format-patch: allow additional generated content in make_cover_letter()
[git/git.git] / Documentation / git-format-patch.txt
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1git-format-patch(1)
2===================
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3
4NAME
5----
7bd7f280 6git-format-patch - Prepare patches for e-mail submission
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7
8
9SYNOPSIS
10--------
353ce815 11[verse]
50710ce4 12'git format-patch' [-k] [(-o|--output-directory) <dir> | --stdout]
f693b7e9 13 [--no-thread | --thread[=<style>]]
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14 [(--attach|--inline)[=<boundary>] | --no-attach]
15 [-s | --signoff]
6622d9c7 16 [--signature=<signature> | --no-signature]
7022650f 17 [--signature-file=<file>]
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18 [-n | --numbered | -N | --no-numbered]
19 [--start-number <n>] [--numbered-files]
20 [--in-reply-to=Message-Id] [--suffix=.<sfx>]
21 [--ignore-if-in-upstream]
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22 [--rfc] [--subject-prefix=Subject-Prefix]
23 [(--reroll-count|-v) <n>]
ae6c098f 24 [--to=<email>] [--cc=<email>]
2a4c2607 25 [--[no-]cover-letter] [--quiet] [--notes[=<ref>]]
738e88a2 26 [--progress]
50710ce4 27 [<common diff options>]
8a1d076e 28 [ <since> | <revision range> ]
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29
30DESCRIPTION
31-----------
2052d146 32
8a1d076e 33Prepare each commit with its patch in
2052d146 34one file per commit, formatted to resemble UNIX mailbox format.
2052d146 35The output of this command is convenient for e-mail submission or
0b444cdb 36for use with 'git am'.
35ef3a4c 37
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38There are two ways to specify which commits to operate on.
39
401. A single commit, <since>, specifies that the commits leading
41 to the tip of the current branch that are not in the history
42 that leads to the <since> to be output.
43
442. Generic <revision range> expression (see "SPECIFYING
9d83e382 45 REVISIONS" section in linkgit:gitrevisions[7]) means the
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46 commits in the specified range.
47
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48The first rule takes precedence in the case of a single <commit>. To
49apply the second rule, i.e., format everything since the beginning of
9e9f132f 50history up until <commit>, use the `--root` option: `git format-patch
6cf378f0 51--root <commit>`. If you want to format only <commit> itself, you
dce5ef14 52can do this with `git format-patch -1 <commit>`.
8a1d076e 53
e6ff0f42 54By default, each output file is numbered sequentially from 1, and uses the
2052d146 55first line of the commit message (massaged for pathname safety) as
dce5ef14 56the filename. With the `--numbered-files` option, the output file names
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57will only be numbers, without the first line of the commit appended.
58The names of the output files are printed to standard
dce5ef14 59output, unless the `--stdout` option is specified.
66f04f38 60
dce5ef14 61If `-o` is specified, output files are created in <dir>. Otherwise
bc6bf2d7 62they are created in the current working directory. The default path
ae9f6311 63can be set with the `format.outputDirectory` configuration option.
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64The `-o` option takes precedence over `format.outputDirectory`.
65To store patches in the current working directory even when
66`format.outputDirectory` points elsewhere, use `-o .`.
35ef3a4c 67
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68By default, the subject of a single patch is "[PATCH] " followed by
69the concatenation of lines from the commit message up to the first blank
70line (see the DISCUSSION section of linkgit:git-commit[1]).
71
72When multiple patches are output, the subject prefix will instead be
73"[PATCH n/m] ". To force 1/1 to be added for a single patch, use `-n`.
74To omit patch numbers from the subject, use `-N`.
35ef3a4c 75
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76If given `--thread`, `git-format-patch` will generate `In-Reply-To` and
77`References` headers to make the second and subsequent patch mails appear
78as replies to the first mail; this also generates a `Message-Id` header to
cc35de84 79reference.
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80
81OPTIONS
82-------
c1a95fa6 83:git-format-patch: 1
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84include::diff-options.txt[]
85
ed5f07a6 86-<n>::
2c642ed8 87 Prepare patches from the topmost <n> commits.
ed5f07a6 88
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89-o <dir>::
90--output-directory <dir>::
35ef3a4c 91 Use <dir> to store the resulting files, instead of the
efd02016 92 current working directory.
