10.6 Multiple Patches in a File
If the patch file contains more than one patch, and if you do not
specify an input file on the command line, patch tries to
apply each patch as if they came from separate patch files. This
means that it determines the name of the file to patch for each patch,
and that it examines the leading text before each patch for file names
and prerequisite revision level (see Making Patches, for more on
patch uses the following rules to intuit a file name from
the leading text before a patch. First, patch takes an
ordered list of candidate file names as follows:
- If the header is that of a context diff, patch takes the old
and new file names in the header. A name is ignored if it does not
have enough slashes to satisfy the -pnum or
--strip=num option. The name /dev/null is also
- If there is an ‘Index:’ line in the leading garbage and if either
the old and new names are both absent or if patch is
conforming to POSIX, patch takes the name in the
- For the purpose of the following rules, the candidate file names are
considered to be in the order (old, new, index), regardless of the
order that they appear in the header.
Then patch selects a file name from the candidate list as
- If some of the named files exist, patch selects the first
name if conforming to POSIX, and the best name otherwise.
- If patch is not ignoring RCS, ClearCase, and SCCS
(see Revision Control), and no named files exist but an RCS,
ClearCase, or SCCS master is found, patch selects the
first named file with an RCS, ClearCase, or SCCS master.
- If no named files exist, no RCS, ClearCase, or SCCS master
was found, some names are given, patch is not conforming to
POSIX, and the patch appears to create a file, patch
selects the best name requiring the creation of the fewest
- If no file name results from the above heuristics, you are asked for
the name of the file to patch, and patch selects that name.
To determine the best of a nonempty list of file names,
patch first takes all the names with the fewest path name
components; of those, it then takes all the names with the shortest
basename; of those, it then takes all the shortest names; finally, it
takes the first remaining name.
See patch and POSIX, to see whether patch is conforming