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15.1 Options to patch

Here is a summary of all of the options that GNU patch accepts. See patch and Tradition, for which of these options are safe to use in older versions of patch.

Multiple single-letter options that do not take an argument can be combined into a single command line argument with only one dash.

-b
--backup

Back up the original contents of each file, even if backups would normally not be made. See Backups.

-B prefix
--prefix=prefix

Prepend prefix to backup file names. See Backup Names.

--backup-if-mismatch

Back up the original contents of each file if the patch does not exactly match the file. This is the default behavior when not conforming to POSIX. See Backups.

--binary

Read and write all files in binary mode, except for standard output and /dev/tty. This option has no effect on POSIX-conforming systems like GNU/Linux. On systems where this option makes a difference, the patch should be generated by ‘diff -a --binary’. See Binary.

-c
--context

Interpret the patch file as a context diff. See patch Input.

-d directory
--directory=directory

Make directory directory the current directory for interpreting both file names in the patch file, and file names given as arguments to other options. See patch Directories.

-D name
--ifdef=name

Make merged if-then-else output using name. See If-then-else.

--dry-run

Print the results of applying the patches without actually changing any files. See Dry Runs.

-e
--ed

Interpret the patch file as an ed script. See patch Input.

-E
--remove-empty-files

Remove output files that are empty after the patches have been applied. See Creating and Removing.

-f
--force

Assume that the user knows exactly what he or she is doing, and do not ask any questions. See patch Messages.

-F lines
--fuzz=lines

Set the maximum fuzz factor to lines. See Inexact.

-g num
--get=num

If num is positive, get input files from a revision control system as necessary; if zero, do not get the files; if negative, ask the user whether to get the files. See Revision Control.

--help

Output a summary of usage and then exit.

-i patchfile
--input=patchfile

Read the patch from patchfile rather than from standard input. See patch Options.

-l
--ignore-white-space

Let any sequence of blanks (spaces or tabs) in the patch file match any sequence of blanks in the input file. See Changed White Space.

-n
--normal

Interpret the patch file as a normal diff. See patch Input.

-N
--forward

Ignore patches that patch thinks are reversed or already applied. See also -R. See Reversed Patches.

--no-backup-if-mismatch

Do not back up the original contents of files. This is the default behavior when conforming to POSIX. See Backups.

-o file
--output=file

Use file as the output file name. See patch Options.

-pnumber
--strip=number

Set the file name strip count to number. See patch Directories.

--posix

Conform to POSIX, as if the POSIXLY_CORRECT environment variable had been set. See patch and POSIX.

--quoting-style=word

Use style word to quote names in diagnostics, as if the QUOTING_STYLE environment variable had been set to word. See patch Quoting Style.

-r reject-file
--reject-file=reject-file

Use reject-file as the reject file name. See Reject Names.

-R
--reverse

Assume that this patch was created with the old and new files swapped. See Reversed Patches.

-s
--quiet
--silent

Work silently unless an error occurs. See patch Messages.

-t
--batch

Do not ask any questions. See patch Messages.

-T
--set-time

Set the modification and access times of patched files from time stamps given in context diff headers, assuming that the context diff headers use local time. See Patching Time Stamps.

-u
--unified

Interpret the patch file as a unified diff. See patch Input.

-v
--version

Output version information and then exit.

-V backup-style
--version=control=backup-style

Select the naming convention for backup file names. See Backup Names.

--verbose

Print more diagnostics than usual. See patch Messages.

-x number
--debug=number

Set internal debugging flags. Of interest only to patch patchers.

-Y prefix
--basename-prefix=prefix

Prepend prefix to base names of backup files. See Backup Names.

-z suffix
--suffix=suffix

Use suffix as the backup extension instead of ‘.orig’ or ‘~’. See Backup Names.

-Z
--set-utc

Set the modification and access times of patched files from time stamps given in context diff headers, assuming that the context diff headers use UTC. See Patching Time Stamps.


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