4.4. Patching Packages
There can be various reasons why a package must be patched:
Package is broken for cross compile environments
Package is broken within a specific feature
Package is vulnerable and needs some fixes
or anything else (this case is the most common one)
Ideally, those problems should be addressed in the original project, so any patches you add to your BSP or to PTXdist should also be submitted upstream. The upstream project can often provide better feedback, they can integrate your patch into a new release, and also maintain your changes as part of the project. This way we make sure that all advantages of the open source idea work for us; and your patch can be removed again later when a new release of the project is integrated into your BSP or into PTXdist.
PTXdist handles patching automatically.
After extracting the archive of a package, PTXdist checks for the existence of
a patch directory named like its
<PKG>_PATCHES variable, or, if this variable
is not set, like its
The patch directory is then searched in all locations listed by the
PTXDIST_PATH_PATCHES variable, and the first one found is used.
Take an exemplary package
foo with version
FOO will have the value
foo-1.1.0, so PTXdist will look for
a patch directory named
foo-1.1.0 in the following locations:
the current layer:
any base layers, applying the same search order as above for each layer recursively
The patches from the first location found are used. Note: Due to this search order, a PTXdist project can replace global patches from the PTXdist installation. This can be useful if a project sticks to a specific PTXdist revision but fixes from a more recent revision of PTXdist should be used.
PTXdist uses the utilities git, patch or quilt to work with patches or patch series. We recommend git, as it can manage patch series in a very easy way.
Creating a Patch Series for a Package
To create a patch series for the first time, we can run the following steps. We are still using our foo-1.1.0 example package here:
We create a special directory for the patch series in the local project directory:
$ mkdir -p patches/foo-1.1.0
PTXdist expects a
series file in the patch directory and at least
one patch. Otherwise it fails. Due to the fact that we do not have any
patch content yet, we’ll start with a dummy entry in the
and an empty
$ touch patches/foo-1.1.0/dummy $ echo dummy > patches/foo-1.1.0/series
Next is to extract the package (if already done, we must remove it first):
$ ptxdist extract foo
This will extract the archive and create a symbolic link in the build
directory pointing to our local patch directory. Working this way will
ensure that we do not lose our created patches if we enter
ptxdist clean foo by accident. In our case the patches are still
patches/foo-1.1.0 and can be used the next time we
extract the package again.
All we have to do now is to do the modification we need to make the
package work. We change into the build directory and use quilt to
create new patches, add files to respective patches, modify these files
and refresh the patches to save our changes.
See the quilt documentation (
man 1 quilt) for more information.
For patches that are intended for PTXdist upstream use the git workflow described below to get proper patch headers.
Create the patch directory like above for quilt, but only add an empty series file:
$ mkdir -p patches/foo-1.1.0 $ touch patches/foo-1.1.0/series
Then extract the package with an additional command line switch:
$ ptxdist --git extract foo
The empty series file makes PTXdist create a Git repository in the respective package build directory, and import the package source as the first commit.
Optionally, you can enable the setting Developer Options → use git to apply patches in ptxdist setup to get this behaviour as a default for every package.
Then you can change into the package build directory
patch the required source files,
and make Git commits on the way.
The Git history should now look something like this:
$ git log --oneline --decorate * df343e821851 (HEAD -> master) Makefile: don't build the tests * 65a360c2bd60 strfry.c: frobnicate the excusator * fdc315f6844c (tag: foobar-1.1.0, tag: base) initial commit
git ptx-patches to transform those Git commits into the patch
series in the
This way they don’t get lost when cleaning the package.
PTXdist will only create a Git repository for packages with
patches. To use Git to generate the first patch, create an empty series
patches/foobar-1.1.0/series before extracting the packages. This
will tell PTXdist to use Git anyways and
git ptx-patches will put the
Both approaches (Git and quilt) are not suitable for modifying files that are autogenerated in autotools-based buildsystems. Refer to the section Modifying Autotoolized Packages on how PTXdist can handle this special task.
