6. Contributing Code to DPDK
This document outlines the guidelines for submitting code to DPDK.
The DPDK development process is modeled (loosely) on the Linux Kernel development model so it is worth reading the Linux kernel guide on submitting patches: How to Get Your Change Into the Linux Kernel. The rationale for many of the DPDK guidelines is explained in greater detail in the kernel guidelines.
6.1. The DPDK Development Process
The DPDK development process has the following features:
- The code is hosted in a public git repository.
- There is a mailing list where developers submit patches.
- There are maintainers for hierarchical components.
- Patches are reviewed publicly on the mailing list.
- Successfully reviewed patches are merged to the repository.
- Patches should be sent to the target repository or sub-tree, see below.
- All sub-repositories are merged into main repository for
-rc2versions of the release.
- After the
-rc2release all patches should target the main repository.
If you are using the GitHub service, pushing to a branch will trigger GitHub Actions to automatically build your changes and run unit tests and ABI checks.
Additionally, a Travis configuration is available in DPDK but Travis free usage
is limited to a few builds.
You can link your repository to the
travis-ci.com build service.
The development process requires some familiarity with the
git version control system.
Refer to the Pro Git Book for further information.
6.2. Source License
The DPDK uses the Open Source BSD-3-Clause license for the core libraries and drivers. The kernel components are GPL-2.0 licensed. DPDK uses single line reference to Unique License Identifiers in source files as defined by the Linux Foundation’s SPDX project.
DPDK uses first line of the file to be SPDX tag. In case of #! scripts, SPDX tag can be placed in 2nd line of the file.
For example, to label a file as subject to the BSD-3-Clause license, the following text would be used:
To label a file as dual-licensed with BSD-3-Clause and GPL-2.0 (e.g., for code that is shared between the kernel and userspace), the following text would be used:
SPDX-License-Identifier: (BSD-3-Clause OR GPL-2.0)
licenses/README for more details.
6.3. Maintainers and Sub-trees
The DPDK maintenance hierarchy is divided into a main repository
dpdk and sub-repositories
There are maintainers for the trees and for components within the tree.
Trees and maintainers are listed in the
MAINTAINERS file. For example:
Crypto Drivers -------------- M: Some Name <email@example.com> T: git://dpdk.org/next/dpdk-next-crypto Intel AES-NI GCM PMD M: Some One <firstname.lastname@example.org> F: drivers/crypto/aesni_gcm/ F: doc/guides/cryptodevs/aesni_gcm.rst
Mis a tree or component maintainer.
Tis a repository tree.
Fis a maintained file or directory.
Additional details are given in the
The role of the component maintainers is to:
- Review patches for the component or delegate the review. The review should be done, ideally, within 1 week of submission to the mailing list.
- Add an
acked-byto patches, or patchsets, that are ready for committing to a tree.
- Reply to questions asked about the component.
Component maintainers can be added or removed by submitting a patch to the
Maintainers should have demonstrated a reasonable level of contributions or reviews to the component area.
The maintainer should be confirmed by an
ack from an established contributor.
There can be more than one component maintainer if desired.
The role of the tree maintainers is to:
- Maintain the overall quality of their tree. This can entail additional review, compilation checks or other tests deemed necessary by the maintainer.
- Commit patches that have been reviewed by component maintainers and/or other contributors. The tree maintainer should determine if patches have been reviewed sufficiently.
- Ensure that patches are reviewed in a timely manner.
- Prepare the tree for integration.
- Ensure that there is a designated back-up maintainer and coordinate a handover for periods where the tree maintainer can’t perform their role.
Tree maintainers can be added or removed by submitting a patch to the
The proposer should justify the need for a new sub-tree and should have demonstrated a sufficient level of contributions in the area or to a similar area.
The maintainer should be confirmed by an
ack from an existing tree maintainer.
Disagreements on trees or maintainers can be brought to the Technical Board.
The backup maintainer for the main tree should be selected from the existing sub-tree maintainers of the project. The backup maintainer for a sub-tree should be selected from among the component maintainers within that sub-tree.
6.4. Getting the Source Code
The source code can be cloned using either of the following:
git clone git://dpdk.org/dpdk git clone https://dpdk.org/git/dpdk
git clone git://dpdk.org/next/dpdk-next-* git clone https://dpdk.org/git/next/dpdk-next-*
6.5. Make your Changes
Make your planned changes in the cloned
dpdk repo. Here are some guidelines and requirements:
- Follow the DPDK Coding Style guidelines.
