patch man page on 4.4BSD

Man page or keyword search:  
man Server   1065 pages
apropos Keyword Search (all sections)
Output format
4.4BSD logo
[printable version]

PATCH(1)							      PATCH(1)

       patch - a program for applying a diff file to an original

       patch [options] orig patchfile [+ [options] orig]

       but usually just

       patch <patchfile

       Patch  will take a patch file containing any of the three forms of dif‐
       ference listing produced by the diff program and	 apply	those  differ‐
       ences  to  an  original file, producing a patched version.  By default,
       the patched version is put in place of the original, with the  original
       file backed up to the same name with the extension ".orig", or as spec‐
       ified by the -b switch.	You may also specify where you want the output
       to  go  with a -o switch.  If patchfile is omitted, or is a hyphen, the
       patch will be read from standard input.

       Upon startup, patch will attempt to determine  the  type	 of  the  diff
       listing,	 unless	 over-ruled  by a -c, -e, or -n switch.	 Context diffs
       and normal diffs are applied by the  patch  program  itself,  while  ed
       diffs are simply fed to the ed editor via a pipe.

       Patch  will  try	 to skip any leading garbage, apply the diff, and then
       skip any trailing garbage.  Thus you could feed an article  or  message
       containing  a diff listing to patch, and it should work.	 If the entire
       diff is indented by a  consistent  amount,  this	 will  be  taken  into

       With context diffs, and to a lesser extent with normal diffs, patch can
       detect when the line numbers mentioned in the patch are incorrect,  and
       will attempt to find the correct place to apply each hunk of the patch.
       As a first guess, it takes the line number mentioned for the hunk, plus
       or minus any offset used in applying the previous hunk.	If that is not
       the correct place, patch will scan both forwards and  backwards	for  a
       set of lines matching the context given in the hunk.  First patch looks
       for a place where all lines of the context match.  If no such place  is
       found, and it's a context diff, and the maximum fuzz factor is set to 1
       or more, then another scan takes place ignoring the first and last line
       of  context.  If that fails, and the maximum fuzz factor is set to 2 or
       more, the first two and last two lines  of  context  are	 ignored,  and
       another	scan  is  made.	  (The	default maximum fuzz factor is 2.)  If
       patch cannot find a place to install that hunk of the  patch,  it  will
       put  the	 hunk  out to a reject file, which normally is the name of the
       output file plus ".rej".	 (Note that the rejected hunk will come out in
       context	diff form whether the input patch was a context diff or a nor‐
       mal diff.  If the input was a normal diff, many of  the	contexts  will
       simply  be null.)  The line numbers on the hunks in the reject file may
       be different than in the patch file: they reflect the approximate loca‐
       tion  patch  thinks the failed hunks belong in the new file rather than
       the old one.

       As each hunk is completed, you will be told whether the hunk  succeeded
       or  failed,  and	 which	line  (in the new file) patch thought the hunk
       should go on.  If this is different from the line number	 specified  in
       the  diff you will be told the offset.  A single large offset MAY be an
       indication that a hunk was installed in the wrong place.	 You will also
       be  told if a fuzz factor was used to make the match, in which case you
       should also be slightly suspicious.

       If no original file is specified on the command line, patch will try to
       figure  out  from the leading garbage what the name of the file to edit
       is.  In the header of a context diff, the filename is found from	 lines
       beginning  with	"***"  or "---", with the shortest name of an existing
       file winning.  Only context diffs have lines like that, but if there is
       an  "Index:"  line  in  the  leading garbage, patch will try to use the
       filename from that line.	 The context diff header takes precedence over
       an  Index  line.	  If  no  filename  can	 be  intuited from the leading
       garbage, you will be asked for the name of the file to patch.

       (If the original file cannot be found, but a suitable SCCS or RCS  file
       is handy, patch will attempt to get or check out the file.)

       Additionally,  if the leading garbage contains a "Prereq: " line, patch
       will take the first word from the prerequisites line (normally  a  ver‐
       sion number) and check the input file to see if that word can be found.
       If not, patch will ask for confirmation before proceeding.

       The upshot of all this is that you should be able to say,  while	 in  a
       news interface, the following:

	    | patch -d /usr/src/local/blurfl

       and patch a file in the blurfl directory directly from the article con‐
       taining the patch.

       If the patch file contains more than one patch, patch will try to apply
       each  of	 them  as if they came from separate patch files.  This means,
       among other things, that it is assumed that the name  of	 the  file  to
       patch  must  be	determined for each diff listing, and that the garbage
       before each diff listing will be examined for interesting  things  such
       as filenames and revision level, as mentioned previously.  You can give
       switches (and another original file name) for the second and subsequent
       patches	by separating the corresponding argument lists by a '+'.  (The
       argument list for a second or subsequent patch may not  specify	a  new
       patch file, however.)

       Patch recognizes the following switches:

       -b   causes  the	 next  argument to be interpreted as the backup exten‐
	    sion, to be used in place of ".orig".

       -c   forces patch to interpret the patch file as a context diff.

       -d   causes patch to interpret the next argument as a directory, and cd
	    to it before doing anything else.

       -D   causes  patch  to  use  the	 "#ifdef...#endif"  construct  to mark
	    changes.  The argument following will be used as the differentiat‐
	    ing	 symbol.   Note	 that,	unlike the C compiler, there must be a
	    space between the -D and the argument.

       -e   forces patch to interpret the patch file as an ed script.

       -f   forces patch to assume that the user knows exactly what he or  she
	    is doing, and to not ask any questions.  It does not suppress com‐
	    mentary, however.  Use -s for that.

	    sets the maximum fuzz factor.  This switch only applied to context
	    diffs, and causes patch to ignore up to that many lines in looking
	    for places to install a hunk.  Note	 that  a  larger  fuzz	factor
	    increases  the odds of a faulty patch.  The default fuzz factor is
	    2, and it may not be set to more than the number of lines of  con‐
	    text in the context diff, ordinarily 3.

