Patch systems in packages

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Thu Aug 21 22:09:47 BST 2008

On Thu, 21 Aug 2008 16:35:31 -0400 Phillip Susi <psusi at> wrote:
>Reinhard Tartler wrote:
>> I really wonder who brought up the (wrong) claim that *not* using a
>> patch system was deprecated in the first place.
>It isn't deprecated; it's something you were never supposed to do.
>>> 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.
>The last time I read the debian packaging guide it was debian developers
>telling ME to use a patch system, and not to modify the original
>upstream files directly.  This was reinforced by lintian complaining
>loudly if you do so, and I had packages rejected for doing this.  It
>certainly makes managing the changes across several versions ( both
>local and upstream ) much easier.  When you add more than one trivial
>patch without a patch system it becomes impossible to manage them since
>they get merged into one large patch, so you have a hard time pulling
>just one back out, or sending it upstream, or fixing it to apply cleanly
>to a new upstream version.
>Has debian policy changed in the last few years?

No, but in Debian, policy follows practice.  It doesn't leadt it.  The 
current flirtation with various DVCS seems to have pushed things in this 
direction.  Unfortunately this leaves all the structure in the DVCS and not 
in the package.

Scott K

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