- If you add new files or directories you should add your name to the
- Initial submission of new PMDs should be prepared against a corresponding repo.
- Thus, for example, initial submission of a new network PMD should be prepared against dpdk-next-net repo.
- Likewise, initial submission of a new crypto or compression PMD should be prepared against dpdk-next-crypto repo.
- For other PMDs and more info, refer to the
- New external functions should be added to the local
version.mapfile. See the ABI policy and ABI versioning guides. New external functions should also be added in alphabetical order.
- Important changes will require an addition to the release notes in
doc/guides/rel_notes/. See the Release Notes section of the Documentation Guidelines for details.
- Test the compilation works with different targets, compilers and options, see Checking Compilation.
- Don’t break compilation between commits with forward dependencies in a patchset.
Each commit should compile on its own to allow for
git bisectand continuous integration testing.
- Add tests to the
app/testunit test framework where possible.
- Add documentation, if relevant, in the form of Doxygen comments or a User Guide in RST format. See the Documentation Guidelines.
Once the changes have been made you should commit them to your local repo.
For small changes, that do not require specific explanations, it is better to keep things together in the same patch. Larger changes that require different explanations should be separated into logical patches in a patchset. A good way of thinking about whether a patch should be split is to consider whether the change could be applied without dependencies as a backport.
It is better to keep the related documentation changes in the same patch file as the code, rather than one big documentation patch at the end of a patchset. This makes it easier for future maintenance and development of the code.
As a guide to how patches should be structured run
git log on similar files.
6.6. Commit Messages: Subject Line
The first, summary, line of the git commit message becomes the subject line of the patch email. Here are some guidelines for the summary line:
The summary line must capture the area and the impact of the change.
The summary line should be around 50 characters.
The summary line should be lowercase apart from acronyms.
It should be prefixed with the component name (use git log to check existing components). For example:
ixgbe: fix offload config option name config: increase max queues per port
Use the imperative of the verb (like instructions to the code base).
Don’t add a period/full stop to the subject line or you will end up two in the patch name:
The actual email subject line should be prefixed by
[PATCH] and the version, if greater than v1,
The is generally added by
git send-email or
git format-patch, see below.
If you are submitting an RFC draft of a feature you can use
[RFC] instead of
An RFC patch doesn’t have to be complete.
It is intended as a way of getting early feedback.
6.7. Commit Messages: Body
Here are some guidelines for the body of a commit message:
The body of the message should describe the issue being fixed or the feature being added. It is important to provide enough information to allow a reviewer to understand the purpose of the patch.
When the change is obvious the body can be blank, apart from the signoff.
The commit message must end with a
Signed-off-by:line which is added using:
git commit --signoff # or -s
The purpose of the signoff is explained in the Developer’s Certificate of Origin section of the Linux kernel guidelines.
All developers must ensure that they have read and understood the Developer’s Certificate of Origin section of the documentation prior to applying the signoff and submitting a patch.
The signoff must be a real name and not an alias or nickname. More than one signoff is allowed.
The text of the commit message should be wrapped at 72 characters.
When fixing a regression, it is required to reference the id of the commit which introduced the bug, and put the original author of that commit on CC. You can generate the required lines using the following git alias, which prints the commit SHA and the author of the original code:
git config alias.fixline "log -1 --abbrev=12 --format='Fixes: %h (\"%s\")%nCc: %ae'"
The output of
git fixline <SHA>must then be added to the commit message:
doc: fix some parameter description Update the docs, fixing description of some parameter. Fixes: abcdefgh1234 ("doc: add some parameter") Cc: email@example.com Signed-off-by: Alex Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When fixing an error or warning it is useful to add the error message and instructions on how to reproduce it.
Use correct capitalization, punctuation and spelling.
In addition to the
Signed-off-by: name the commit messages can also have
tags for who reported, suggested, tested and reviewed the patch being
posted. Please refer to the Tested, Acked and Reviewed by section.
6.7.2. Patch for Stable Releases
All fix patches to the main branch that are candidates for backporting should also be CCed to the email@example.com mailing list. In the commit message body the Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org should be inserted as follows:
doc: fix some parameter description Update the docs, fixing description of some parameter. Fixes: abcdefgh1234 ("doc: add some parameter") Cc: email@example.com Signed-off-by: Alex Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For further information on stable contribution you can go to Stable Contribution Guide.
