Patch systems in packages

Reinhard Tartler siretart at
Wed Aug 20 06:23:27 BST 2008

Phillip Susi <psusi at> writes:

> If you run into a package that does not already have some kind of
> patch system there are 2 possibilities:
> 1)  The package has never needed to be patched before
> 2)  The package has been patched by directly modifying the original
> upstream files, which is a big no-no
> In the second case, the package should be fixed and the upstream debian
> maintainer notified and asked to repair their broken package as well.

In that case, I kindly ask you to not touch any of the package I
maintain in debian. I very much prefer managing patches to sources using
a VCS, and adding patch system adds unnecessary noise in the debdiff.

I really wonder who brought up the (wrong) claim that *not* using a
patch system was deprecated in the first place.

> In the first case, if you are going to start patching you need to use
> one of the patch systems to do it. 

I disagree with the necessity with doing that. And I strongly disagree
telling Debian Developers to use one.

However, after reading this thread a bit more, I can agree that adding a
patch system can make sense if the following applies:

 - the package does not have any source patches outside debian/ yet
 - the package can trivially extended with a patch system
 - the patch is not trivial

Rationale: It does not really make sense to introduce quilt or dpatch
for a 2 line manpage patch. that can very easily obtained using
filterdiff on the diff.gz.

For more complicated patches that really need commenting, I can see that
patches really should be documented. E.g. I have been doing that in the
ffmpeg package, cf. the patches in [1].

Reinhard Tartler, KeyID 945348A4

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