2019-10-11 10:46           ` Dmitry Vyukov
2019-10-11 13:29           ` Laurent Pinchart
2019-10-11 13:51             ` Theodore Y. Ts'o

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