SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

How to Modify a Package in the Open Build Service

Quilting with OSC

This document leads you through the process of modifying a software package in the Open Build Service (OBS) using the osc and quilt tools. It also discusses simple error cases, based upon the author’s own experiences, but it does not attempt to be a full manual or to cover all options. The steps described here should work well, but if you encounter any difficulties, you should consult the manuals or ask an expert for help.

This document does not intend to provide a guide for the Open Build Service. If you want to learn more about OBS, visit the project’s Web page at and read the specific documentation there

Author: Josef Moellers, Senior Developer SUSE Linux Enterprise Network Services, SUSE
Publication Date: March 13, 2018

1 Introduction: Open Build Service and the Tools osc and quilt

The Open Build Service command line client osc is a tool developed to interact with OBS servers. It provides many functions including:

  • Creating, modifying and deleting the information (meta data) about projects and packages and downloading or uploading their code and packaging

  • Managing the repositories or targets that projects or packages build against

  • Preparing and running local builds of packages

  • Making and managing requests to modify packages in projects (so called Submit Requests)

quilt is a software utility for managing a series of changes to the source code of any computer program. Such changes are often called patches or patch sets. quilt takes an arbitrary number of patches and turns them into a single patch. In doing so, quilt makes it easier for other programmers to test and evaluate the different changes before they are permanently inserted into the source code. In short, quilt allows you to easily manage many patches by keeping track of the changes each patch makes. Patches can be applied, un-applied, refreshed, and more.

To understand how osc and quilt work, a few terms and technologies need to be described more in detail:

  • OBS manages repositories, such as devel:tools, SUSE:SLE-15:GA, or home:<username>. Repositories are sometimes also called projects. In this documentation, projects are abbreviated as PRJ.

  • A repository contains a set of packages, such as pam_krb5, ntp, wget, zypper. In this document, packages are abbreviated as PKG. Keep in mind that a package can (and usually will) appear in more than one repository, but for all practical purposes each one is a copy in its own right.

  • A package consists of a set of files, which contains:

    • at least a spec file,

    • an archive of pristine sources – these are the original sources for the package without any patches applied – possibly accompanied by a signature file,

    • a changes file,

    • possibly a set of patches which are to be applied in a given sequence, the order being defined by the spec file, and

    • sometimes additional files, which are not part of the sources or which control some aspects of the building process, for example an rpmlintrc file.

While there exists only one Open Build Service, it maintains two separate collections, or APIs (as they are called in the documentation) of repositories:

  • the external build service at It can be used by everyone. When you log in to this Web site, you can view all projects available in the external build service.

  • the internal build service where the SUSE products are maintained. Only SUSE employees can access this Web site using their log in credentials. Here you can view the existing projects in the internal build service.

Note: External Build Service

By default, the osc command works on the external build service only. To make it work on the internal build service, you need to add the special option with argument -A int. As this paper focuses on the external API of the Open Build Service, only the plain osc command is used.

This document guides you through the process of modifying a package by updating it to a new version, adding an existing upstream patch or by building a new patch.

You might need to add a patch to several versions of the respective package in more than one project. The reason is that, if you fix a bug, you often need to fix it in various SUSE Linux Enterprise releases. For example, if you fix a bug in SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, you might also need to fix it in SUSE Linux Enterprise 12. For this purpose we will use two tools:

  • osc to manage the package(s) and

  • quilt to manage the patch(es)

Using two tools occasionally requires switching from one tool to the other. At the junctions, each of the tools will enter the realm of the other tool. But in good Unix tradition, each tool performs its own job, while being aware of the other tool. The commands for both tools come with a very extensive set of subcommands and very good manual pages. Options explained or mentioned in this document are usually placed after the subcommand. In consequence, for a correct command, type :

osc mbranch -c <PKG>

and NOT

osc -c mbranch <PKG>

The former command requests to check out files from the created branches, while the latter would specify to use an alternate configuration file mbranch with <PKG> as the subcommand.

