[LinuxBIOS] Purpose of Acked-by

Stefan Reinauer stepan at coresystems.de
Sun Dec 10 15:39:32 CET 2006

* Segher Boessenkool <segher at kernel.crashing.org> [061210 13:12]:
> Acked-by is just a comment saying who approved this going into the SVN
> tree, it is completely separate; it should probably be called
> Approved-by or something like that.  I don't really see it having any
> real purpose, but maybe that's just me :-)

In firmware development the risk of bricking your machine is very high,
even with small changes that might have a side effect that the original
author does not see or does not care about. We have had this case so
many times and I've been spending many days fixing the tree after
someone broke it like that and just stopped submitting patches after

On the other hand, pointing fingers within a team is useless, it wont
make teamwork any better. Thus we agreed on using a "second set of eyes"
principle for all work, and expressing this by the Acked-by tag.

I understand that amongs developers such a principle of control is
observed distrustfully, or considered free of purpose, but in fact it is
not. Instead it is a mere method of keeping the tree in the best
possible state, and those who are sly dog enough to never break the tree
do it to stand solidly united with the others. 

While inventing Acked-by we also started enforcing it. Using a 2 eyes
principle without enforcing it makes absolutely no sense at all. 

Now the habit of Acking your own patches is a well-known workaround to
this 2 eyes principle. It is _supposed_ to look stupid so that people
normally dont do it, unless they fulfilled a couple of criteria
1) they waited for a review for an appropriate amount of time
2) they ran abuild
3) they are absolutely certain that the change is so trivial
   that it wont break anything
4) they are absolutely certain that the change is so trivial
   that noone would ever oppose.

If people start misusing this method, we might just remove them from the
list of committers.


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