SubmittingPatches 22.4 KB
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Checklist (and a short version for the impatient):

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	- make commits of logical units
	- check for unnecessary whitespace with "git diff --check"
	  before committing
	- do not check in commented out code or unneeded files
	- the first line of the commit message should be a short
	  description and should skip the full stop
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	- the body should provide a meaningful commit message, which:
		- uses the imperative, present tense: "change",
		  not "changed" or "changes".
		- includes motivation for the change, and contrasts
		  its implementation with previous behaviour
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	- add a "Signed-off-by: Your Name <[email protected]>" line to the
	  commit message (or just use the option "-s" when committing)
	  to confirm that you agree to the Developer's Certificate of Origin
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	- make sure that you have tests for the bug you are fixing
	- make sure that the test suite passes after your commit
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	- use "git format-patch -M" to create the patch
	- do not PGP sign your patch
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	- do not attach your patch, but read in the mail
	  body, unless you cannot teach your mailer to
	  leave the formatting of the patch alone.
	- be careful doing cut & paste into your mailer, not to
	  corrupt whitespaces.
	- provide additional information (which is unsuitable for
	  the commit message) between the "---" and the diffstat
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	- if you change, add, or remove a command line option or
	  make some other user interface change, the associated
	  documentation should be updated as well.
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	- if your name is not writable in ASCII, make sure that
	  you send off a message in the correct encoding.
	- send the patch to the list ([email protected]) and the
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	  maintainer ([email protected]) if (and only if) the patch
	  is ready for inclusion. If you use git-send-email(1),
	  please test it first by sending email to yourself.
	- see below for instructions specific to your mailer
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Long version:

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I started reading over the SubmittingPatches document for Linux
kernel, primarily because I wanted to have a document similar to
it for the core GIT to make sure people understand what they are
doing when they write "Signed-off-by" line.

But the patch submission requirements are a lot more relaxed
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here on the technical/contents front, because the core GIT is
thousand times smaller ;-).  So here is only the relevant bits.
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(0) Decide what to base your work on.

In general, always base your work on the oldest branch that your
change is relevant to.

 - A bugfix should be based on 'maint' in general. If the bug is not
   present in 'maint', base it on 'master'. For a bug that's not yet
   in 'master', find the topic that introduces the regression, and
   base your work on the tip of the topic.

 - A new feature should be based on 'master' in general. If the new
   feature depends on a topic that is in 'pu', but not in 'master',
   base your work on the tip of that topic.

 - Corrections and enhancements to a topic not yet in 'master' should
   be based on the tip of that topic. If the topic has not been merged
   to 'next', it's alright to add a note to squash minor corrections
   into the series.

 - In the exceptional case that a new feature depends on several topics
   not in 'master', start working on 'next' or 'pu' privately and send
   out patches for discussion. Before the final merge, you may have to
   wait until some of the dependent topics graduate to 'master', and
   rebase your work.

To find the tip of a topic branch, run "git log --first-parent
master..pu" and look for the merge commit. The second parent of this
commit is the tip of the topic branch.
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(1) Make separate commits for logically separate changes.

Unless your patch is really trivial, you should not be sending
out a patch that was generated between your working tree and
your commit head.  Instead, always make a commit with complete
commit message and generate a series of patches from your
repository.  It is a good discipline.

Describe the technical detail of the change(s).

If your description starts to get too long, that's a sign that you
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probably need to split up your commit to finer grained pieces.
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That being said, patches which plainly describe the things that
help reviewers check the patch, and future maintainers understand
the code, are the most beautiful patches.  Descriptions that summarise
the point in the subject well, and describe the motivation for the
change, the approach taken by the change, and if relevant how this
differs substantially from the prior version, can be found on Usenet
archives back into the late 80's.  Consider it like good Netiquette,
but for code.
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Oh, another thing.  I am picky about whitespaces.  Make sure your
changes do not trigger errors with the sample pre-commit hook shipped
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in templates/hooks--pre-commit.  To help ensure this does not happen,
run git diff --check on your changes before you commit.
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(1a) Try to be nice to older C compilers

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We try to support a wide range of C compilers to compile
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git with. That means that you should not use C99 initializers, even
if a lot of compilers grok it.

Also, variables have to be declared at the beginning of the block
(you can check this with gcc, using the -Wdeclaration-after-statement

Another thing: NULL pointers shall be written as NULL, not as 0.

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(2) Generate your patch using git tools out of your commits.

git based diff tools (git, Cogito, and StGIT included) generate
unidiff which is the preferred format.

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You do not have to be afraid to use -M option to "git diff" or
"git format-patch", if your patch involves file renames.  The
receiving end can handle them just fine.

