Linux Kernel Devs: Fix Your Changelogs!
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In a panel at the Linux Foundation Collaboration summit this week, top Linux kernel developers detailed their common pet peeves about the Linux development model. It's a model that is not for the feint of heart.
Linux founder Linus Torvalds this week wrote in posting that, "publicly making fun of people is half the fun of open source programming." He also noted that, "the real reason to eschew programming in closed environments is that you can't embarrass people in public."
Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman told the Linux Foundation Collaboration audience that he agrees with Torvalds.
"It's true sometimes we get to make fun of stuff but what makes me grumpy is seeing the same problems and patterns over and over," Kroah-Hartman said.
Changelogs are another pet peeve cited by kernel developers. The purpose of a changelog is to identify what has been changed in a given piece of code. Linux kernel developer James Bottomley noted that his biggest pet peeve are changelogs that don't actually tell you what has been changed.
"I get a lot of changelogs that describe the change as doing this and that, but they don't tell you why they are doing it," Bottomley said. "I want to know what the user visible effect of the change is."
In Bottomley's view, a well written changelog shouldn't describe the change, since that's what the c-code does. It should describe the user visible effects of the change and why it is being applied.