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Re: Converting to dgit

On Tue, 03 Jan 2017 at 22:17:33 -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Usually what I have to do (and I think this is a pretty common use case
> for anyone who customizes Debian packages) is that I need to start from a
> package from unstable (or at least newer than stable, or oldstable, or
> ancient Ubuntu, or whatever crap I'm having to work on), apply some local
> patches, and backport it
> But what happens
> to me a lot is that [changes] *do* conflict, or maybe the new upstream is a
> completely new version of the package (and then it's pretty much
> guaranteed to conflict).

I think the bottom line here is that what you are doing *is* rebasing: you
are treating the new upstream (or new security-patched downstream)
as the new baseline for your local work, discarding any of your changes
that are no longer necessary, and adjusting the rest to apply on top of
the new version.

That's also what we do as Debian maintainers (and, in my day job, as a
maintainer in a Debian derivative) when we update the patch stack in a
package. You can tell it's (in git terms) a rebase rather than a merge,
because as a community we have spent 20+ years going to significant
effort to separate pristine upstream source from distro changes. We
don't treat upstream and downstream as equivalent: we (IMO correctly)
give the upstream code that we share with other distributions a privileged
position, and often treat downstream changes as a costly thing, to be
tolerated when they're justified, but minimized whenever we can.

> None of this is unique to me or requires any deep knowledge of the Debian
> package format.  It's that individual patches are a way easier unit to
> work with when resolving conflicts than a patched tree.

Yes. There's a reason git users (and git commands) often work in terms
of changesets (the differences between commits) rather than in terms of
the commits themselves, even though git's data model is fundamentally
about commits and trees.


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