Patching Procedures

A distribution so widely used as this one eventually develops numerous barnacles as the result of porting to new systems, idosyncratic new features and just plain bugs. In order to help keep order and make maintenance bearable, we ask that proposed changes to the distribution be submitted in the following form.

  1. Please submit patches to David L. Mills ( in the form of context-diffs (diff - c). Yes, we know there are newer, more sophisticated schemes, but not all our friends have mustered the energy to install them.

  2. If you have changed things in more than one directory, please base the patch on the root directory of the distribution. The preferred procedure here is to copy your patch to this directory and mumble

    patch -p <your_patch>

  3. Please avoid patching the RCS subdirectories; better yet, clean them out before submitting patches.

  4. If you have whole new files, as well as patches, wrap the files and patches in a shell script. If you need to compress it, use the stock Unix compress utility. Yes, we know there are newer, more sophisticated schemes, but not all our friends have metered the entropy to install them.

  5. Don't forget the documentation that may be affected by the patch. Send us patches for the ./html files as well. See the A Beginner's Guide to HTML page for a tutorial.

  6. We would be glad to include your name, electric address and descriptive phrase in the Copyright page, if you wish.

Note that a complete patch history back to the dark ages is kept in the ./patches directory, which may be helpful to see if the same problem occured in another port, etc. Your patch will be saved in that directory with file name in the form patch.nnn, where nnn currently is approaching 200. All patches in this directory have been made; so, if yours is there, it is in the distribution.

Thanks for your contribution and happy chime.

David L. Mills (