Both tools come with a built-in help system. To display the information for a given subcommand, type:

osc help <subcommand>


quilt <subcommand> -h

2 Repositories and Projects

This chapter focuses on repositories. You will have to upload packages to repositories and move packages from one repository to another. The term repository is often used as a synonym for project. But strictly speaking a project is a set of packages and a repository is the location where the files for these packages are stored.

Note: Colons

When you see colons (:) in a repository (or project) name, notionally replace them by slashes (/), to make the file name look more familiar.

A project can be

  • a software project (for example Apache, Base:System, or Linux-PAM)

  • a home project (for example home:jmoellers)

  • a branch (for example home:jmoellers:branches:Linux-PAM)

  • a product project (for example SUSE:SLE-12-SP3:GA)


    Product project is not an official term!

You can list all projects with the command osc ls /. For the external build service, this command returns a rather long list of available projects (at the time of writing, almost 45,000 projects were available).

Each package included in a product usually goes through at least three repositories:

  1. the development repository, or in short devel repo

  2. Factory

  3. the product repository

Often a fourth repository is needed, which is the branch that you create to work on the product. In these cases a package passes trough the following repositories:

  • the development repository, or in short devel repo

  • your branch

  • once again the devel repo

  • Factory

  • the product repository

2.1 Upstream

Upstream is not a repository in the classical meaning, but usually it is the very basic source of a package. It could be a Git repository that you clone, or a Web site from where you download a TAR archive.

When you fix a bug, you should submit the patch to upstream to ensure it can be included into future versions of the package. This has the advantage that next time you upgrade the package from upstream, you might be able to drop one or more local patches. In addition, you contribute your efforts to the community. However, getting the patch accepted might require some patience and persistence, because some upstream maintainers have very special requirements regarding how to fix a bug. But usually most upstream maintainers are grateful for any fixes.

2.2 Development Repository

The development repository, or in short devel repo, is where you keep a package locally, after it has been downloaded or cloned from upstream. Most development repositories are located on the external build service. Each development repository has one or more maintainers and one or more bugowners.

Only the maintainer(s) and the bugowner(s) can submit to this repository. Other contributors must branch the repository and then request the patch to be accepted by the maintainer(s) and/or bugowner(s). You can, however, check out from the development repo, for example, if you only want to have a look at the source code or if you need to analyze a problem without first creating a branch (which takes up some space on the build servers).

You can find the devel repo of a package by typing

osc develproject <PRJ> <PKG>

The command:

osc develproject openSUSE:Factory cvs

will display the following output

Note: Short Version

You can abbreviate develproject with the short version dp.

2.3 Factory

The Factory project is the rolling development code base for the openSUSE distribution Tumbleweed. Factory is mainly used as an internal term for openSUSE's distribution developers, and the target project for all contributions to openSUSE's main code base. There is a constant flow of packages going into Factory. There is no package or feature freeze; therefore, the Factory repository is not guaranteed to be fully stable and is not intended to be used as a distribution itself.

The core system packages receive automated testing via openQA, the automated test tool for Linux operating systems (for more information, see When automated testing is completed and the repository is in a consistent state, it is synchronized to the download mirrors. Then it is published as the openSUSE Tumbleweed distribution, the rolling release version of the openSUSE project, featuring the newest technology (see It is of course also the basis for openSUSE Leap, the regular annual release from the openSUSE project, with security and stability being the main focus.

In addition, Factory is used as the base repository containing the code stream for the development of the next major version of SUSE Linux Enterprise and all related enterprise-class products. Therefore it is all the more important to keep this repository up to date.

Note: Community Project

openSUSE:Factory is part of the openSUSE community project. This means it resides outside of the official SUSE product projects, and is not regulated or controlled by SUSE. Package maintainers are usually members of the openSUSE community.

