Submitting Patches

Basic guidelines

  • Patches should not mix code changes with code formatting changes (except, perhaps, in very trivial cases.)
  • Code patches should follow Mesa coding conventions.
  • Whenever possible, patches should only affect individual Mesa/Gallium components.
  • Patches should never introduce build breaks and should be bisectable (see git bisect.)
  • Patches should be properly formatted.
  • Patches should be sufficiently tested before submitting.
  • Patches should be submitted to mesa-dev or with a merge request for review.

Patch formatting

  • Lines should be limited to 75 characters or less so that git logs displayed in 80-column terminals avoid line wrapping. Note that git log uses 4 spaces of indentation (4 + 75 < 80).

  • The first line should be a short, concise summary of the change prefixed with a module name. Examples:

    mesa: Add support for querying GL_VERTEX_ATTRIB_ARRAY_LONG
    i965: Fix missing type in local variable declaration.
  • Subsequent patch comments should describe the change in more detail, if needed. For example:

    i965: Remove end-of-thread SEND alignment code.
    This was present in Eric's initial implementation of the compaction code
    for Sandybridge (commit 077d01b6). There is no documentation saying this
    is necessary, and removing it causes no regressions in piglit on any
  • A “Signed-off-by:” line is not required, but not discouraged either.

  • If a patch addresses a bugzilla issue, that should be noted in the patch comment. For example:

  • If a patch addresses a issue introduced with earlier commit, that should be noted in the patch comment. For example:

    Fixes: d7b3707c612 "util/disk_cache: use stat() to check if entry is a directory"
  • You can produce those fixes lines by running

    git config --global alias.fixes "show -s --pretty='format:Fixes: %h (\"%s\")'"

    once and then using

    git fixes <sha1>
  • If there have been several revisions to a patch during the review process, they should be noted such as in this example:

    st/mesa: add ARB_texture_stencil8 support (v4)
    if we support stencil texturing, enable texture_stencil8
    there is no requirement to support native S8 for this,
    the texture can be converted to x24s8 fine.
    v2: fold fixes from Marek in:
       a) put S8 last in the list
       b) fix renderable to always test for d/s renderable
        fixup the texture case to use a stencil only format
        for picking the format for the texture view.
    v3: hit fallback for getteximage
    v4: put s8 back in front, it shouldn't get picked now (Ilia)
  • If someone tested your patch, document it with a line like this:

    Tested-by: Joe Hacker <>
  • If the patch was reviewed (usually the case) or acked by someone, that should be documented with:

    Reviewed-by: Joe Hacker <>
    Acked-by: Joe Hacker <>
  • If sending later revision of a patch, add all the tags - ack, r-b, Cc: mesa-stable and/or other. This provides reviewers with quick feedback if the patch has already been reviewed.

  • In order for your patch to reach the prospective reviewer easier/faster, use the script scripts/ to get a list of individuals and include them in the CC list.

    Please use common sense and do not blindly add everyone.

    $ scripts/ --help # to get the help screen
    $ scripts/ -f src/egl/drivers/dri2/platform_android.c
    Rob Herring <> (reviewer:ANDROID EGL SUPPORT,added_lines:188/700=27%,removed_lines:58/283=20%)
    Tomasz Figa <> (reviewer:ANDROID EGL SUPPORT,authored:12/41=29%,added_lines:308/700=44%,removed_lines:115/283=41%)
    Emil Velikov <> (authored:13/41=32%,removed_lines:76/283=27%)

Testing Patches

It should go without saying that patches must be tested. In general, do whatever testing is prudent.

You should always run the Mesa test suite before submitting patches. The test suite can be run using the ‘meson test’ command. All tests must pass before patches will be accepted, this may mean you have to update the tests themselves.

Whenever possible and applicable, test the patch with Piglit and/or dEQP to check for regressions.

As mentioned at the begining, patches should be bisectable. A good way to test this is to make use of the `git rebase` command, to run your tests on each commit. Assuming your branch is based off origin/master, you can run:

$ git rebase --interactive --exec "meson test -C build/" origin/master

replacing "meson test" with whatever other test you want to run.