Please make sure your patch does not include any extra files
which do not belong in a patch submission.  Make sure to review
your patch after generating it, to ensure accuracy.  Before
sending out, please make sure it cleanly applies to the "master"
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branch head.  If you are preparing a work based on "next" branch,
that is fine, but please mark it as such.
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(3) Sending your patches.

People on the git mailing list need to be able to read and
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comment on the changes you are submitting.  It is important for
a developer to be able to "quote" your changes, using standard
e-mail tools, so that they may comment on specific portions of
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your code.  For this reason, all patches should be submitted
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"inline".  WARNING: Be wary of your MUAs word-wrap
corrupting your patch.  Do not cut-n-paste your patch; you can
lose tabs that way if you are not careful.
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It is a common convention to prefix your subject line with
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[PATCH].  This lets people easily distinguish patches from other
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e-mail discussions.  Use of additional markers after PATCH and
the closing bracket to mark the nature of the patch is also
encouraged.  E.g. [PATCH/RFC] is often used when the patch is
not ready to be applied but it is for discussion, [PATCH v2],
[PATCH v3] etc. are often seen when you are sending an update to
what you have previously sent.
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"git format-patch" command follows the best current practice to
format the body of an e-mail message.  At the beginning of the
patch should come your commit message, ending with the
Signed-off-by: lines, and a line that consists of three dashes,
followed by the diffstat information and the patch itself.  If
you are forwarding a patch from somebody else, optionally, at
the beginning of the e-mail message just before the commit
message starts, you can put a "From: " line to name that person.

You often want to add additional explanation about the patch,
other than the commit message itself.  Place such "cover letter"
material between the three dash lines and the diffstat.

Do not attach the patch as a MIME attachment, compressed or not.
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Do not let your e-mail client send quoted-printable.  Do not let
your e-mail client send format=flowed which would destroy
whitespaces in your patches. Many
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popular e-mail applications will not always transmit a MIME
attachment as plain text, making it impossible to comment on
your code.  A MIME attachment also takes a bit more time to
process.  This does not decrease the likelihood of your
MIME-attached change being accepted, but it makes it more likely
that it will be postponed.

Exception:  If your mailer is mangling patches then someone may ask
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you to re-send them using MIME, that is OK.
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Do not PGP sign your patch, at least for now.  Most likely, your
maintainer or other people on the list would not have your PGP
key and would not bother obtaining it anyway.  Your patch is not
judged by who you are; a good patch from an unknown origin has a
far better chance of being accepted than a patch from a known,
respected origin that is done poorly or does incorrect things.

If you really really really really want to do a PGP signed
patch, format it as "multipart/signed", not a text/plain message
that starts with '-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----'.  That is
not a text/plain, it's something else.

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Unless your patch is a very trivial and an obviously correct one,
first send it with "To:" set to the mailing list, with "cc:" listing
people who are involved in the area you are touching (the output from
"git blame $path" and "git shortlog --no-merges $path" would help to
identify them), to solicit comments and reviews.  After the list
reached a consensus that it is a good idea to apply the patch, re-send
it with "To:" set to the maintainer and optionally "cc:" the list for
inclusion.  Do not forget to add trailers such as "Acked-by:",
"Reviewed-by:" and "Tested-by:" after your "Signed-off-by:" line as

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(4) Sign your work
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To improve tracking of who did what, we've borrowed the
"sign-off" procedure from the Linux kernel project on patches
that are being emailed around.  Although core GIT is a lot
smaller project it is a good discipline to follow it.

The sign-off is a simple line at the end of the explanation for
the patch, which certifies that you wrote it or otherwise have
the right to pass it on as a open-source patch.  The rules are
pretty simple: if you can certify the below:

        Developer's Certificate of Origin 1.1

        By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:

        (a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me and I
            have the right to submit it under the open source license
            indicated in the file; or

        (b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best
            of my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate open source
            license and I have the right under that license to submit that
            work with modifications, whether created in whole or in part
            by me, under the same open source license (unless I am
            permitted to submit under a different license), as indicated
            in the file; or

        (c) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other
            person who certified (a), (b) or (c) and I have not modified

	(d) I understand and agree that this project and the contribution
	    are public and that a record of the contribution (including all
	    personal information I submit with it, including my sign-off) is
	    maintained indefinitely and may be redistributed consistent with
	    this project or the open source license(s) involved.

then you just add a line saying

	Signed-off-by: Random J Developer <[email protected]>

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This line can be automatically added by git if you run the git-commit
command with the -s option.

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Notice that you can place your own Signed-off-by: line when
forwarding somebody else's patch with the above rules for
D-C-O.  Indeed you are encouraged to do so.  Do not forget to
place an in-body "From: " line at the beginning to properly attribute
the change to its true author (see (2) above).

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Also notice that a real name is used in the Signed-off-by: line. Please
don't hide your real name.

