commit-patch - commit patches to Darcs, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar, Monotone, Subversion, or CVS repositories


commit-patch [--amend] [-m message] [-F message-file] [-v] [--dry-run] [patch-file]

commit-partial [--amend] [-v] [--dry-run] [--retry] [file ...]


Normally version control systems don't allow fine grained commits. commit-patch allows the user to control exactly what gets committed (or "recorded", in Darcs parlance) by letting the user supply a patch to be committed rather than using the files in the current working directory. If patch-file is not supplied on the command line then the patch will be read from standard input.

commit-partial is like commit-patch except that it will create a patch from the current changes in the current working directory and launch your editor so that you can edit the patch and the commit message (using the VISUAL environment variable, or if that isn't set the EDITOR environment variable, or, if that isn't set, vi. Any files you specify will be passed to your version control's diff command.

commit-patch currently supports the following version control systems: Darcs, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar, Monotone, Subversion, and CVS.


-a, --amend - Amend a previous commit. Currently only Darcs and Git support this option. When used with Git it will amend the previous commit. When used with Darcs, Darcs will ask you which patch you want to amend.

-m, --message=message - An optional message to use as the commit text. If the message is multiple lines then Darcs, Git, and Mercurial will use the first line as the patch name and the rest as commit details. If the -m option is not specified then the result will be the same as whatever the underlying version control system would do if you didn't specify a message name on the command line. That is, commit-patch does not interfere with the patch naming process of the underlying version control system; Darcs will still ask you interactively; CVS and Subversion will still launch your editor.

-F, --message-file=filename - You can optionally get the commit message from a file. This is generally only useful for scripting commit-patch.

-v, --verbose - Turn on debugging. This will print the commands that commit-patch is running to get the patch committed.

-n, --dry-run - Turn on more paranoid debugging. This will print the commands that commit-patch will run to get the patch committed but it won't actually run those commands.

-r, --retry - Only available in commit-partial. This will reload the last patch that was attempted to be committed into your editor instead of the current changes in the directory. This is for cases where the patch fails to commit for some reason and you want to try to fix it instead of starting over.


commit-patch works by manipulating the working directory using patch, interdiff, and the underlying version control system's diff. If any part of the process fails, commit-patch will attempt to restore the working directory to the state it was before the command was run. Any errors from the underlying version control system or from patch will be printed.


The patch specified on the command line must originate from the same place as the current directory. That is, the following will not work:

  cvs diff -u > ../a.patch
  cd ..
  commit-patch a.patch

You must run commit-patch from the same directory that the original patch was based from.

Darcs, Git and Mercurial put a/ and b/ in front of all the paths in the diff output. Don't worry about this; commit-patch takes it into account.


Typical CVS usage:

  cvs diff -u > a.patch
  emacs a.patch
  commit-patch a.patch

Mercurial usage with a message specified:

  hg diff > a.patch
  emacs a.patch
  commit-patch -m "This is a commit message" a.patch

Darcs usage with a multi-line message specified:

  darcs diff -u > a.patch
  emacs a.patch
  commit-patch -m 'This is the patch name
  Here are the patch details' a.patch



Copyright 2003-2014 by David Caldwell and Jim Radford.

commit-patch is distributed under the GNU General Public License. See the COPYING file in the distribution for more details.


commit-patch was originally called cvs-commit-patch and was a bash script written in 2003 by Jim Radford (with David Caldwell in the room drawing the procedure on a white board). David later converted it do darcs-commit-patch, then integrated them back together into commit-patch. Mercurial support was then added. At some point David translated from bash into perl because funky bash quoting issues were causing problems with a repository that had a space in one of the directory names.