Using git for patch management in Fedora

Daniel P. Berrange berrange at
Tue Nov 19 10:51:01 UTC 2013

On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 10:22:42AM +0000, Richard W.M. Jones wrote:
> Several packages are using git for patch management.  eg:
> Some of these packages have invented home-brewed methods to generate
> the Patch lines in the spec file, eg:
> More importantly, all are using random git repositories to store the
> exploded tree.  This makes it difficult for co-maintainers and proven
> packagers to fit in with the patch management chosen by the
> maintainer.  Usually they won't have access to the git repository for
> these patches, making it difficult to add patches and near impossible
> to upgrade to a new version.

Yep, I've done the same thing for all the packages I maintain in Fedora
and RHEL too. It makes maintaining RPMs soo much easier, particularly
when you have lots of patches to manage. The script I use is

> I think that git is an excellent way to manage patches, but we ought
> to think about formalizing this process.  I think the goals should be:
> (1) A git repository is used that co-maintainers and proven packagers
> automatically have access to.
> (2) A single method & script is used to update the patches in the spec file.
> Although there is already a git repository satisfying (1) above,
> namely dist-git, it isn't suitable for storing the exploded tree since
> commits to the spec file would conflict with commits (patches) to the
> tree.  So either a separate side repository which packages could
> opt-in to, or perhaps a separate branch of the same git repo could be
> used.  I think using a branch would require no additional
> infrastructure.
> For (2) I would suggest a lightweight technique where git-managed
> patches are marked in the spec file using:
> and a simple script that replaces everything between those marks with
> PatchXXXX lines.  The script could be adapted from
> (see above).
> To apply the patches, a standard RPM macro could be created:
>   %prep
>   %setup -q
>   %{git_apply_patches}
> which would expand to something like:
>   git init
>   git config "%{name}-owner at"
>   git config "%{name}"
>   git add .
>   git commit -a -q -m "%{version} baseline"
>   git am %{patches}
> Thoughts on this?

It would certainly be nice to formalize things in this area given that
so many people are re-inventing the wheel here.

I agree that I wouldn't want to have the upstream GIT repo merged into
the Fedora dist-git repos, since that would increase their size by
many orders of magnitude.

It seems like we'd want to have a Fedora hosted parallel GIT repos for
tracking upstream GIT repos that are relevant to the Fedora RPMs.
Preferrably something that could be automated so it auto-synchronizes
the upstream branches, so Fedora maintainers just need to create a new
branch and then cherry-pick -x the patches they need.

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