Submitting Patches

Patches may be submitted to the Mesa project by email or with a GitLab merge request. To prevent duplicate code review, only use one method to submit your changes.

Mailing Patches

Patches may be sent to the mesa-dev mailing list for review: When submitting a patch make sure to use git send-email rather than attaching patches to emails. Sending patches as attachments prevents people from being able to provide in-line review comments.

When submitting follow-up patches you can use –in-reply-to to make v2, v3, etc patches show up as replies to the originals. This usually works well when you’re sending out updates to individual patches (as opposed to re-sending the whole series). Using –in-reply-to makes it harder for reviewers to accidentally review old patches.

When submitting follow-up patches you should also login to patchwork and change the state of your old patches to Superseded.

Some companies’ mail server automatically append a legal disclaimer, usually containing something along the lines of “The information in this email is confidential” and “distribution is strictly prohibited”.

These legal notices prevent us from being able to accept your patch, rendering the whole process pointless. Please make sure these are disabled before sending your patches. (Note that you may need to contact your email administrator for this.)

GitLab Merge Requests

GitLab Merge Requests (MR) can also be used to submit patches for Mesa.

If the MR may have interest for most of the Mesa community, you can send an email to the mesa-dev email list including a link to the MR. Don’t send the patch to mesa-dev, just the MR link.

Add labels to your MR to help reviewers find it. For example:

  • Mesa changes affecting all drivers: mesa
  • Hardware vendor specific code: amd, intel, nvidia, …
  • Driver specific code: anvil, freedreno, i965, iris, radeonsi, radv, vc4, …
  • Other tag examples: gallium, util

Tick the following when creating the MR. It allows developers to rebase your work on top of master.

Allow commits from members who can merge to the target branch

If you revise your patches based on code review and push an update to your branch, you should maintain a clean history in your patches. There should not be “fixup” patches in the history. The series should be buildable and functional after every commit whenever you push the branch.

It is your responsibility to keep the MR alive and making progress, as there are no guarantees that a Mesa dev will independently take interest in it.

Some other notes:

  • Make changes and update your branch based on feedback
  • After an update, for the feedback you handled, close the feedback discussion with the “Resolve Discussion” button. This way the reviewers know which feedback got handled and which didn’t.
  • Old, stale MR may be closed, but you can reopen it if you still want to pursue the changes
  • You should periodically check to see if your MR needs to be rebased
  • Make sure your MR is closed if your patches get pushed outside of GitLab
  • Please send MRs from a personal fork rather than from the main Mesa repository, as it clutters it unnecessarily.

Reviewing Patches

To participate in code review, you should monitor the mesa-dev email list and the GitLab Mesa Merge Requests page.

When you’ve reviewed a patch on the mailing list, please be unambiguous about your review. That is, state either

Reviewed-by: Joe Hacker <>


Acked-by: Joe Hacker <>

Rather than saying just “LGTM” or “Seems OK”.

If small changes are suggested, it’s OK to say something like:

With the above fixes, Reviewed-by: Joe Hacker <>

which tells the patch author that the patch can be committed, as long as the issues are resolved first.

These Reviewed-by, Acked-by, and Tested-by tags should also be amended into commits in a MR before it is merged.

When providing a Reviewed-by, Acked-by, or Tested-by tag in a gitlab MR, enclose the tag in backticks:

`Reviewed-by: Joe Hacker <>`

This is the markdown format for literal, and will prevent gitlab from hiding the < and > symbols.

Review by non-experts is encouraged. Understanding how someone else goes about solving a problem is a great way to learn your way around the project. The submitter is expected to evaluate whether they have an appropriate amount of review feedback from people who also understand the code before merging their patches.

Nominating a commit for a stable branch

There are three ways to nominate a patch for inclusion in the stable branch and release.