35ef3a4c 93
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94-n::
95--numbered::
a567fdcb 96 Name output in '[PATCH n/m]' format, even with a single patch.
35ef3a4c 97
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98-N::
99--no-numbered::
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100 Name output in '[PATCH]' format.
101
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102--start-number <n>::
103 Start numbering the patches at <n> instead of 1.
104
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105--numbered-files::
106 Output file names will be a simple number sequence
107 without the default first line of the commit appended.
e6ff0f42 108
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109-k::
110--keep-subject::
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111 Do not strip/add '[PATCH]' from the first line of the
112 commit log message.
113
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114-s::
115--signoff::
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116 Add `Signed-off-by:` line to the commit message, using
117 the committer identity of yourself.
b2c150d3 118 See the signoff option in linkgit:git-commit[1] for more information.
6f855371 119
54ba6013 120--stdout::
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121 Print all commits to the standard output in mbox format,
122 instead of creating a file for each one.
7fc9d69f 123
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124--attach[=<boundary>]::
125 Create multipart/mixed attachment, the first part of
126 which is the commit message and the patch itself in the
dce5ef14 127 second part, with `Content-Disposition: attachment`.
c112f689 128
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129--no-attach::
130 Disable the creation of an attachment, overriding the
131 configuration setting.
132
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133--inline[=<boundary>]::
134 Create multipart/mixed attachment, the first part of
135 which is the commit message and the patch itself in the
dce5ef14 136 second part, with `Content-Disposition: inline`.
a15a44ef 137
30984ed2 138--thread[=<style>]::
f693b7e9 139--no-thread::
dce5ef14 140 Controls addition of `In-Reply-To` and `References` headers to
f693b7e9 141 make the second and subsequent mails appear as replies to the
dce5ef14 142 first. Also controls generation of the `Message-Id` header to
f693b7e9 143 reference.
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144+
145The optional <style> argument can be either `shallow` or `deep`.
fd1ff306 146'shallow' threading makes every mail a reply to the head of the
30984ed2 147series, where the head is chosen from the cover letter, the
6cf378f0 148`--in-reply-to`, and the first patch mail, in this order. 'deep'
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149threading makes every mail a reply to the previous one.
150+
ae9f6311 151The default is `--no-thread`, unless the `format.thread` configuration
dce5ef14 152is set. If `--thread` is specified without a style, it defaults to the
ae9f6311 153style specified by `format.thread` if any, or else `shallow`.
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154+
155Beware that the default for 'git send-email' is to thread emails
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156itself. If you want `git format-patch` to take care of threading, you
157will want to ensure that threading is disabled for `git send-email`.
28ffb898 158
da56645d 159--in-reply-to=Message-Id::
dce5ef14 160 Make the first mail (or all the mails with `--no-thread`) appear as a
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161 reply to the given Message-Id, which avoids breaking threads to
162 provide a new patch series.
163
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164--ignore-if-in-upstream::
165 Do not include a patch that matches a commit in
166 <until>..<since>. This will examine all patches reachable
167 from <since> but not from <until> and compare them with the
168 patches being generated, and any patch that matches is
169 ignored.
170
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171--subject-prefix=<Subject-Prefix>::
172 Instead of the standard '[PATCH]' prefix in the subject
173 line, instead use '[<Subject-Prefix>]'. This
174 allows for useful naming of a patch series, and can be
dce5ef14 175 combined with the `--numbered` option.
2d9e4a47 176
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177--rfc::
178 Alias for `--subject-prefix="RFC PATCH"`. RFC means "Request For
179 Comments"; use this when sending an experimental patch for
180 discussion rather than application.
181
7952ea66 182-v <n>::
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183--reroll-count=<n>::
184 Mark the series as the <n>-th iteration of the topic. The
d614f075 185 output filenames have `v<n>` prepended to them, and the
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186 subject prefix ("PATCH" by default, but configurable via the
187 `--subject-prefix` option) has ` v<n>` appended to it. E.g.
