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Chapter 5. Source Tree Guidelines and Policies
Source Tree Guidelines and Policies
This chapter documents various guidelines and policies in force for the FreeBSD source tree.
Style Guidelines
Consistent coding style is extremely important, particularly with large projects like FreeBSD. Code should follow the FreeBSD coding styles described in man:style[9] and man:style.Makefile[5].
`MAINTAINER` on Makefiles
If a particular portion of the FreeBSD [.filename]#src/# distribution is being maintained by a person or group of persons, this is communicated through an entry in [.filename]#src/MAINTAINERS#. Maintainers of ports within the Ports Collection express their maintainership to the world by adding a `MAINTAINER` line to the [.filename]#Makefile# of the port in question:
MAINTAINER= email-addresses
For other parts of the repository, or for sections not listed as having a maintainer, or when you are unsure who the active maintainer is, try looking at the recent commit history of the relevant parts of the source tree. It is quite often the case that a maintainer is not explicitly named, but the people who are actively working in a part of the source tree for, say, the last couple of years are interested in reviewing changes. Even if this is not specifically mentioned in the documentation or the source itself, asking for a review as a form of courtesy is a very reasonable thing to do.
The role of the maintainer is as follows:
The maintainer owns and is responsible for that code. This means that he or she is responsible for fixing bugs and answering problem reports pertaining to that piece of the code, and in the case of contributed software, for tracking new versions, as appropriate.
Changes to directories which have a maintainer defined shall be sent to the maintainer for review before being committed. Only if the maintainer does not respond for an unacceptable period of time, to several emails, will it be acceptable to commit changes without review by the maintainer. However, it is suggested that you try to have the changes reviewed by someone else if at all possible.
It is of course not acceptable to add a person or group as maintainer unless they agree to assume this duty. On the other hand it does not have to be a committer and it can easily be a group of people.
Contributed Software
Some parts of the FreeBSD distribution consist of software that is actively being maintained outside the FreeBSD project. For historical reasons, we call this _contributed_ software. Some examples are sendmail, gcc and patch.
Over the last couple of years, various methods have been used in dealing with this type of software and all have some number of advantages and drawbacks. No clear winner has emerged.
Since this is the case, after some debate one of these methods has been selected as the "official" method and will be required for future imports of software of this kind. Furthermore, it is strongly suggested that existing contributed software converge on this model over time, as it has significant advantages over the old method, including the ability to easily obtain diffs relative to the "official" versions of the source by everyone (even without direct repository access). This will make it significantly easier to return changes to the primary developers of the contributed software.
Ultimately, however, it comes down to the people actually doing the work. If using this model is particularly unsuited to the package being dealt with, exceptions to these rules may be granted only with the approval of the link:https://www.FreeBSD.org/administration/#t-core[Core Team] and with the general consensus of the other developers. The ability to maintain the package in the future will be a key issue in the decisions.
Because it makes it harder to import future versions minor, trivial and/or cosmetic changes are _strongly discouraged_ on files that are still tracking the vendor branch.
For details on how do do a vendor import please see link:https://docs.freebsd.org/en/articles/committers-guide/#git-primer[the committers guide]