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2017-09-21 - 21:26
OSADL Projects

OSADL Project: Upstream Submission of Components of the Linux Kernel for Inclusion into Mainline Linux

A large number of Linux kernel components have been and are being developed that are never submitted for inclusion into the mainline kernel. When asked why they did not submit a particular component, developers may give one or more of the following answers:

  • It works for me, that is enough.
  • My company doesn't let me do the extra work required for upstream submission.
  • I already tried, but the kernel developers didn't like my code, so I gave up.
  • I do not tolerate people criticizing my code.
  • The language in the Linux kernel mailing list is too harsh.
  • I am unable to write code according to the kernel coding style.

There are, however, a number of important advantages, if a driver or any other kernel component is part of the mainline kernel:

  • The code will grow along with the kernel, i.e. required modifications caused by a kernel upgrade change will normally be done by the kernel developers.
  • No separate support material needs to be shipped with the product - it is sufficient to mention
  • Sooner or later, the code will become a standard for the particular hardware it is written for; in consequence, a larger test basis becomes available and more bugs are detected and fixed. Furthermore, other users may implement additional functionality.
  • Customers prefer hardware that is fully supported by the mainline kernel.

In order to encourage companies to submit kernel components and to provide support for doing so, the OSADL Upstream Submission Program was launched.

How Does it Work?

As a general rule, every OSADL member company may request the upstream submission of one kernel component per year and per share. The following conditions apply:

  • The material must be made available within a given year, unused submission rights cannot be postponed to subsequent years.
  • The provided patch must apply to a recent kernel.
  • The software must work correctly.
  • The hardware product or the chip for which the component was written, if any, must be generally available.
  • If the submission is unusually difficult, additional submission rights may need to be used.

Activity of the Upstream Submission Program

These are the kernel components that are already part of the OSADL Upstream Submission Program:

Project name

Controller, Patch

Related hardware product

Hardware manufacturer

Current status1

Most recent posting

Scheduled mainline kernel


Maxim 6650, patch

CPX Base

Kontron Modular Computers, Kaufbeuren, Germany





National Semiconductor LM93, patch


Eltec Elektronik AG, Mainz, Germany




RBF file system

patch, script







1Status codes

  1. Working code available
  2. Initial submission
  3. Undergoing revision
  4. Accepted for inclusion
  5. Part of a release candidate
  6. Part of a released kernel version