6.7.3. Patch Dependencies
Sometimes a patch or patchset can depend on another one. To help the maintainers and automation tasks, please document this dependency in commit log or cover letter with the following syntax:
Depends-on: series-NNNNN ("Title of the series") or
Depends-on: patch-NNNNN ("Title of the patch")
NNNNN is patchwork ID for patch or series:
doc: fix some parameter description Update the docs, fixing description of some parameter. Signed-off-by: Alex Smith <email@example.com> --- Depends-on: series-10000 ("Title of the series")
6.8. Creating Patches
It is possible to send patches directly from git but for new contributors it is recommended to generate the
git format-patch and then when everything looks okay, and the patches have been checked, to
send them with
Here are some examples of using
git format-patch to generate patches:
# Generate a patch from the last commit. git format-patch -1 # Generate a patch from the last 3 commits. git format-patch -3 # Generate the patches in a directory. git format-patch -3 -o ~/patch/ # Add a cover letter to explain a patchset. git format-patch -3 -o ~/patch/ --cover-letter # Add a prefix with a version number. git format-patch -3 -o ~/patch/ -v 2
Cover letters are useful for explaining a patchset and help to generate a logical threading to the patches.
Smaller notes can be put inline in the patch after the
--- separator, for example:
Subject: [PATCH] fm10k/base: add FM10420 device ids Add the device ID for Boulder Rapids and Atwood Channel to enable drivers to support those devices. Signed-off-by: Alex Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> --- ADD NOTES HERE. drivers/net/fm10k/base/fm10k_api.c | 6 ++++++ drivers/net/fm10k/base/fm10k_type.h | 6 ++++++ 2 files changed, 12 insertions(+) ...
Version 2 and later of a patchset should also include a short log of the changes so the reviewer knows what has changed. This can be added to the cover letter or the annotations. For example:
--- v3: * Fixed issued with version.map. v2: * Added i40e support. * Renamed ethdev functions from rte_eth_ieee15888_*() to rte_eth_timesync_*() since 802.1AS can be supported through the same interfaces.
6.9. Checking the Patches
Patches should be checked for formatting and syntax issues using the
checkpatches.sh script in the
directory of the DPDK repo.
This uses the Linux kernel development tool
checkpatch.pl which can be obtained by cloning, and periodically,
updating the Linux kernel sources.
The path to the original Linux script must be set in the environment variable
Spell checking of commonly misspelled words is enabled
by default if installed in
A different dictionary path can be specified
in the environment variable
There is a DPDK script to build an adjusted dictionary from the multiple codespell dictionaries:
git clone https://github.com/codespell-project/codespell.git devtools/build-dict.sh codespell/ > codespell-dpdk.txt
Environment variables required by the development tools, are loaded from the following files, in order of preference:
.develconfig ~/.config/dpdk/devel.config /etc/dpdk/devel.config.
Once the environment variable is set, the script can be run as follows:
The script usage is:
checkpatches.sh [-h] [-q] [-v] [-nX|-r range|patch1 [patch2] ...]
Then the git logs should be checked using the
The script usage is:
check-git-log.sh [-h] [-nX|-r range]
For both of the above scripts, the -n option is used to specify a number of commits from HEAD,
and the -r option allows the user specify a
git log range.
6.10. Checking Compilation
Compilation of patches is to be tested with
The script internally checks for dependencies, then builds for several
combinations of compilation configuration.
By default, each build will be put in a subfolder of the current working directory.
However, if it is preferred to place the builds in a different location,
the environment variable
DPDK_BUILD_TEST_DIR can be set to that desired location.
For example, setting
DPDK_BUILD_TEST_DIR=__builds will put all builds
in a single subfolder called “__builds” created in the current directory.
DPDK_BUILD_TEST_DIR to an absolute directory path e.g.
/tmp is also supported.
6.11. Checking ABI compatibility
By default, ABI compatibility checks are disabled.
To enable them, a reference version must be selected via the environment
DPDK_ABI_REF_VERSION. Contributors should ordinarily reference the
git tag of the most recent release of DPDK in
devtools/test-meson-builds.sh script then build this reference version
in a temporary directory and store the results in a subfolder of the current
The environment variable
DPDK_ABI_REF_DIR can be set so that the results go
to a different location.
DPDK_ABI_REF_VERSION=v19.11 DPDK_ABI_REF_DIR=/tmp ./devtools/test-meson-builds.sh
6.12. Sending Patches
Patches should be sent to the mailing list using
You can configure an external SMTP with something like the following:
[sendemail] smtpuser = email@example.com smtpserver = smtp.domain.com smtpserverport = 465 smtpencryption = ssl
See the Git send-email documentation for more details.
