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Enabling continuous integration for patch-based development workflows.


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snowpatch - CI for patches


snowpatch is a continuous integration tool for projects using a patch-based, mailing-list-centric git workflow. This workflow is used by a number of well-known open source projects such as the Linux kernel.

snowpatch serves as a bridge between a patch tracking system and a continuous integration automation server. snowpatch monitors the patch queue for incoming patches, applies patches on top of an existing tree, triggers appropriate builds and test suites, and reports the results.

At present, snowpatch only supports Patchwork as its source of patches and state, and GitHub Actions as its test runner.

snowpatch is designed in line with Patchwork's philosophy of supplementing, rather than replacing, existing workflows. For projects which already use Patchwork as their core patch management tool, snowpatch does not impose any additional changes to the development workflow.

snowpatch requires nothing more than a Patchwork account and GitHub account with appropriate permissions and an API key. Many projects using patch-based workflows are highly decentralised, using Patchwork instances they do not administer, and build machines hidden behind corporate firewalls. As such, snowpatch is designed not to require administrator access.

snowpatch is deliberately minimalistic, which distinguishes it from tools like Zuul which are more sophisticated and may be more appropriate for projects with a better ability to adapt their workflow around a comprehensive CI system. Other patch tracking systems that provide integrated support for CI systems, such as Patchew, may also be appropriate for projects with suitable workflows.

snowpatch is named in honour of skiboot, the project which inspired the creation of snowpatch.

Project Status

snowpatch is in the "Odd Fixes" state. The Linux kernel describes this as:

"It has a maintainer but they don't have time to do much other than throw the odd patch in."

snowpatch is still happily running the developer CI for a few projects so it will continue to get fixes, but substantial new features are unlikely unless someone (which could be you!) has a surge of time and motivation.


snowpatch is a Rust program. In order to compile it, you will need Rust and its package manager, Cargo. snowpatch should run on any target that supports Rust and Git, however it has only been tested on Linux. We do not provide pre-built binaries at this stage.

Non-Rust dependencies

  • git: we try to use the git2-rs library where possible, but we still need the binary for a few operations.
  • OpenSSH headers

Building manually

To compile snowpatch manually, clone the git repository and run cargo build --release. The executable can be found in target/release/snowpatch or executed using cargo run.


For usage information, run snowpatch --help.

Example configurations can be found in the examples directory.

Additional documentation can be found in the docs directory.


Open a pull request.


Just do stuff through GitHub issues & pull requests.

snowpatch is maintained by Andrew Donnellan.


Copyright © 2016-2023 IBM Corporation.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.


Enabling continuous integration for patch-based development workflows.







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