188 `--reroll-count=4` may produce `v4-0001-add-makefile.patch`
189 file that has "Subject: [PATCH v4 1/20] Add makefile" in it.
190
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191--to=<email>::
192 Add a `To:` header to the email headers. This is in addition
193 to any configured headers, and may be used multiple times.
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194 The negated form `--no-to` discards all `To:` headers added so
195 far (from config or command line).
ae6c098f 196
736cc67d 197--cc=<email>::
dce5ef14 198 Add a `Cc:` header to the email headers. This is in addition
736cc67d 199 to any configured headers, and may be used multiple times.
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200 The negated form `--no-cc` discards all `Cc:` headers added so
201 far (from config or command line).
736cc67d 202
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203--from::
204--from=<ident>::
205 Use `ident` in the `From:` header of each commit email. If the
206 author ident of the commit is not textually identical to the
207 provided `ident`, place a `From:` header in the body of the
208 message with the original author. If no `ident` is given, use
209 the committer ident.
210+
211Note that this option is only useful if you are actually sending the
212emails and want to identify yourself as the sender, but retain the
213original author (and `git am` will correctly pick up the in-body
214header). Note also that `git send-email` already handles this
215transformation for you, and this option should not be used if you are
216feeding the result to `git send-email`.
217
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218--add-header=<header>::
219 Add an arbitrary header to the email headers. This is in addition
220 to any configured headers, and may be used multiple times.
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221 For example, `--add-header="Organization: git-foo"`.
222 The negated form `--no-add-header` discards *all* (`To:`,
223 `Cc:`, and custom) headers added so far from config or command
224 line.
d7d9c2d0 225
2a4c2607 226--[no-]cover-letter::
f4912391 227 In addition to the patches, generate a cover letter file
561d2b79 228 containing the branch description, shortlog and the overall diffstat. You can
f4912391 229 fill in a description in the file before sending it out.
a5a27c79 230
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231--notes[=<ref>]::
232 Append the notes (see linkgit:git-notes[1]) for the commit
233 after the three-dash line.
234+
235The expected use case of this is to write supporting explanation for
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236the commit that does not belong to the commit log message proper,
237and include it with the patch submission. While one can simply write
238these explanations after `format-patch` has run but before sending,
2de9b711 239keeping them as Git notes allows them to be maintained between versions
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240of the patch series (but see the discussion of the `notes.rewrite`
241configuration options in linkgit:git-notes[1] to use this workflow).
e422c0cf 242
2c7ee986 243--[no-]signature=<signature>::
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244 Add a signature to each message produced. Per RFC 3676 the signature
245 is separated from the body by a line with '-- ' on it. If the
2de9b711 246 signature option is omitted the signature defaults to the Git version
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247 number.
248
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249--signature-file=<file>::
250 Works just like --signature except the signature is read from a file.
251
03eeaeae 252--suffix=.<sfx>::
917a8f89 253 Instead of using `.patch` as the suffix for generated
02783075 254 filenames, use specified suffix. A common alternative is
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255 `--suffix=.txt`. Leaving this empty will remove the `.patch`
256 suffix.
03eeaeae 257+
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258Note that the leading character does not have to be a dot; for example,
259you can use `--suffix=-patch` to get `0001-description-of-my-change-patch`.
03eeaeae 260
b7df098c 261-q::
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262--quiet::
263 Do not print the names of the generated files to standard output.
264
37c22a4b 265--no-binary::
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266 Do not output contents of changes in binary files, instead
267 display a notice that those files changed. Patches generated
268 using this option cannot be applied properly, but they are
269 still useful for code review.
37c22a4b 270
3a30aa17 271--zero-commit::
272 Output an all-zero hash in each patch's From header instead
273 of the hash of the commit.
274
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275--base=<commit>::
276 Record the base tree information to identify the state the
277 patch series applies to. See the BASE TREE INFORMATION section
278 below for details.
279
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280--root::
281 Treat the revision argument as a <revision range>, even if it
282 is just a single commit (that would normally be treated as a
283 <since>). Note that root commits included in the specified
284 range are always formatted as creation patches, independently
285 of this flag.