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Some people also put extra tags at the end.

"Acked-by:" says that the patch was reviewed by the person who
is more familiar with the issues and the area the patch attempts
to modify.  "Tested-by:" says the patch was tested by the person
and found to have the desired effect.

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An ideal patch flow

Here is an ideal patch flow for this project the current maintainer
suggests to the contributors:

 (0) You come up with an itch.  You code it up.

 (1) Send it to the list and cc people who may need to know about
     the change.

     The people who may need to know are the ones whose code you
     are butchering.  These people happen to be the ones who are
     most likely to be knowledgeable enough to help you, but
     they have no obligation to help you (i.e. you ask for help,
     don't demand).  "git log -p -- $area_you_are_modifying" would
     help you find out who they are.

 (2) You get comments and suggestions for improvements.  You may
     even get them in a "on top of your change" patch form.

 (3) Polish, refine, and re-send to the list and the people who
     spend their time to improve your patch.  Go back to step (2).

 (4) The list forms consensus that the last round of your patch is
     good.  Send it to the list and cc the maintainer.

 (5) A topic branch is created with the patch and is merged to 'next',
     and cooked further and eventually graduates to 'master'.

In any time between the (2)-(3) cycle, the maintainer may pick it up
from the list and queue it to 'pu', in order to make it easier for
people play with it without having to pick up and apply the patch to
their trees themselves.

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Know the status of your patch after submission

* You can use Git itself to find out when your patch is merged in
  master. 'git pull --rebase' will automatically skip already-applied
  patches, and will let you know. This works only if you rebase on top
  of the branch in which your patch has been merged (i.e. it will not
  tell you if your patch is merged in pu if you rebase on top of

* Read the git mailing list, the maintainer regularly posts messages
  entitled "What's cooking in git.git" and "What's in git.git" giving
  the status of various proposed changes.

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MUA specific hints

Some of patches I receive or pick up from the list share common
patterns of breakage.  Please make sure your MUA is set up
properly not to corrupt whitespaces.  Here are two common ones
I have seen:

* Empty context lines that do not have _any_ whitespace.

* Non empty context lines that have one extra whitespace at the

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One test you could do yourself if your MUA is set up correctly is:

* Send the patch to yourself, exactly the way you would, except
  To: and Cc: lines, which would not contain the list and
  maintainer address.

* Save that patch to a file in UNIX mailbox format.  Call it say

* Try to apply to the tip of the "master" branch from the
  git.git public repository:

    $ git fetch master:test-apply
    $ git checkout test-apply
    $ git reset --hard
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    $ git am a.patch
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If it does not apply correctly, there can be various reasons.

* Your patch itself does not apply cleanly.  That is _bad_ but
  does not have much to do with your MUA.  Please rebase the
  patch appropriately.

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* Your MUA corrupted your patch; "am" would complain that
  the patch does not apply.  Look at .git/rebase-apply/ subdirectory and
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  see what 'patch' file contains and check for the common
  corruption patterns mentioned above.

* While you are at it, check what are in 'info' and
  'final-commit' files as well.  If what is in 'final-commit' is
  not exactly what you would want to see in the commit log
  message, it is very likely that your maintainer would end up
  hand editing the log message when he applies your patch.
  Things like "Hi, this is my first patch.\n", if you really
  want to put in the patch e-mail, should come after the
  three-dash line that signals the end of the commit message.

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(Johannes Schindelin)

I don't know how many people still use pine, but for those poor
souls it may be good to mention that the quell-flowed-text is
needed for recent versions.

... the "no-strip-whitespace-before-send" option, too. AFAIK it
was introduced in 4.60.

(Linus Torvalds)

And 4.58 needs at least this.

diff-tree 8326dd8350be64ac7fc805f6563a1d61ad10d32c (from e886a61f76edf5410573e92e38ce22974f9c40f1)
Author: Linus Torvalds <[email protected]>
Date:   Mon Aug 15 17:23:51 2005 -0700

    Fix pine whitespace-corruption bug

    There's no excuse for unconditionally removing whitespace from
    the pico buffers on close.

diff --git a/pico/pico.c b/pico/pico.c
--- a/pico/pico.c
+++ b/pico/pico.c
@@ -219,7 +219,9 @@ PICO *pm;
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	    switch(pico_all_done){	/* prepare for/handle final events */
	      case COMP_EXIT :		/* already confirmed */
+#if 0
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		c |= COMP_EXIT;


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(Daniel Barkalow)

> A patch to SubmittingPatches, MUA specific help section for
> users of Pine 4.63 would be very much appreciated.