The patches should be sent to
If the patches are a change to existing files then you should send them TO the maintainer(s) and CC
The appropriate maintainer can be found in the
git send-email --to firstname.lastname@example.org --cc email@example.com 000*.patch
get-maintainer.sh can be used to select maintainers automatically:
git send-email --to-cmd ./devtools/get-maintainer.sh --cc firstname.lastname@example.org 000*.patch
New additions can be sent without a maintainer:
git send-email --to email@example.com 000*.patch
You can test the emails by sending it to yourself or with the
If the patch is in relation to a previous email thread you can add it to the same thread using the Message ID:
git send-email --to firstname.lastname@example.org --in-reply-to <email@example.com> 000*.patch
The Message ID can be found in the raw text of emails or at the top of each Patchwork patch,
Shallow threading (
--thread --no-chain-reply-to) is preferred for a patch series.
Once submitted your patches will appear on the mailing list and in Patchwork.
Experienced committers may send patches directly with
git send-email without the
git format-patch step.
confirm = always are recommended for checking patches before sending.
6.12.1. Backporting patches for Stable Releases
Sometimes a maintainer or contributor wishes, or can be asked, to send a patch
for a stable release rather than mainline.
In this case the patch(es) should be sent to
Given that there are multiple stable releases being maintained at the same time,
please specify exactly which branch(es) the patch is for
git send-email --subject-prefix='PATCH 16.11' ...
and also optionally in the cover letter or in the annotation.
6.13. The Review Process
Patches are reviewed by the community, relying on the experience and collaboration of the members to double-check each other’s work. There are a number of ways to indicate that you have checked a patch on the mailing list.
6.13.1. Tested, Acked and Reviewed by
To indicate that you have interacted with a patch on the mailing list you should respond to the patch in an email with one of the following tags:
The tag should be on a separate line as follows:
tag-here: Name Surname <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Each of these tags has a specific meaning. In general, the DPDK community follows the kernel usage of the tags. A short summary of the meanings of each tag is given here for reference:
Reviewed-by: is a strong statement that the patch is an appropriate state
for merging without any remaining serious technical issues. Reviews from
community members who are known to understand the subject area and to perform
thorough reviews will increase the likelihood of the patch getting merged.
Acked-by: is a record that the person named was not directly involved in
the preparation of the patch but wishes to signify and record their acceptance
and approval of it.
Tested-by: indicates that the patch has been successfully tested (in some
environment) by the person named.
Reported-by: is used to acknowledge person who found or reported the bug.
Suggested-by: indicates that the patch idea was suggested by the named
6.13.2. Steps to getting your patch merged
The more work you put into the previous steps the easier it will be to get a patch accepted. The general cycle for patch review and acceptance is:
Submit the patch.
Check the automatic test reports in the coming hours.
Wait for review comments. While you are waiting review some other patches.
Fix the review comments and submit a
git format-patch -3 -v 2
Update Patchwork to mark your previous patches as “Superseded”.
If the patch is deemed suitable for merging by the relevant maintainer(s) or other developers they will
ackthe patch with an email that includes something like:
Acked-by: Alex Smith <email@example.com>
Note: When acking patches please remove as much of the text of the patch email as possible. It is generally best to delete everything after the
Having the patch
Tested-by:will also help the patch to be accepted.
If the patch isn’t deemed suitable based on being out of scope or conflicting with existing functionality it may receive a
nack. In this case you will need to make a more convincing technical argument in favor of your patches.
In addition a patch will not be accepted if it doesn’t address comments from a previous version with fixes or valid arguments.
It is the responsibility of a maintainer to ensure that patches are reviewed and to provide an
nackof those patches as appropriate.
Once a patch has been acked by the relevant maintainer, reviewers may still comment on it for a further two weeks. After that time, the patch should be merged into the relevant git tree for the next release. Additional notes and restrictions:
- Patches should be acked by a maintainer at least two days before the release merge deadline, in order to make that release.
- For patches acked with less than two weeks to go to the merge deadline, all additional comments should be made no later than two days before the merge deadline.
- After the appropriate time for additional feedback has passed, if the patch has not yet been merged to the relevant tree by the committer, it should be treated as though it had, in that any additional changes needed to it must be addressed by a follow-on patch, rather than rework of the original.
- Trivial patches may be merged sooner than described above at the tree committer’s discretion.