Patch systems in packages

Jordan Mantha laserjock at
Sun Aug 17 07:31:27 BST 2008

On Sat, Aug 16, 2008 at 9:49 PM, Nicolas Valcarcel
<nvalcarcel at> wrote:
> Hi!
>        Currently there is no policy about how to make changes in the packages,
> there are some good practices and a lot of developers try to use patch
> systems whenever they can and don't touch the source code outside
> debian/ directly, but that's still at the developer's discretion.
>        For that reason i wanted to start a discussion on the topic, to start
> working with debian on preparing the packages with a patch system, so we
> (and other derivatives) can make patches without the need of changing
> the packaging. Also i will suggest to the revu reviewers to ask the
> packagers to add a patch system on their packages.
>        What did you think about it? Any comments?
> 1.

I think our job as downstreams is to provide patches to Debian, not
tell them how to maintain their packages. IMO anyway, it's our
obligation to either 1) give ordinary diff patches 2) use whatever
patch system or lack thereof that upstream uses. There are so many
common ways to patch and maintain a package (debhelper, cdbs, quilt,
dpatch, svn, git, bzr ...) that I can't foresee a comprehensive,
archive-wide policy.

Additionally, IMO again, a primary goal of at least MOTU should be
minimizing the divergence from Debian. The more changes we make, and
the more useless they are (bumping standards version??) the more time
we spend maintaining the divergence and the less time we have for more
important tasks. Adding a patch system really *should not* be done in
Ubuntu. If we're maintaining that much divergence we need to talk to
Debian about how we can better minimize and maintain it.


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