286
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287--progress::
288 Show progress reports on stderr as patches are generated.
289
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290CONFIGURATION
291-------------
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292You can specify extra mail header lines to be added to each message,
293defaults for the subject prefix and file suffix, number patches when
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294outputting more than one patch, add "To" or "Cc:" headers, configure
295attachments, and sign off patches with configuration variables.
96ce6d26 296
917a8f89 297------------
96ce6d26 298[format]
7f9d77f2 299 headers = "Organization: git-foo\n"
da0005b8 300 subjectPrefix = CHANGE
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301 suffix = .txt
302 numbered = auto
ae6c098f 303 to = <email>
fe8928e6 304 cc = <email>
0db5260b 305 attach [ = mime-boundary-string ]
da0005b8 306 signOff = true
2a4c2607 307 coverletter = auto
917a8f89 308------------
03eeaeae 309
96ce6d26 310
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311DISCUSSION
312----------
313
314The patch produced by 'git format-patch' is in UNIX mailbox format,
315with a fixed "magic" time stamp to indicate that the file is output
316from format-patch rather than a real mailbox, like so:
317
318------------
319From 8f72bad1baf19a53459661343e21d6491c3908d3 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
320From: Tony Luck <tony.luck@intel.com>
321Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 11:42:54 -0700
322Subject: [PATCH] =?UTF-8?q?[IA64]=20Put=20ia64=20config=20files=20on=20the=20?=
323 =?UTF-8?q?Uwe=20Kleine-K=C3=B6nig=20diet?=
324MIME-Version: 1.0
325Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
326Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
327
328arch/arm config files were slimmed down using a python script
329(See commit c2330e286f68f1c408b4aa6515ba49d57f05beae comment)
330
331Do the same for ia64 so we can have sleek & trim looking
332...
333------------
334
335Typically it will be placed in a MUA's drafts folder, edited to add
336timely commentary that should not go in the changelog after the three
337dashes, and then sent as a message whose body, in our example, starts
338with "arch/arm config files were...". On the receiving end, readers
339can save interesting patches in a UNIX mailbox and apply them with
340linkgit:git-am[1].
341
342When a patch is part of an ongoing discussion, the patch generated by
343'git format-patch' can be tweaked to take advantage of the 'git am
344--scissors' feature. After your response to the discussion comes a
345line that consists solely of "`-- >8 --`" (scissors and perforation),
346followed by the patch with unnecessary header fields removed:
347
348------------
349...
350> So we should do such-and-such.
351
352Makes sense to me. How about this patch?
353
354-- >8 --
355Subject: [IA64] Put ia64 config files on the Uwe Kleine-König diet
356
357arch/arm config files were slimmed down using a python script
358...
359------------
360
361When sending a patch this way, most often you are sending your own
362patch, so in addition to the "`From $SHA1 $magic_timestamp`" marker you
363should omit `From:` and `Date:` lines from the patch file. The patch
364title is likely to be different from the subject of the discussion the
365patch is in response to, so it is likely that you would want to keep
366the Subject: line, like the example above.
367
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368Checking for patch corruption
369~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
370Many mailers if not set up properly will corrupt whitespace. Here are
371two common types of corruption:
372
373* Empty context lines that do not have _any_ whitespace.
374
375* Non-empty context lines that have one extra whitespace at the
376 beginning.
377
378One way to test if your MUA is set up correctly is:
379
380* Send the patch to yourself, exactly the way you would, except
381 with To: and Cc: lines that do not contain the list and
382 maintainer address.
383
384* Save that patch to a file in UNIX mailbox format. Call it a.patch,
385 say.
386
387* Apply it:
388
389 $ git fetch <project> master:test-apply
390 $ git checkout test-apply
391 $ git reset --hard
392 $ git am a.patch
393
394If it does not apply correctly, there can be various reasons.
395
396* The patch itself does not apply cleanly. That is _bad_ but
397 does not have much to do with your MUA. You might want to rebase
398 the patch with linkgit:git-rebase[1] before regenerating it in
399 this case.
400
401* The MUA corrupted your patch; "am" would complain that
402 the patch does not apply. Look in the .git/rebase-apply/ subdirectory and
403 see what 'patch' file contains and check for the common
404 corruption patterns mentioned above.
