Because I always forget, here’s a reminder to myself on how to use git format-patch and git send-email from the command line.

The following example is for contributing to the [Buildroot Project][1], but the process is much the same for other mailing list-based projects.

  1. Make your changes on an up-to-date branch from Buildroot master

     git checkout -b package/foobar
     git fetch --all --tags
     git rebase origin/master
  2. Use logical commits; upgrade package as one, changing/extending behavior as another, etc.

  3. Use commit messages to record why changes are made. The first line is usally a (very) brief summary referencing the sub-system:

     package/foobar: bump version to v1.2.3
     Signed-off-by: Your Name <>
  4. Verify formatting of package files; .in, .mk, etc.

    ./utils/check-package package/foobar/*
  5. Test your package/change with a set of cross-compilation toolchains. The .config file is a menuconfig snippet enabling the package to test:

     ./utils/test-pkg -c foobar.config -p foobar
  6. Format your patches, with the optional --cover-letter, very useful to explain a series of patches:

     git format-patch --cover-letter -M -n -s -o mail origin/master
  7. Figure out DEVELOPERS to Cc in your correspondence to the mailing list:

     ./utils/get-developers mail/*
  8. At the very least, the following should be output:

     git send-email --to
  9. Send the email(s) by copy-pasting the output and appending mail/*

     git send-email --to mail/*

    Git now adds a Cc to you and offers you one last chance to proofread the contents (remember the email headers!) before you send.

Note: if you haven’t set up your ~/.gitconfig yet for sending email, please see for help.