Recovering from merge conflicts
When updating packages, it can happen that older patches no longer apply. In this case, the extract stage will throw errors like this:
----------------------------- target: ima-evm-utils.extract ----------------------------- extract: pkg_src=/ptx/src/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2.tar.gz extract: pkg_extract_dir=DistroKit/platform-v7a/build-target/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2 patchin: git: initializing repository patchin: git: done pkg_patch_dir: 'ptxdist/patches/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2' pkg_patch_series: 'ptxdist/patches/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2/series' patchin: git: apply 'ptxdist/patches/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2/series' tagging -> base 0001-INSTALL-remove-file-at-it-s-autogenerated-by-autotoo.patch 0002-Makefile.am-rename-INCLUDES-AM_CPPFLAGS.patch error: patch failed: src/Makefile.am:1 error: src/Makefile.am: patch does not apply make: *** […/ptxdist/rules/post/ptxd_make_world_extract.make:41: …/DistroKit/platform-v7a/state/ima-evm-utils.extract] Error 4
In the example above, the first patch was applied cleanly, but the second one was not because src/Makefile.am contained different lines than expected. If this happens, you have to clean up the merge conflict, and apply the remaining patches manually.
First, change into the package’s build directory, and abort the current patch:
…/distrokit/master (master) $ cd platform-v7a/build-target/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2/ …/build-target/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2 (master|AM/REBASE) $ git log --oneline --graph * 6687ab46087c (HEAD -> master) INSTALL: remove file, as it's autogenerated by autotools * 01a52624237f (tag: ima-evm-utils-1.3.2, tag: base) initial commit …/build-target/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2 (master|AM/REBASE) $ git am --abort …/build-target/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2 (master) $
(Notice how the Git integration in the shell prompt still shows
before the cleanup, signaling the ongoing conflict resolution.)
The remaining patches are still available in the
relative to your current location.
Try to apply each of them in turn using
If a patch fails to apply, Git will not change any files, but will still
remember the patch’s author and commit message, and prompt you to resolve
…/build-target/ima-evm-utils-1.3.2 (master) $ git am patches/0005-evmctl-add-fallback-definitions-for-XATTR_NAME_IMA.patch Applying: evmctl: add fallback definitions for XATTR_NAME_IMA Patch failed at 0005 evmctl: add fallback definitions for XATTR_NAME_IMA hint: Use 'git am --show-current-patch=diff' to see the failed patch When you have resolved this problem, run "git am --continue". If you prefer to skip this patch, run "git am --skip" instead. To restore the original branch and stop patching, run "git am --abort".
If you find that the patch is no longer necessary (e.g. because it was already merged upstream in the new package version), skip it with
git am --skip.
Otherwise, apply the same patch again manually via
patch --merge -p1 < patches/filename.patch, and resolve any resulting conflicts using your favourite editor.
git am --continuecommits your conflict resolution with the patch’s original author and log message.
After porting all patches, update the package’s patch queue with
Adding More Patches to a Package
If we want to add more patches to an already patched package, we can use nearly the same way as creating patches for the first time. But if the patch series comes from the PTXdist main installation, we do not have write permissions to these directories (do NEVER work on the main installation directories, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER). Due to the search order in which PTXdist searches for patches for a specific package, we can copy the global patch series to our local project directory. Now we have the permissions to add more patches or modify the existing ones. Also quilt and git are our friends here to manage the patch series.
If we think that our new patches are valuable also for others, or they fix an error, it could be a good idea to send these patches to PTXdist mainline, and to the upstream project too.
Modifying Autotoolized Packages
Autotoolized packages are very picky when automatically generated files get patched. The patch order is very important in this case and sometimes it even fails and nobody knows why.
To improve a package’s autotools-based build system, PTXdist comes with
its own project local autotools to regenerate the autotools template
files, instead of patching them. With this feature, only the template
files must be patched, the required
configure script and the
Makefile.in files are regenerated in the final stages of the
This feature works like the regular patching mechanism. The only
difference is the additional
autogen.sh file in the patch directory.
If it exists and has execution permissions, it will be called after the
package was patched (while the extract stage is running).
Its content depends on developer needs; for the most simple case the content can be:
#!/bin/bash aclocal $ACLOCAL_FLAGS libtoolize \ --force \ --copy autoreconf \ --force \ --install \ --warnings=cross \ --warnings=syntax \ --warnings=obsolete \ --warnings=unsupported
In this way not yet autotoolized package can be autotoolized. We
just have to add the common autotool template files (
Makefile.am for example) via a patch series to the package
source and the
autogen.sh to the patch directory.