How it works In this chapter, we'll try to explain how autoepatch works, and how to extend it to patch and fix new problems. Specifically, this chapter is intended to make maintaining autoepatch much simpler, especially for newcomers, who shouldn't have to read all the code to understand how it works. Requirements Being a package that is going to be in the system set, and used by every user as a Portage component, autoepatch needs to have the minimum impact over the dependencies of that set. For this reason, the script is written in bash. As the targets for Gentoo software are less wide than the general GNU or Open Source targets, there's no need to use a portable subset of sh (as we already consider bash present), and it can depend on a few GNU tools, or at least tools that can support an acceptable subset of GNU parameters. There are basically two Gentoo-specific dependencies that are needed for autoepatch: the first is baselayout, as autoepatch loads /sbin/ to get functions like ebegin and eend; the other is Portage, as autoepatch uses the portageq command, and allows the patchsets to use it. First of all, as most of the patchsets are expected to be actual patch files, the patch(1) command is supposed to be the GNU patch. While FreeBSD uses Larry Wall's patch(1) command that supports most of the options that GNU patch supports, there are some tricky behaviours on fuzzyness of patches. If patch(1) is not a GNU-compatible implementation, you can provide a GNU patch command named gpatch that will be prioritised over the normal patch(1). Another command on which behaviour the script relies more than just a bit is find(1). Considering the frequency of execution of the script itself, and thus of the targeting logic, the script tries to reduce as much as possible the processes spawned, so instead of using the xargs(1) command to transform the find(1) output to input arguments to other commands, autoepatch relies on find(1) to support the -exec cmd {} + syntax. Fortunately, FreeBSD, Darwin and NetBSD find(1) implementations support the GNU findutils syntax. OpenBSD on the other hand does not, so to allow autoepatch to work on that operating system, a special handling for the find command was written: by replacing the string @findcmd@ with the path, or the name, of a compatible find implementation (most likely GNU find), you can tell autoepatch to run an alternative command. As there is often the need to get a temporary file, either for log or debugging purposes, or to store intermediate results, the mktemp utility is also required. Unfortunately, the mktemp utility found on most Linux implementations (Gentoo Linux included) comes from debianutils package, and has a syntax incompatible with the original BSD mktemp utility. As the autoepatch script does not get the USERLAND variable from Portage (and tries to be entirely transparent), the choice between the two implementations is done at runtime by checking the outcome of calling mktemp -V. On Debian implementation, this reports the version of the command itself, while it simply fails on BSD implementation. The emktemp wrapper is picked up from eutils.eclass. Concepts Autoepatch is, basically, a simple set of scripts. The definitions that will be given here are not even proper "concepts," but this section is intended to clear up the terminology used, to prevent any misunderstanding in the next sections and chapters. patchset This is a set of scripts and actual patches, and is the base element handled by autoepatch itself. Despite the name, it's possible that a "patchset" has no actual ".patch" file, and instead consists of a single shell script that describes the changes to will be applied to the targets. The patchsets can be found in the repository inside the patches/ directory, or for the installed copy in /usr/share/autoepatch/patches. For alternative prefixes support, see . target This is a file or a directory on which the patchset applies. When the target is a directory, and the patchset contains actual patches, the paths inside the patches should refer to the direct name of the files starting from the target directory (-p0 option to gpatch). When the target is a file, the patch will apply directly over the file. When instead the patchset consist of a function (or a series of functions), the target is passed as parameter, whichever the type it is. For more informations about target, look at . Whitespaces handling and safety While there are currently some limitations in ebuilds and in Portage code that disallow using paths with spaces for important directories like the merge root, the temporary directory and the portage tree directory, autoepatch was supposed not to break even if all of them had all kind of special characters. Unfortunately this is not always possible, because of limitations in the tools and the language used. The biggest limitation is provided by bash itself: variables cannot contain the NULL character, which means that the targets cannot be passed with the output of find -print0 or grep -Z, so the targets have to be separated by the \n sequence (new line). To try minimising the possibility of problems during piping throught different commands (find, grep and so on), it is suggested to use the option find $dir -exec cmd {} + rather than using -print and xargs (this also avoids one process spawn), and if you need to pass the result of grep -l, also add the --null parameter. For reasons far from our understanding, FreeBSD people decided to use the -Z option to GNU grep to support running grep over gzip-compressed files. For compatibility and portability, rather than using the -Z option, you should use the --null option in autoepatch patchsets, which would behave consistently on both Linux and non-Linux systems. Alternative prefixes support At the time of writing, Portage does not officially support a way to install packages on an alternate prefix (such as /usr/local). However, autoepatch has been designed from the beginning to support being installed in an arbitrary prefix. To install autoepatch on a different prefix, you should just replace the string @PREFIX@ with the prefix the package is installed in the file