If you would like to write bug fixes or improvements for GNU Emacs, that is very helpful. When you send your changes, please follow these guidelines to make it easy for the maintainers to use them. If you don’t follow these guidelines, your information might still be useful, but using it will take extra work. Maintaining GNU Emacs is a lot of work in the best of circumstances, and we can’t keep up unless you do your best to help.
Every patch must have several pieces of information before we can properly evaluate it. They are described below.
When you have all these pieces, use the M-x submit-emacs-patch command to send the patch. The command will prompt you for the Subject of the patch and a patch file. It will then create and display a Message mode buffer with the patch file as an attachment, display the buffer, and let you explain more about the patch and add any other information as requested below. When you are done, type C-c C-c to send the patch via email to the developers. It will be sent to the GNU Bug Tracker at https://debbugs.gnu.org. The tracker will assign a number to your submission, just like it does with bug reports. The developers will usually respond, perhaps asking you for more details or any additional information, so be sure to include a valid reply email address.
Here’s what we ask you to provide as part of your patch submissions:
If you make two changes for separate reasons, then we might not want to install them both. We might want to install just one, or install each one in a different versions of Emacs. If you send them all jumbled together in a single set of diffs, we have to do extra work to disentangle them—to figure out which parts of the change serve which purpose. If we don’t have time for this, we might have to postpone inclusion of your patches for a long time.
If you send each change as soon as you have written it, with its own explanation, then two changes never get tangled up, and we can consider each one properly without any extra work to disentangle them.
Since you should send each change separately, you might as well send it right away. That gives us the option of installing it immediately if it is important.
git pull). You can commit your changes to a private branch and generate a patch from the master version by using
git format-patch master. (This is the preferred method, as it makes our job of applying the patch easier.) Or you can leave your changes uncommitted and use
git diff, as described below.
When producing the diffs, avoid any ambiguity as to which is the old version and which is the new. Please make the old version the first argument to diff, and the new version the second argument. And please give one version or the other a name that indicates whether it is the old version or your new changed one.
The purpose of the commit log is to explain the rationale of the changes, the way the modified code solves whatever problems your patch is trying to fix, and also show people where to find what was changed. So you need to be specific about what functions you changed and why. For the details about our style and requirements for good commit log messages, please see the “Commit messages” section of the file CONTRIBUTE in the Emacs source tree.
Please also look at the commit log entries of recent commits to see what sorts of information to put in, and to learn the style that we use. Note that, unlike some other projects, we do require commit logs for documentation, i.e., Texinfo files. See Change Logs, see https://www.gnu.org/prep/standards/html_node/Change-Log-Concepts.html, See Change Log Concepts in GNU Coding Standards.
Sometimes people send fixes that might be an improvement in general—but it is hard to be sure of this. It’s hard to install such changes because we have to study them very carefully. Of course, a good explanation of the reasoning by which you concluded the change was correct can help convince us.
The safest changes are changes to the files or portions of files that are only used for a particular machine or a particular system. These are safe because they can’t create new bugs on other machines or systems.
Please help us keep up with the workload by designing the patch in a form that is clearly safe to install.