Ah, it looks like a recent version changed the default behavior to do the
right thing, and inverted the sense of the configuration option. (Either
that or Gentoo did it.) So you need to set the
"no-strip-whitespace-before-send" option, unless the option you have is
"strip-whitespace-before-send", in which case you should avoid checking

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(A Large Angry SCM)

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By default, Thunderbird will both wrap emails as well as flag them as
being 'format=flowed', both of which will make the resulting email unusable
by git.

Here are some hints on how to successfully submit patches inline using

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There are two different approaches.  One approach is to configure
Thunderbird to not mangle patches.  The second approach is to use
an external editor to keep Thunderbird from mangling the patches.

Approach #1 (configuration):

This recipe is current as of Thunderbird  Three steps:
  1.  Configure your mail server composition as plain text
      Edit...Account Settings...Composition & Addressing,
        uncheck 'Compose Messages in HTML'.
  2.  Configure your general composition window to not wrap
      Edit..Preferences..Composition, wrap plain text messages at 0
  3.  Disable the use of format=flowed
      Edit..Preferences..Advanced..Config Editor.  Search for:
      toggle it to make sure it is set to 'false'.

After that is done, you should be able to compose email as you
otherwise would (cut + paste, git-format-patch | git-imap-send, etc),
and the patches should not be mangled.

Approach #2 (external editor):

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This recipe appears to work with the current [*1*] Thunderbird from Suse.

The following Thunderbird extensions are needed:
	AboutConfig 0.5
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	External Editor 0.7.2
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1) Prepare the patch as a text file using your method of choice.

2) Before opening a compose window, use Edit->Account Settings to
uncheck the "Compose messages in HTML format" setting in the
"Composition & Addressing" panel of the account to be used to send the
patch. [*2*]

3) In the main Thunderbird window, _before_ you open the compose window
for the patch, use Tools->about:config to set the following to the
indicated values:
	mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed	=> false
	mailnews.wraplength		=> 0
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4) Open a compose window and click the external editor icon.

5) In the external editor window, read in the patch file and exit the
editor normally.

6) Back in the compose window: Add whatever other text you wish to the
message, complete the addressing and subject fields, and press send.

7) Optionally, undo the about:config/account settings changes made in
steps 2 & 3.

*1* Version 1.0 (20041207) from the MozillaThunderbird-1.0-5 rpm of Suse
9.3 professional updates.

*2* It may be possible to do this with about:config and the following
settings but I haven't tried, yet.
	mail.html_compose			=> false
	mail.identity.default.compose_html	=> false		=> false

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(Lukas Sandström)

There is a script in contrib/thunderbird-patch-inline which can help
you include patches with Thunderbird in an easy way. To use it, do the
steps above and then use the script as the external editor.
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'|' in the *Summary* buffer can be used to pipe the current
message to an external program, and this is a handy way to drive
"git am".  However, if the message is MIME encoded, what is
piped into the program is the representation you see in your
*Article* buffer after unwrapping MIME.  This is often not what
you would want for two reasons.  It tends to screw up non ASCII
characters (most notably in people's names), and also
whitespaces (fatal in patches).  Running 'C-u g' to display the
message in raw form before using '|' to run the pipe can work
this problem around.

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This should help you to submit patches inline using KMail.

1) Prepare the patch as a text file.

2) Click on New Mail.

3) Go under "Options" in the Composer window and be sure that
"Word wrap" is not set.

4) Use Message -> Insert file... and insert the patch.

5) Back in the compose window: add whatever other text you wish to the
message, complete the addressing and subject fields, and press send.
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GMail does not appear to have any way to turn off line wrapping in the web
interface, so this will mangle any emails that you send.  You can however
use "git send-email" and send your patches through the GMail SMTP server, or
use any IMAP email client to connect to the google IMAP server and forward
the emails through that.

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To use "git send-email" and send your patches through the GMail SMTP server,
edit ~/.gitconfig to specify your account settings:

	smtpencryption = tls
	smtpserver =
	smtpuser = [email protected]
	smtppass = p4ssw0rd
	smtpserverport = 587

Once your commits are ready to be sent to the mailing list, run the
following commands:

  $ git format-patch --cover-letter -M origin/master -o outgoing/
  $ edit outgoing/0000-*
  $ git send-email outgoing/*

To submit using the IMAP interface, first, edit your ~/.gitconfig to specify your
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account settings:

	folder = "[Gmail]/Drafts"
	host = imaps://
	user = [email protected]
	pass = p4ssw0rd
	port = 993
	sslverify = false

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You might need to instead use: folder = "[Google Mail]/Drafts" if you get an error
that the "Folder doesn't exist".

Once your commits are ready to be sent to the mailing list, run the
following commands:

  $ git format-patch --cover-letter -M --stdout origin/master | git imap-send

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Just make sure to disable line wrapping in the email client (GMail web
interface will line wrap no matter what, so you need to use a real
IMAP client).