A major rule has been established which is called Factory First . In theory, this means that you need to submit any package that you want to see included in any version of openSUSE or SUSE Linux Enterprise to Factory. In practice, you will submit your package or patch to the devel repo first and then you will submit to Factory from there. As you branch and check out from the devel repo, osc will automatically submit changes to the devel repo master. Once you have submitted or updated a package in its devel repo, you (or the maintainer of the devel repo) must submit the package to openSUSE:Factory.

Important: Factory First Policy

After you have submitted or updated a package in the devel repo, you always need to submit it to the next step! As long as the package is updated or patched only in its devel repo, the new version of the package will not be included with any new release. Only when it is submitted to openSUSE:Factory, it is available for incorporation into future product releases. This policy is called Factory First !

From openSUSE:Factory, the package will later be submitted to a distribution repository, for example to SUSE:SLE-15:GA. Usually this is done by the package maintainers, but occasionally you might be asked to submit your new or updated package there.

2.4 Home Project

The Home Project is your private repository. It is called home:<username> (for example home:jmoellers). In this repository, you store your own projects, and you create your branches.

2.5 Branch

When you create a branch from an existing project, for example from a devel repo of which you are not the maintainer or bugowner, this is stored under home:<username>:branches. In the following example:


home:jmoellers:branches: stands for the branch, network:utilities stands for the devel project, and wget is the product.

Some maintainers or bugowners branch from their own devel repos, to ensure clean development processes, and to allow for proper documentation.

The osc command records from which repository the branch was created. When you submit changes back to your branch, it also makes a request to the maintainers of the package to accept and submit the changes into the original repository.

2.6 Product Projects

For the purpose of this document, the term Product Projects refers to the repositories containing the packages that are bundled into a SUSE product. When a new product is built, its repository usually is named SUSE:<productname>:GA (for example SUSE:SLE-15:GA). At a later stage of the lifecycle, after the General Availability (GA) of the product, when the service packs for a product need to be created, a repository SUSE:<productname>:Update is set up. This is the repository to which you now should submit your patches. The next service pack of a product will be built from this repository.

Note: GA Production Repository

You cannot directly submit to the GA production repository. As the Factory First rule applies, you submit to Factory. Then the product release team will fetch the package from there. You can, however, submit to the Update repositories when you fix a bug in an older release.

Each distribution and each service pack has its own repository (for example SLE-xx-SPyy). If you fix a bug in a package’s devel repo (after which you submit the patch to openSUSE:Factory), you may need to also fix it in the distribution repos.

This requires the following steps:

  1. Creating branches for all versions which are currently in maintenance mode:

    osc mbranch
  2. Checking the branches out to your local disk. The previous step and this step can be combined into one step:

    osc  mbranch -c
  3. Creating one or more patches and modifying the associated files (for example the spec file)

  4. Submitting the changes back to the product repo

The last step will not automatically update the package in the product repo. The package maintainer will do that after some necessary tests.

3 Package

The next paragraphs focus on packages. A package consists of:

  • a spec file describing how the binary package is to be built from the sources,

  • the pristine sources, means the unmodified base source archive which you usually download from the upstream git repository, possibly accompanied by a signature file,

  • a changes file containing a human readable list of the changes introduced with each patch, and

  • (possibly) a set of patches to be applied, for example functional enhancements, adaptations to SUSE specifics or bug fixes

Other files might be included in a package, but they are not relevant for the purpose of this document. You can find all files of a package in the source RPM.

The command osc ls <PRJ> lists all packages of a project or repository.


osc ls devel:tools:scm

This command lists all packages in the source code management section of the development tools: from EasyMercurial through bugzilla, cvs, git, osc, rcs, trac, down to xmlto.