405
406* While at it, check the 'info' and 'final-commit' files as well.
407 If what is in 'final-commit' is not exactly what you would want to
408 see in the commit log message, it is very likely that the
409 receiver would end up hand editing the log message when applying
410 your patch. Things like "Hi, this is my first patch.\n" in the
411 patch e-mail should come after the three-dash line that signals
412 the end of the commit message.
413
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414MUA-SPECIFIC HINTS
415------------------
416Here are some hints on how to successfully submit patches inline using
417various mailers.
418
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419GMail
420~~~~~
421GMail does not have any way to turn off line wrapping in the web
422interface, so it will mangle any emails that you send. You can however
423use "git send-email" and send your patches through the GMail SMTP server, or
424use any IMAP email client to connect to the google IMAP server and forward
425the emails through that.
426
427For hints on using 'git send-email' to send your patches through the
428GMail SMTP server, see the EXAMPLE section of linkgit:git-send-email[1].
429
430For hints on submission using the IMAP interface, see the EXAMPLE
431section of linkgit:git-imap-send[1].
432
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433Thunderbird
434~~~~~~~~~~~
435By default, Thunderbird will both wrap emails as well as flag
436them as being 'format=flowed', both of which will make the
2de9b711 437resulting email unusable by Git.
dc53151f 438
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439There are three different approaches: use an add-on to turn off line wraps,
440configure Thunderbird to not mangle patches, or use
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441an external editor to keep Thunderbird from mangling the patches.
442
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443Approach #1 (add-on)
444^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
445
446Install the Toggle Word Wrap add-on that is available from
447https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/toggle-word-wrap/
448It adds a menu entry "Enable Word Wrap" in the composer's "Options" menu
449that you can tick off. Now you can compose the message as you otherwise do
450(cut + paste, 'git format-patch' | 'git imap-send', etc), but you have to
451insert line breaks manually in any text that you type.
452
453Approach #2 (configuration)
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454^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
455Three steps:
456
4571. Configure your mail server composition as plain text:
458 Edit...Account Settings...Composition & Addressing,
459 uncheck "Compose Messages in HTML".
460
4612. Configure your general composition window to not wrap.
462+
463In Thunderbird 2:
464Edit..Preferences..Composition, wrap plain text messages at 0
465+
466In Thunderbird 3:
467Edit..Preferences..Advanced..Config Editor. Search for
468"mail.wrap_long_lines".
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469Toggle it to make sure it is set to `false`. Also, search for
470"mailnews.wraplength" and set the value to 0.
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471
4723. Disable the use of format=flowed:
473Edit..Preferences..Advanced..Config Editor. Search for
474"mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed".
475Toggle it to make sure it is set to `false`.
476
477After that is done, you should be able to compose email as you
478otherwise would (cut + paste, 'git format-patch' | 'git imap-send', etc),
479and the patches will not be mangled.
480
b8959605 481Approach #3 (external editor)
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482^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
483
484The following Thunderbird extensions are needed:
485AboutConfig from http://aboutconfig.mozdev.org/ and
486External Editor from http://globs.org/articles.php?lng=en&pg=8
487
4881. Prepare the patch as a text file using your method of choice.
489
4902. Before opening a compose window, use Edit->Account Settings to
491 uncheck the "Compose messages in HTML format" setting in the
492 "Composition & Addressing" panel of the account to be used to
493 send the patch.
494
4953. In the main Thunderbird window, 'before' you open the compose
496 window for the patch, use Tools->about:config to set the
497 following to the indicated values:
498+
499----------
500 mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed => false
501 mailnews.wraplength => 0
502----------
503
5044. Open a compose window and click the external editor icon.
505
5065. In the external editor window, read in the patch file and exit
507 the editor normally.
508
509Side note: it may be possible to do step 2 with
510about:config and the following settings but no one's tried yet.
511
512----------
513 mail.html_compose => false
514 mail.identity.default.compose_html => false
515 mail.identity.id?.compose_html => false
516----------
517
518There is a script in contrib/thunderbird-patch-inline which can help
519you include patches with Thunderbird in an easy way. To use it, do the
520steps above and then use the script as the external editor.
