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A "patch" is a file that concisely describes the differences between one set of files and another - in this case, if you've made a change to Audacity that you'd like to share with us, the patch file will contain a description of all of the changes you made. Patch files are designed to be redundant, so that if your source is a little bit out of date, the patch might still work, and it's unlikely to change the wrong lines.
Which version of Audacity should I patch?
We suggest that you always patch against CVS if at all possible. If your patch is a tiny bug fix, you're welcome to submit a patch against the Audacity 1.2 branch (cvs update -r AUDACITY_1_2 or cvs checkout -r AUDACITY_1_2 audacity). If your patch adds a new feature, or if it's nontrivial, please submit your patch against the CVS HEAD, or the unstable development branch of Audacity.
How to create a patch
Inside of an Audacity CVS directory, just type:
cvs diff -u > patchfile
Alternatively, download a fresh copy of Audacity, make two copies of the directory, and then run recursive diff from the command line:
diff -r -u audacity audacity-patched > patchfile
The "-u" switch produces a file in "unified diff format" which is easier to read and includes proper context information.
Why are you ignoring me?
The Audacity developers don't mean to be rude. Some of the reasons we might not accept your patch or respond to your email immediately include:
- You didn't patch the proper version of Audacity. If you send us a patch for Audacity 1.1.3, not only will it be difficult for us to port your patch to the latest code, but it may not even be relevant.
- Your patch is very long - it might take us a while to sort through it and figure out what you did. We welcome contributions, but we like to understand what they do.
- We're worried that the patch might have unintended consequences - the patch might work great for you, but we've been working with this code for a long time, and we might be anticipating a potential problem that might not be immediately obvious to you.
- We're busy - remember, we work on this in our spare time!
If you don't see anything wrong with your patch and you haven't heard anything after a week, feel free to bug us - we don't mind polite, helpful reminders.
Where should I send it?
Unless the patch is very, very large, you should subscribe to the Audacity-Devel mailing list and submit it there. Please stick around so that we can ask you questions about the patch if necessary, but be patient.