With the command osc search (or short osc se) you can find the project(s) a package is in:


osc se bugzilla

Besides listing the home projects of contributors who have created branches of the bugzilla package, this command returns the following information:

devel:tools:scm       bugzilla

4 Getting the Package

At a certain point in time, you need to modify a package. You

  1. either have worked out a fix for a bug yourself,

  2. or found an upstream patch that you want to include,

  3. or you want to upgrade a package to a new version.

If you want to update a package, you should use the existing one as the skeleton. You also you must keep and amend the changes file. If you want to write a patch or use an existing patch, you need the current version of the package because you simply add your patch to the package.

At this stage, you should also have a clear idea of the directory structure you want to use. One option is to store all your patches and packages under your HOME directory. But you can also consider to create subdirectories by topics for the work you currently have in progress. In any case, the meta data that are stored by osc ensure that the package is submitted to the correct directory.

4.1 Development Repository – Maintainer or Bugowner

You can always check out the sources from the devel repo. But as long as you are not the maintainer or bugowner of that repository, you usually cannot submit your changes directly. The tool osc knows where a package comes from and will automatically submit it back to the correct repository.

After you moved to the directory where you want to work on the sources, you can check out the current revision of the package by running the command:

osc co <PRJ> <PKG>

where <PRJ> ist the project the package is part of and <PKG> is the package’s name.


osc co devel:languages:perl perl-RPM-VersionSort

This command checks out a complete directory tree and creates devel:languages:perl/perl-RPM-VersionSort. Inside the perl-RPM-VersionSort directory, all required files are available: spec file, source archive, changes file, patches etc.

In case you have created several working directories and you try to check out a package you already have a working copy of, you will get an error message:

error: ‘PRJ/PKG’ is already an initialized osc working copy

Change to the indicated directory and update the content running the command

cd <PRJ>/<PKG>; osc update

or short

cd <PRJ>/<PKG>; osc up

This will check out any changed files and tell you which revision is the current one. Everything is now set and you may proceed to Section 5, “Working on the Sources”.

4.2 Development Repository - Non-Maintainer or Non-Bugowner

There are at least two situations where you must not check out directly from the devel repo:

  1. If you need to patch an already released package, the devel repo usually holds a more current version than the released package. You must not update the release version of such a package (the procedure devel repo → factory → product repo will not work).

  2. If you are not the maintainer or bugowner of the package, you cannot submit your changes back to the devel repo.

In these cases you need to create a branch first. Then you need to check out the sources from this branch.

4.2.1 Branching

The branch you work on will be created on the build server. When you have finished your work and submitted your changes, remove the branch on the build server to free up resources. If you need the branch for additional tasks, you can remove it also at a later point in time.

Create a branch with the command

osc branch <PRJ> <PKG>

This command creates the subdirectory home:<username>:branches:<PRJ>/<PKG> on the server and populates it with the source files (spec file, pristine sources, changes file, current set of patches, etc.) of the package.

If the patch also needs to be applied to maintained versions, this means versions already released as a product, use the command osc mbranch <PKG> to branch the projects. The m in mbranch stands for multiple , and not as often wrongly assumed for maintenance .

Note: Add Package Name

Make sure you add the package name and not the project name to the command osc branch. mbranch automatically detects in which releases the package is under maintenance and creates the appropriate directory structure. Both commands osc branch and osc mbranch provide a list of the files they have created a branch for, and allow you to easily see which releases you need to work on.

4.2.2 Check Out

The commands osc branch and osc mbranch only create a branch on the build server. To create a branch on your local system including copies of the packages you want to work on, check them out with the command

osc co home:<username>:branches:<PRJ><PKG>

Remember you check out a package from the devel repo in the same way.

This command creates the directory structure home:<username>:branches:<PRJ>/<PKG> in the current directory on your local machine and populates it with all files.

If you created your new subdirectory by mistake within the wrong local directory, you can remove the newly created one with the command rm -rf. Then move to the correct directory where the new subdirectory should be located, and check out again.