521
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522KMail
523~~~~~
524This should help you to submit patches inline using KMail.
525
5261. Prepare the patch as a text file.
527
5282. Click on New Mail.
529
5303. Go under "Options" in the Composer window and be sure that
531 "Word wrap" is not set.
532
5334. Use Message -> Insert file... and insert the patch.
534
5355. Back in the compose window: add whatever other text you wish to the
536 message, complete the addressing and subject fields, and press send.
537
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538BASE TREE INFORMATION
539---------------------
540
541The base tree information block is used for maintainers or third party
542testers to know the exact state the patch series applies to. It consists
543of the 'base commit', which is a well-known commit that is part of the
544stable part of the project history everybody else works off of, and zero
545or more 'prerequisite patches', which are well-known patches in flight
546that is not yet part of the 'base commit' that need to be applied on top
547of 'base commit' in topological order before the patches can be applied.
548
549The 'base commit' is shown as "base-commit: " followed by the 40-hex of
550the commit object name. A 'prerequisite patch' is shown as
551"prerequisite-patch-id: " followed by the 40-hex 'patch id', which can
552be obtained by passing the patch through the `git patch-id --stable`
553command.
554
555Imagine that on top of the public commit P, you applied well-known
556patches X, Y and Z from somebody else, and then built your three-patch
557series A, B, C, the history would be like:
558
559................................................
560---P---X---Y---Z---A---B---C
561................................................
562
563With `git format-patch --base=P -3 C` (or variants thereof, e.g. with
7ba1ceef 564`--cover-letter` or using `Z..C` instead of `-3 C` to specify the
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565range), the base tree information block is shown at the end of the
566first message the command outputs (either the first patch, or the
567cover letter), like this:
568
569------------
570base-commit: P
571prerequisite-patch-id: X
572prerequisite-patch-id: Y
573prerequisite-patch-id: Z
574------------
575
576For non-linear topology, such as
577
578................................................
579---P---X---A---M---C
580 \ /
581 Y---Z---B
582................................................
583
584You can also use `git format-patch --base=P -3 C` to generate patches
585for A, B and C, and the identifiers for P, X, Y, Z are appended at the
586end of the first message.
e0d48279 587
3de66517
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588If set `--base=auto` in cmdline, it will track base commit automatically,
589the base commit will be the merge base of tip commit of the remote-tracking
590branch and revision-range specified in cmdline.
591For a local branch, you need to track a remote branch by `git branch
592--set-upstream-to` before using this option.
593
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594EXAMPLES
595--------
596
921177f5 597* Extract commits between revisions R1 and R2, and apply them on top of
0b444cdb 598the current branch using 'git am' to cherry-pick them:
921177f5
CC
599+
600------------
467c0197 601$ git format-patch -k --stdout R1..R2 | git am -3 -k
921177f5
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602------------
603
604* Extract all commits which are in the current branch but not in the
605origin branch:
606+
607------------
608$ git format-patch origin
609------------
610+
611For each commit a separate file is created in the current directory.
612
613* Extract all commits that lead to 'origin' since the inception of the
614project:
615+
616------------
9c67c757 617$ git format-patch --root origin
921177f5
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618------------
619
620* The same as the previous one:
621+
622------------
623$ git format-patch -M -B origin
624------------
625+
626Additionally, it detects and handles renames and complete rewrites
627intelligently to produce a renaming patch. A renaming patch reduces
50710ce4 628the amount of text output, and generally makes it easier to review.
2de9b711
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629Note that non-Git "patch" programs won't understand renaming patches, so
630use it only when you know the recipient uses Git to apply your patch.
921177f5
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631
632* Extract three topmost commits from the current branch and format them
633as e-mailable patches:
634+
635------------
636$ git format-patch -3
637------------
28ffb898 638
56ae8df5 639SEE ALSO
28ffb898 640--------
5162e697 641linkgit:git-am[1], linkgit:git-send-email[1]
28ffb898 642
7fc9d69f
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643GIT
644---
9e1f0a85 645Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite