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22.10.2 Sending a Patch Series

Single Patches

The git send-email command is the best way to send both single patches and patch series (see Multiple Patches) to the Guix mailing list. Sending patches as email attachments may make them difficult to review in some mail clients, and git diff does not store commit metadata.

Note: The git send-email command is provided by the send-email output of the git package, i.e. git:send-email.

The following command will create a patch email from the latest commit, open it in your EDITOR or VISUAL for editing, and send it to the Guix mailing list to be reviewed and merged. Assuming you have already configured Git according to See Configuring Git, you can simply use:

$ git send-email --annotate -1

Tip: To add a prefix to the subject of your patch, you may use the --subject-prefix option. The Guix project uses this to specify that the patch is intended for a branch or repository other than the master branch of

git send-email --annotate --subject-prefix='PATCH core-updates' -1

The patch email contains a three-dash separator line after the commit message. You may “annotate” the patch with explanatory text by adding it under this line. If you do not wish to annotate the email, you may drop the --annotate option.

If you need to send a revised patch, don’t resend it like this or send a “fix” patch to be applied on top of the last one; instead, use git commit --amend or git rebase to modify the commit, and use the address and the -v flag with git send-email.

$ git commit --amend
$ git send-email --annotate -vREVISION \ -1

Note: Due to an apparent bug in git send-email, -v REVISION (with the space) will not work; you must use -vREVISION.

You can find out ISSUE_NUMBER either by searching on the mumi interface at for the name of your patch or reading the acknowledgement email sent automatically by Debbugs in reply to incoming bugs and patches, which contains the bug number.

Notifying Teams

If your git checkout has been correctly configured (see Configuring Git), the git send-email command will automatically notify the appropriate team members, based on the scope of your changes. This relies on the etc/teams.scm script, which can also be invoked manually if you do not use the preferred git send-email command to submit patches. To list the available actions of the script, you can invoke it via the etc/teams.scm help command. For more information regarding teams, see Teams.

Note: On foreign distros, you might have to use ./pre-inst-env git send-email for etc/teams.scm to work.

Multiple Patches

While git send-email alone will suffice for a single patch, an unfortunate flaw in Debbugs means you need to be more careful when sending multiple patches: if you send them all to the address, a new issue will be created for each patch!

When sending a series of patches, it’s best to send a Git “cover letter” first, to give reviewers an overview of the patch series. We can create a directory called outgoing containing both our patch series and a cover letter called 0000-cover-letter.patch with git format-patch.

$ git format-patch -NUMBER_COMMITS -o outgoing \
      --cover-letter --base=auto

We can now send just the cover letter to the address, which will create an issue that we can send the rest of the patches to.

$ git send-email outgoing/0000-cover-letter.patch --annotate
$ rm outgoing/0000-cover-letter.patch # we don't want to resend it!

Ensure you edit the email to add an appropriate subject line and blurb before sending it. Note the automatically generated shortlog and diffstat below the blurb.

Once the Debbugs mailer has replied to your cover letter email, you can send the actual patches to the newly-created issue address.

$ git send-email outgoing/*.patch
$ rm -rf outgoing # we don't need these anymore

Thankfully, this git format-patch dance is not necessary to send an amended patch series, since an issue already exists for the patchset.

$ git send-email -NUMBER_COMMITS -vREVISION \

If need be, you may use --cover-letter --annotate to send another cover letter, e.g. for explaining what’s changed since the last revision, and these changes are necessary.

Next: Teams, Previous: Configuring Git, Up: Submitting Patches   [Contents][Index]