4.2.3 Branch and Check Out

When you update or modify a package, you usually need to perform both steps, branching the repository, and checking out the package. You can easily combine both steps into one command by typing

osc branchco <PRJ> <PKG>

or by using the short command version

osc bco <PRJ> <PKG>

If you have used the osc mbranch command for branching, you cannot combine the two steps mbranch and checkout into one command. However, you can specify the --checkout option by typing

osc mbranch –-checkout <PKG>

or in short

osc mbranch -c <PKG>
Note: Add Package Name

Make sure you add the package name and not the project name to the command, as this command will branch and check out all projects where the respective package is under maintenance.

5 Working on the Sources

The sources are now available on your local system and you can start modifying them. Change to the package’s working directory. If you checked out from the devel repo or from a distribution repo, type the command

cd <PRJ>/<PKG>

If you have branched and checked out of that branch, type the command

cd home:<username>:branches:<PRJ>/<PKG>

Inside the current working directory, you should find at least the following files:

  1. the spec file <PKG>.spec,

  2. the pristine sources, for example <PKG>-<vers>.tar.bz2,

  3. the changes file <PKG>.changes,

  4. any patches,

  5. possibly some other files that belong to this package like an rpmlintrc file.

Your next steps depend on whether you want to

  1. upgrade the package to a new version, which is explained in Section 5.1, “Upgrading”, or

  2. patch the package to add functionality or fix a bug, which is explained in Section 5.2, “Patching”.

5.1 Upgrading

When you upgrade the package to a new version of the sources, you must also check if any of the old patches are obsoleted by the new version and if they still apply without (major) problems. You might hit upon an obsolete or faulty patch when one or more patches have been submitted and accepted upstream and integrated into the sources. Existing patches sometimes do not apply without problems when the relevant source sections have changed considerably, thus confusing the patching program. Fixing issues caused by faulty patches can become an iterative and painful process.

5.1.1 Pristine Sources

As you created a complete set of new sources, the first step should be to replace the old sources by the new ones. Do not forget to remove the old sources to avoid any hiccup within the build service. You might however want to save the old sources to a subdirectory of your HOME directory for reference and fallback. In addition, if the sources come with a checksum (for example an MD5SUM) or a signature, you should include it.

5.1.2 Spec File

Modify the spec File to reflect the new release (version, release, source name). First, disable all existing patches, as some of them might be obsolete or have problems being applied (for example if the sources have changed considerably to disrupt the patch program). You can also temporarily move all patches to another directory and bring them back in when required.

5.1.3 Build the Source Tree

Set up the source tree by running the command:

quilt setup <PKG>.spec

As there are no patches (yet) available, this command mainly unpacks the TAR archive.

Note: Asterisk Wild Card

Often you can use the command quilt setup *.spec with the asterisk wild card, because usually there is only one spec file. As quilt setup accepts only a single non-option argument, no damage occurs if more than one spec file exists. However, a warning message is emitted. This means you can redo the command with the desired spec file.

5.1.4 Check the Patches

Now, one by one, inspect the patches that you removed previously. Determine whether they are still needed. As these are ordinary patch type patches, you can use the command

patch –dry-run -p1 < <wherever>/patchfile

to see if the patch applies well. As some patches were built one directory level deeper, you might need to change to that directory and exchange the -p1 with -p0.

If the patch works well, use the command

quilt import <wherever>/patchfile

to import the patch and add it to the series file.

With the command quilt push (no further arguments) you actually apply the patch. Add the patch to the spec file, while keeping the original numbering, and continue with Section 6, “Build the Package”.

If you prefer, you can re-introduce all the patches you removed earlier and build the package subsequently. You can also add one patch at a time and build the package after each addition.

If a patch is not accepted, you most probably need to re-create it. Section 5.2, “Patching” details how to build a new patch. When you have finished adding all the patches, proceed to Section 6, “Build the Package”.

5.2 Patching

The previous paragraphs describe how to update a package to a new release or version. But usually, you need to work on an existing package and add a patch to fix a bug or implement a feature.

If an upstream patch is already available you can use that patch (see Section 5.1.4, “Check the Patches”). This can be the case if, for example, you need to fix a security vulnerability and someone else has already posted a patch for it.

In other cases, you need to create the patch yourself. This can be the case if you

  • cannot apply an existing patch,

  • have analyzed a problem and found a fix yourself,

  • or implemented a new feature.

Start by checking out the sources as described in section Section 4, “Getting the Package”. Then proceed to work on the sources.

5.2.1 Setup

At this stage, you have branched and checked out the package. It now resides in its directory, and consists of the spec file, the TAR archive, any patches, the changes file and some additional files.

The TAR archive contains the pristine sources. These are the unmodified sources cloned from a Git repository or downloaded from the project’s upstream Web site. Most packages also already come with a set of patches. Extract the source files from the TAR archive and apply these patches first, as specified in the spec file, before starting to build your own patch.

Quilt offers subcommands that will do this for you.

Initialize the source tree from the TAR archive. Unpack the TAR archive and prepare for the application of the %prepsection of the spec file with the command

quilt setup <packagename>.spec

You can also try to use the asterisk wild card *.spec, but if a package has more than one spec file, using the wild card does not work. If this is the case, quilt alerts you.

While the command quilt setup prepares the sources, it does not apply the patches. It merely creates a series file which contains the list of patches from the spec file in the correct order. To apply the patches, change to the source directory and run the command quilt push -a.

This command applies the patches in the order specified in the series file. The output of this command shows you which patches are applied to which files, and if everything went smoothly during the application. You are now prepared to add your own patch.

Note: Symbolic Link

Occasionally, especially if there are no patches to be applied, you need do create a symbolic link from the source directory to the checkout directory by typing ln -s .. patches.

5.2.2 Building the patch

When you build a new patch, you first need to name it. To do so, in the root of the source tree (this is where you just ran the command quilt push -a), run the command

quilt new <patchname>

For a guide on how to name the patch, see the instructions on the openSUSE Web site at

Note: Name Your Patch

Do not forget to name your new patch, else any changes you make will be added to the last patch!

To keep everything under control, you must not use your favorite editor to modify a file (although it is perfectly fine to peek into a file using your editor). From the root of the source tree, run the command:

quilt edit dir/file

This command does some bookkeeping; for example it saves the original version of the file. Then it invokes your editor (from the EDITOR environment variable) on the respective file. Subsequently it adds some more information so that the changes later end up in your patch.

You can run the command quilt edit on several files at once:

quilt edit dir1/file1 dir2/file2

You can also run quilt edit multiple times on the same file, reverting and amending previous changes. Only the differences between the original version and the end version are recorded in the patch. The first time you run this command the original file is saved. Each time you leave the editor, the current state of the file is compared to this copy and the patch is created from the differences. If you, for example, make thousands of changes, which, in effect, only change one line, then the patch will contain only the changes to this single line.

When you build a patch, you should follow these rules:

  1. Make sure you include all required changes in one patch. Do not combine multiple fixes in one patch.

  2. Create multiple patches, if required.

This will make it easier to remove a single patch later, for example if the changes are accepted upstream.

5.2.3 Including the Patch

When you have finished the modifications of the sources, run the command quilt refresh to make sure that the patch is stored in the same directory as all other patches.

Then change to the checkout directory by typing cd .. and prepare for the inclusion of the patch. Build Service

Now make your patch known to the build service with the command osc ar.

You can also use the command osc add <patchname> but the former one helps you to remove files no longer needed. Spec File

Next, add the patch to the spec file. Add at least two lines:

Patch<n>: <patchname>


%patch<n> -p1

The first line belongs to the header section, usually right after any Source<n>: lines. Above the Patch< n>: line you should also add a comment line describing what the patch tries to accomplish. Make sure to align the patch name with any other columns above, for example the Source<n>: lines.

The second line goes into the %prep section, again appended to the end of any list of existing %patch<n> lines. Don't forget that the command quilt edit creates a patch with a patch level of -p1.

Note: Adding Lines to Spec File

Whenever you add these two lines, keep to the given style, aligning columns and appending lines to already existing sets of lines of the same type. Also, do not fill holes in the patch numbers: your patches number is the number of the last patch plus one. If your patch is the first one, then it is named Patch1. Changes

Another important file is the changes file. The naming convention usually is <package>.changes. This file is maintained through the command osc vc.

This command opens an editor on the given changes file. As there is not much space to fill in your changes, try to limit the number of items you want to include here. This is especially difficult if you update a package where a lot of changes were made upstream. In this case, mention only the most important changes and refer to the respective change log on the Web.

In the change file, you must mention the following information:

  • A BUGZILLA reference if a bug was fixed with this patch. To help others find the bug, prepend the number with a shorthand for bugzilla: bsc (, bnc (, boo ( followed by a hash sign (for example bsc#1234567)

  • A FATE reference if you add a feature. Like the BUGZILLA references, this consists of the word fate followed by a hash, followed by the FATE number (for example fate#123456).

  • The patch name

  • The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) ID if the patch closes a security issue (for example CVE-1234-5678).

For more information about how to create a changes file, refer to the openSUSE Wep page at

If you have more than one BUGZILLA or FATE reference, because the bug was reported or the feature was requested for more than one release, you must add all references. To avoid the rejection of your patch, make sure that you include the requested information in the changes file.

5.2.4 Commit

Important: Embargoed Bugs

Occasionally you will be asked to fix a bug that is EMBARGOED. These bugs usually concern security violations (CVEs). This means no information has been released yet about this bug. Never commit anything to OBS while bugs are still embargoed.

If your local machine runs one of the architectures the package will need to be built for, you can build it locally with the command osc build.

This command creates a build environment on your local machine, installs tools and packages required to build the package and actually builds it. You can use this command also to keep all the information local. After the package is built, you can immediately get it and test it locally.

At this stage, you have:

  1. added your patch(es) to the spec file (<some editor> *.spec)

  2. added an entry to the changes file (with the command osc vc)

  3. made your patches known to osc (with the command osc ar)

To send the changed files to the build server and build the package, run the command osc commit without further arguments. This command:

  1. starts an editor to allow you to add a message; even if you have already added information to the changes, an additional commit message is helpful

  2. synchronizes the files on the build server with the local files by:

    1. adding or removing files according to the command osc arand

    2. transferring modified files

  3. triggers one or more builds for various architectures and/or releases

6 Build the Package

When you use the command osc commit to submit your changes, the build service starts to build the package for various projects and architectures. Depending upon the load, this may take a while. You can check the progress by running the command osc r.

The output shows three columns containing:

  1. the project (for example openSUSE_Leap_42.2 or openSUSE_Factory)

  2. the architecture (for example x86_64 or ppc64)

  3. the status (for example scheduled, building, succeeded, or failed)

If the status includes an asterisk (for example succeeded*), this means the status is outdated. You should always double check if a status is outdated. If you are in doubt, use the command osc buildlog or osc bl to check the status. If the status is building, succeeded, or failed, look at the build log using the osc bl <PRJ> <ARCH> subcommand for further information (<PRJ> is the project and <ARCH> is the machine architecture).

In the early stages of the build process, the osc r command does not return any output. In such cases repeat the command. If osc r consistently includes an asterisk, run the osc bl command to verify if the status is really outdated.

Note: Dates and Times

Dates and times in the build log output are displayed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

The build log is also very useful if a build has failed: the output contains information about what caused the failure. Use this information to fix the cause and re-commit.

