Converting Debian packages from dpatch to quilt

A backup copy of written by Romain Francoise

I’ve been using quilt a lot at work recently (in a non-Debian environment), and I’ve been enjoying it very much. So much that I’ve decided to convert my Debian packages to it, from dpatch. Once you’re used to quilt, using dpatch is almost literally painful. :)

There doesn’t seem to be a ready-made guide on how to convert packages from dpatch to quilt, so here’s how to do it painlessly in five easy steps:

    1. Install the quilt package (duh) and make sure that the QUILT_PATCHES variable is set to debian/patches in your shell environment. Or you can set it in your ~/.quiltrc file instead (see this post for other interesting settings).
    2. Delete the build dependency on dpatch from your debian/control file, replacing it with a dependency on quilt (>= 0.40).
    3. In your debian/rules file, include /usr/share/quilt/quilt.make instead of /usr/share/dpatch/dpatch.make.
    4. Convert all your dpatch files by using the following command from your package’s top level:
      for p in $(dpatch list-all); do \
      quilt import -P $p.diff debian/patches/$p.dpatch; \
      quilt push; \
    5. Delete dpatch files:

rm -f debian/patches/00list debian/patches/*.dpatch

And that’s pretty much it! You’ll probably want to clean up the headers of your debian/patches/*.diff files since they’ll still contain some dpatch markers. You can now build your package as usual. To edit a patch, use quilt push, quilt edit, finish with quilt refresh to save the patch.

For more information on how to use quilt, read the tutorial, it’s in /usr/share/doc/quilt. You won’t regret switching!

And a Comment from kartikm:

Better to use: quilt push; quilt header -e; quilt refresh for header editing..