Patch systems in packages

Stefan Potyra stefan.potyra at
Fri Aug 22 10:35:57 BST 2008


On Thursday 21 August 2008 22:36:20 Phillip Susi wrote:
> With a patch system the old 
> .diff.gz will always apply cleanly to a new upstream tarball since it
> only adds files to debian/, and then when you build it tries to apply
> each patch individually and if one fails, disabling it or fixing it is
> much simpler when you are dealing with an individual smaller patch with
> its own documentation.

This is quite a good example, why I personally believe that patch systems for 
universe packages shouldn't be added: Assuming that a patch is still relevant 
and functional because it applies cleanly (or the other way round) is quite a 
flawed approach. You should in all cases verify that this is the case, no 
matter if you use a patch system or don't use one.

And exactly this logic ("it applies, so it must be correct") is something I've 
seen quite a bit when sponsoring packages, in particular merges: People are 
easily tempted to take the output of MoM/DaD as granted if it seems to work, 
w.o. looking at the ubuntu delta in particular or if each change is still 

Finally, for universe packages the number of patches is usually quite low, so 
I don't see any problem with applying these inline when there isn't a patch 
system present yet.
What's more important is that changes are properly documented, especially the 
why and how a change was done, and that the changes are forwarded upstream. 
However this is an educational problem, which can imho not be solved just by 
using a patch system.

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