7 Test

When the package has been built (you can find the list of packages built at the end of the build log output), you should test your changes. Depending on the kind of package you have been working on, you can

  • use a physical machine from the Orthos pool or

  • set up a virtual machine

You obtain the packages using the command

osc getbinaries <PRJ> <ARCH>

If you also want to get the source RPM, add the option --sources.

The files are saved in the directory binaries in the current directory. Use the option -d DIR/--destdir=DIR to specify a different destination. The command displays a list of fetched files.

8 Submit

After you have tested the package successfully, you usually want to release it. This task is called submit.

If you haven’t done so already, add a comment to the changelog with the command osc vc

To submit the package, type osc sr. This command requires no further arguments as the changes are submitted to where the package was checked out from beforehand. Also, if you submit to your branch, a request is sent to the maintainer or to the bugowner of the package to include the changes into the repository where you branched from. If you are the maintainer or bugowner and had checked out from the devel repo, this command updates the devel repo. If you branched via the command osc mbranch and you submit now to one of the branches, the command osc sr will detect this and will request to open a NEW maintenance incident instead. If you submitted from an mbranch or to your personal branch, your work is done: others will follow up and finish the work.

If you submitted to the devel repo, to fulfill the Factory first policy, you should then submit the changes to Factory/> with the command

osc sr <PRJ>/<PKG> openSUSE:Factory

This will not immediately submit the package to Factory, but it will be marked for submission. When the package is accepted in the devel repo, it will automatically be submitted to Factory, where it again needs to be accepted.

All requests can be inspected at

After a certain period of time your new package will be accepted.

9 Propagate a patch

Sometimes you need to patch a package in more than one repository.

A useful technique to do so is to start at one end of the sequence of releases. This could be the oldest or the newest release, for example the version in the devel repo. Now work your way down to the other end, to the newest or the oldest release. At the start end, you build the patch and test it. Then you change to the next (newer or older) package instance and use the patch from the previous step as the basis (use patch –-dry-run, quilt import, quilt push). In theory this approach assumes that, at each step, the package will not have changed much so the patch from the previous step can be applied, albeit with some correction. Sometimes this does not work; then you need to re-write the patch from scratch. But usually this method works, saves some time and prevents errors.

10 Conclusion

In summary, the tasks you usually perform to modify a package and submit a patch are the following:

  1. osc bco <PRJ> <PKG>

  2. cd home:<username>:branches:…

  3. quilt setup *.spec

  4. cd <sources>

  5. quilt push -a

  6. write your patch/modify the package

  7. quilt refresh

  8. cd ..

  9. osc ar (Don't forget this step!)

  10. EDITOR *.spec (add the patch)

  11. osc vc (add description)

  12. osc commit

  13. osc r

  14. osc bl <REPOSITORY> <PKG>

  15. osc submit

After having followed all the steps above, you have submitted your first patch. If you have learned new things, don’t hesitate to share your knowledge with others. If you stumbled across a problem not covered in this paper, or if you found another solution that saves some work, don’t hesitate to send your feedback to <> and help enhance this document.

11 Legal Notice

Copyright ©2006– 2017 SUSE LLC and contributors. All rights reserved.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or (at your option) version 1.3; with the Invariant Section being this copyright notice and license. A copy of the license version 1.2 is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.

SUSE, the SUSE logo and YaST are registered trademarks of SUSE LLC in the United States and other countries. For SUSE trademarks, see Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other names or trademarks mentioned in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

This article is part of a series of documents called "SUSE Best Practices". The individual documents in the series were contributed voluntarily by SUSE's employees and by third parties.

The articles are intended only to be one example of how a particular action could be taken. They should not be understood to be the only action and certainly not to be the action recommended by SUSE. Also, SUSE cannot verify either that the actions described in the articles do what they claim to do or that they don't have unintended consequences.

Therefore, we need to specifically state that neither SUSE LLC, its affiliates, the authors, nor the translators may be held liable for possible errors or the consequences thereof. Below we draw your attention to the license under which the articles are published.

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