  • By adding the Cc: mesa-stable@ tag as described below.
  • Sending the commit ID (as seen in master branch) to the mesa-stable@ mailing list.
  • Forwarding the patch from the mesa-dev@ mailing list.


resending patch identical to one on mesa-dev@ or one that differs only by the extra mesa-stable@ tag is not recommended.

If you are not the author of the original patch, please Cc: them in your nomination request.

The current patch status can be observed in the staging branch.

The stable tag

If you want a commit to be applied to a stable branch, you should add an appropriate note to the commit message.

Here are some examples of such a note:

CC: <>

Simply adding the CC to the mesa-stable list address is adequate to nominate the commit for all the active stable branches. If the commit is not applicable for said branch the stable-release manager will reply stating so. This “CC” syntax for patch nomination will cause patches to automatically be copied to the mesa-stable@ mailing list when you use “git send-email” to send patches to the mesa-dev@ mailing list. If you prefer using –suppress-cc that won’t have any negative effect on the patch nomination.


by removing the tag [as the commit is pushed] the patch is explicitly rejected from inclusion in the stable branch(es). Thus, drop the line only if you want to cancel the nomination.

Alternatively, if one uses the “Fixes” tag as described in the “Patch formatting” section, it nominates a commit for all active stable branches that include the commit that is referred to.

Criteria for accepting patches to the stable branch

Mesa has a designated release manager for each stable branch, and the release manager is the only developer that should be pushing changes to these branches. Everyone else should nominate patches using the mechanism described above. The following rules define which patches are accepted and which are not. The stable-release manager is also given broad discretion in rejecting patches that have been nominated.

  • Patch must conform with the Basic guidelines

  • Patch must have landed in master first. In case where the original patch is too large and/or otherwise contradicts with the rules set within, a backport is appropriate.

  • It must not introduce a regression - be that build or runtime wise.


    If the regression is due to faulty piglit/dEQP/CTS/other test the latter must be fixed first. A reference to the offending test(s) and respective fix(es) should be provided in the nominated patch.

  • Patch cannot be larger than 100 lines.

  • Patches that move code around with no functional change should be rejected.

  • Patch must be a bug fix and not a new feature.


    An exception to this rule, are hardware-enabling “features”. For example, backports of new code to support a newly-developed hardware product can be accepted if they can be reasonably determined not to have effects on other hardware.

  • Patch must be reviewed, For example, the commit message has Reviewed-by, Signed-off-by, or Tested-by tags from someone but the author.

  • Performance patches are considered only if they provide information about the hardware, program in question and observed improvement. Use numbers to represent your measurements.

If the patch complies with the rules it will be cherry-picked. Alternatively the release manager will reply to the patch in question stating why the patch has been rejected or would request a backport. A summary of all the picked/rejected patches will be presented in the pre-release announcement. The stable-release manager may at times need to force-push changes to the stable branches, for example, to drop a previously-picked patch that was later identified as causing a regression). These force-pushes may cause changes to be lost from the stable branch if developers push things directly. Consider yourself warned.

Sending backports for the stable branch

By default merge conflicts are resolved by the stable-release manager. In which case he/she should provide a comment about the changes required, alongside the Conflicts section. Summary of which will be provided in the pre-release announcement.

Developers are interested in sending backports are recommended to use either a [BACKPORT #branch] subject prefix or provides similar information within the commit summary.

Git tips

  • git rebase -i ... is your friend. Don’t be afraid to use it.

  • Apply a fixup to commit FOO.

    git add ...
    git commit --fixup=FOO
    git rebase -i --autosquash ...
  • Test for build breakage between patches e.g last 8 commits.

    git rebase -i --exec="ninja -C build/" HEAD~8
  • Sets the default mailing address for your repo.

    git config --local
  • Add version to subject line of patch series in this case for the last 8 commits before sending.

    git send-email --subject-prefix="PATCH v4" HEAD~8
    git send-email -v4 @~8 # shorter version, inherited from git format-patch
  • Configure git to use the script interactively. Thus you can avoid adding the world to the CC list.

    git config sendemail.cccmd "./scripts/ -i"