       -l   causes  the	 pattern matching to be done loosely, in case the tabs
	    and spaces have been munged in your input file.  Any  sequence  of
	    whitespace	in  the	 pattern  line	will match any sequence in the
	    input file.	 Normal characters must	 still	match  exactly.	  Each
	    line of the context must still match a line in the input file.

       -n   forces patch to interpret the patch file as a normal diff.

       -N   causes  patch  to  ignore  patches	that it thinks are reversed or
	    already applied.  See also -R .

       -o   causes the next argument to be  interpreted	 as  the  output  file

	    sets  the pathname strip count, which controls how pathnames found
	    in the patch file are treated, in case the you keep your files  in
	    a different directory than the person who sent out the patch.  The
	    strip count specifies how many backslashes are to be stripped from
	    the	 front of the pathname.	 (Any intervening directory names also
	    go away.)  For example, supposing the filename in the  patch  file


	    setting -p or -p0 gives the entire pathname unmodified, -p1 gives


	    without the leading slash, -p4 gives


	    and	 not specifying -p at all just gives you "blurfl.c".  Whatever
	    you end up with is looked for either in the current directory,  or
	    the directory specified by the -d switch.

       -r   causes  the	 next  argument	 to  be interpreted as the reject file

       -R   tells patch that this patch was created with the old and new files
	    swapped.   (Yes,  I'm  afraid that does happen occasionally, human
	    nature being what it is.)  Patch will attempt to  swap  each  hunk
	    around  before  applying it.  Rejects will come out in the swapped
	    format.  The -R switch will not work with ed diff scripts  because
	    there  is too little information to reconstruct the reverse opera‐

	    If the first hunk of a patch fails, patch will reverse the hunk to
	    see	 if  it can be applied that way.  If it can, you will be asked
	    if you want to have the -R switch set.  If	it  can't,  the	 patch
	    will  continue  to be applied normally.  (Note: this method cannot
	    detect a reversed patch if it is a normal diff and	if  the	 first
	    command  is	 an  append  (i.e. it should have been a delete) since
	    appends always succeed, due to the fact that a null	 context  will
	    match  anywhere.  Luckily, most patches add or change lines rather
	    than delete them, so most reversed normal diffs will begin with  a
	    delete, which will fail, triggering the heuristic.)

       -s   makes patch do its work silently, unless an error occurs.

       -S   causes  patch  to  ignore this patch from the patch file, but con‐
	    tinue on looking for the next patch in the file.  Thus

		 patch -S + -S + <patchfile

	    will ignore the first and second of three patches.

       -v   causes patch to print out it's revision header and patch level.

	    sets internal debugging flags, and is of interest  only  to	 patch

       No environment variables are used by patch.



       There are several things you should bear in mind if you are going to be
       sending out patches.  First, you can save people	 a  lot	 of  grief  by
       keeping	a  patchlevel.h	 file  which is patched to increment the patch
       level as the first diff in the patch file you send out.	If you	put  a
       Prereq:	line in with the patch, it won't let them apply patches out of
       order without some warning.  Second, make  sure	you've	specified  the
       filenames  right,  either  in  a context diff header, or with an Index:
       line.  If you are patching something in a subdirectory, be sure to tell
       the patch user to specify a -p switch as needed.	 Third, you can create
       a file by sending out a diff that compares a null file to the file  you
       want  to	 create.   This	 will only work if the file you want to create
       doesn't exist already in the target directory.  Fourth, take  care  not
       to send out reversed patches, since it makes people wonder whether they
       already applied the patch.  Fifth, while you may be able	 to  get  away
       with  putting  582 diff listings into one file, it is probably wiser to
       group related patches into separate files in case something  goes  hay‐

       Too  many  to  list  here, but generally indicative that patch couldn't
       parse your patch file.

       The message "Hmm..." indicates that there is unprocessed	 text  in  the
       patch  file  and	 that patch is attempting to intuit whether there is a
       patch in that text and, if so, what kind of patch it is.

       Patch cannot tell if the line numbers are off in an ed script, and  can
       only  detect bad line numbers in a normal diff when it finds a "change"
       or a "delete" command.  A context diff using fuzz factor 3 may have the
       same  problem.	Until  a  suitable interactive interface is added, you
       should probably do a context diff in these cases to see if the  changes
       made sense.  Of course, compiling without errors is a pretty good indi‐
       cation that the patch worked, but not always.

       Patch usually produces the correct results, even when it has  to	 do  a
       lot  of	guessing.   However,  the results are guaranteed to be correct
       only when the patch is applied to exactly the same version of the  file
       that the patch was generated from.

       Could be smarter about partial matches, excessively deviant offsets and
       swapped code, but that would take an extra pass.

       If code has been duplicated (for instance with #ifdef OLDCODE ... #else
       ...   #endif), patch is incapable of patching both versions, and, if it
       works at all, will likely patch the wrong one, and  tell	 you  that  it
       succeeded to boot.

       If  you	apply a patch you've already applied, patch will think it is a
       reversed patch, and offer to un-apply the patch.	 This  could  be  con‐
       strued as a feature.

				 June 30, 1993			      PATCH(1)

List of man pages available for 4.4BSD

Copyright (c) for man pages and the logo by the respective OS vendor.

For those who want to learn more, the polarhome community provides shell access and support.

[legal] [privacy] [GNU] [policy] [cookies] [netiquette] [sponsors] [FAQ]
Polarhome, production since 1999.
Member of Polarhome portal.
Based on Fawad Halim's script.
Vote for polarhome
Free Shell Accounts :: the biggest list on the net