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Source-git patch metadata

Patch metadata have been superseded by Git-native trailers. This old patch metadata format is still supported if none of the Git-trailers are found in any of the commits.

The metadata are a way for users and creators of source-git repos to be in control of how packit generates patch files from downstream commits. Users are not meant to set most of these - our tooling does that: dist2src and packit source-git init.

Ideally maintainers would just commit changes to source-git repos and have %autosetup to apply all the patches during %prep.

Example of patch metadata in one of commits in systemd source-git for CentOS Stream 8:

$ git log HEAD

commit 38e6b5b3059410530e0d5287de595cbf4574988b (HEAD -> c8s, upstream/c8s)
Author: Lennart Poettering <>
Date: Mon Feb 4 10:23:43 2019 +0100

pam-systemd: use secure_getenv() rather than getenv()

And explain why in a comment.

(cherry picked from commit 83d4ab55336ff8a0643c6aa627b31e351a24040a)


Resolves: #1687514

patch_name: 0563-pam-systemd-use-secure_getenv-rather-than-getenv.patch
present_in_specfile: true
location_in_specfile: 563

diff --git a/src/login/pam_systemd.c b/src/login/pam_systemd.c

You can see the patch metadata are stored in the commit message on the last 3 lines.


The metadata are stored in commit messages and have a key-value format parsed as yaml. The list of keys follows.


  • Type: str
  • Default: the default comes from git-format-patch: "By default, each output file is numbered sequentially from 1, and uses the first line of the commit message"
  • Content: file name of the patch
  • Example: "my-fancy.patch"

Patch file generated from the commit will have this name. This is useful when a patch is already defined in the spec file and we need to make the patch file match that Patch spec file entry.

It is also used to merge multiple adjacent commits to a single patch file, by setting the same value for patch_name in their metadata.


  • Type: str
  • Default: empty string
  • Example: "This patch is cherry-picked from upstream commit ea45faaa and resolves build failures on arm."

Human-friendly description of the patch file to be put above the spec file entry.


  • Type: bool
  • Default: false (the default behaviour does not expect the patch is defined in the spec)
  • Example: false

Is the patch present in spec? If yes, then don't create a new entry in the spec file. If no, add it to the spec.


  • Type: bool
  • Default: false
  • Example: true

Skip this git commit when processing patches. This is handy for commits which change files in source-git repos but are not in an archive or are not meant to be utilized in %prep.

squash_commits (deprecated)

  • Type: bool
  • Default: false
  • Example: false

This key is deprecated as of packit 0.35.0, and replaced by setting the same patch_name in the commit message of adjacent commits, which should end up in the same patch file.

This option is meant to be used to support git-am patch applications. git-am enables you to have multiple git commits for a single patch file. When creating source-git repos with packit source-git init, only the last commit of a patch would be annotated with metadata.


40c3a04 (HEAD -> main) patch 3, commit 3           ┃  this is a single patch file
61647c6 patch 3, commit 2 ┃ consisting of 3 commits
89e9eff patch 3, commit 1\n\nsquash_commits: true ┣━ because all leading commits are merged into the first patch
8afd939 patch 2, commit 1\n\nsquash_commits: true ┣━ a single commit patch
3a2cff0 patch 1, commit 2\n\nsquash_commits: true ┣━ commit 1 and commit 2 are part of the first patch
b2b8e06 patch 1, commit 1 ┃
d689043 downstream packaging\n\nignore: true
b677988 (tag: 0.1.0) upstream release 0.1.0


  • Type: bool
  • Default: false
  • Example: true

Do not prepend leading a/ or b/ in the patch files. Use this when applying patches with %patch -p1.

Dropped metadata


This attribute meant to represent ID of the patch within a spec file but it never worked like that so we dropped it completely. The problem was that rpm does not provide such information when applying patches: it provides a number which is an unrelated internal iterator. We are planning to supersede location_in_specfile with patch_id: