Patch systems in packages

Phillip Susi psusi at
Mon Aug 25 23:01:32 BST 2008

Stefan Potyra wrote:
> 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.

My point was that figuring that out is MUCH easier when you don't have 3 
different patches all smashed into one, with little to no documentation. 
   Since we seem to agree that use of a patch system is good, I don't 
see how you can conclude that using them in universe packages isn't.

> 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 
> needed.

I don't see how this is related to the use of a patch system or not.

> 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.

If it is a single trivial change, that's fine, but once you have more 
than one change, applying them inline gets them hopelessly tangled and 
makes sorting out what's what much, much harder.

> 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.

Use of a patch system allows for this since each change is split in its 
own patch, and accompanied with documentation.

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