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    Subject[PATCH/RFC] doc: about email clients for Linux kernel patches
    From: Randy Dunlap <>

    Requested by Jeff Garzik.

    Add info about various email clients and their applicability
    in being used to send Linux kernel patches.

    Some notes takes from
    Portions used with permission.

    Signed-off-by: Randy Dunlap <>
    Documentation/email-clients.txt | 158 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    1 file changed, 158 insertions(+)

    --- /dev/null
    +++ linux-2.6.23-rc5-git1/Documentation/email-clients.txt
    @@ -0,0 +1,158 @@
    +Email clients info for Linux
    +General Preferences
    +Patches for the Linux kernel are submitted via email, preferably as
    +inline text in the body of the email. Some maintainers accept
    +attachments, but then the attachments should have content-type
    +"text/plain". However, attachments are generally frowned upon because
    +it makes quoting portions of the patch more difficult in the patch
    +review process.
    +Email clients that are used for Linux kernel patches should send the
    +patch text untouched. For example, they should not modify or delete tabs
    +or spaces, even at the beginning or end of lines.
    +<question about character set encoding/code pages:>
    +They also should not modify the character set encoding of the text.
    +Email clients should generate and maintain References: or In-Reply-To:
    +headers so that mail threading is not broken.
    +Copy-and-paste (or cut-and-paste) usually does not work for patches
    +because tabs are converted to spaces. I have seen comments that
    +xclipboard, xclip, and/or xcutsel do work, but I cannot confirm this.
    +Don't use PGP/GPG signatures in mail that contains patches.
    +This breaks many scripts that read and apply the patches.
    +(This should be fixable. ??)
    +Some email client (MUA) hints
    +TUI = text-based user interface
    +GUI = graphical user interface
    +Alpine (TUI)
    +<I don't know. Maybe Adrian or Linus can comment.>
    +Are any special config options needed?
    +Evolutions (GUI)
    +Some people seem to use this successfully for patches.
    +What config options are needed?
    +Kmail (GUI)
    +Some people use Kmail successfully for patches.
    +The default setting of not composing in HTML is appropriate; do not
    +enable it.
    +When composing an email, under options, uncheck "word wrap". The only
    +disadvantage is any text you type in the email will not be word-wrapped
    +so you will have to manually word wrap text before the patch. The easiest
    +way around this is to compose your email with word wrap enabled, then save
    +it as a draft. Once you pull it up again from your drafts it is now hard
    +word-wrapped and you can uncheck "word wrap" without losing the existing
    +At the bottom of your email, put the commonly-used patch delimiter before
    +inserting your patch: three hyphens (---).
    +Then from the "Message" menu item, select insert file and choose your patch.
    +As an added bonus I recommend customising the message creation toolbar menu
    +and putting the "insert file" icon there.
    +You can safely GPG sign attachments, but inlined text is preferred for
    +patches so do not GPG sign them. Signing patches that have been inserted
    +as inlined text will make them tricky to extract from their 7-bit encoding.
    +If you absolutely must send patches as attachments instead of inlining
    +them as text, right click on the attachment and select properties, and
    +highlight "Suggest automatic display" to make the attachment inlined to
    +make it more viewable.
    +When saving patches that are sent as inlined text, select the email that
    +contains the patch from the message list pane, right click and select
    +"save as". You can use the whole email unmodified as a patch if it was
    +properly composed. There is no option currently to save the email when
    +you are actually viewing it in its own window - I've filed a request at
    +kmail's bugzilla and hopefully this will be addressed. Emails are saved
    +as read-write for user only so you will have to chmod them to make them
    +group and world readable if you copy them elsewhere.
    +Lotus Notes (GUI)
    +Run away from it.
    +Mutt (TUI)
    +Plenty of Linux developers use mutt, so it must work pretty well.
    +Are there any special config options that are needed??
    +Pine (TUI)
    +Pine has had some whitespace truncation issues. There have also been
    +patches for this problem. I don't know the current status. Is there
    +a config option for this?
    +Are there any special config options that are needed??
    +Sylpheed (GUI)
    +- Works well for inlining text (or using attachments).
    +- Allows use of an external editor.
    +- Not good for IMAP.
    +- Is slow on large folders.
    +- Won't do TLS SMTP auth over a non-SSL connection.
    +- Has a helpful ruler bar in the compose window.
    +- Adding addresses to address book doesn't understand the display name
    + properly.
    +Thunderbird (GUI)
    +By default, thunderbird likes to mangle text, but there are ways to
    +coerce it into being nice.
    +- Under account settings, composition and addressing, uncheck "Compose
    + messages in HTML format".
    +- Edit your Thunderbird config settings to tell it not to wrap lines:
    + user_pref("mailnews.wraplength", 0);
    +- Edit your Thunderbird config settings so that it won't use format=flowed:
    + user_pref("mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed", false);
    +- You need to get Thunderbird into preformat mode:
    +. If you compose HTML messages by default, it's not too hard. Just select
    + "Preformat" from the drop-down box just under the subject line.
    +. If you compose in text by default, you have to tell it to compose a new
    + message in HTML (just as a one-off), and then force it from there back to
    + text, else it will wrap lines. To do this, use shift-click on the Write
    + icon to compose to get HTML compose mode, then select "Preformat" from
    + the drop-down box just under the subject line.
    +- Allows use of an external editor:
    + The easiest thing to do with Thunderbird and patches is to use an
    + "external editor" extension and then just use your favorite $EDITOR
    + for reading/merging patches into the body text. To do this, download
    + and install the extension, then add a button for it using
    + View->Toolbars->Customize... and finally just click on it when in the
    + Compose dialog.
    + ###
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