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15.1 Options to patch

Here is a summary of all of the options that GNU patch accepts. See section GNU patch and Traditional patch, 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 section Backup Files.

-B prefix
--prefix=prefix

Prepend prefix to backup file names. See section Backup File 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 section Backup Files.

--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 section Binary Files and Forcing Text Comparisons.

-c
--context

Interpret the patch file as a context diff. See section Selecting the patch Input Format.

-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 section Applying Patches in Other Directories.

-D name
--ifdef=name

Make merged if-then-else output using name. See section Merging Files with If-then-else.

--dry-run

Print the results of applying the patches without actually changing any files. See section Predicting what patch will do.

-e
--ed

Interpret the patch file as an ed script. See section Selecting the patch Input Format.

-E
--remove-empty-files

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

-f
--force

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

-F lines
--fuzz=lines

Set the maximum fuzz factor to lines. See section Helping patch Find Inexact Matches.

-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 section 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 section Options to patch.

-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 section Applying Patches with Changed White Space.

-n
--normal

Interpret the patch file as a normal diff. See section Selecting the patch Input Format.

-N
--forward

Ignore patches that patch thinks are reversed or already applied. See also ‘-R’. See section Applying 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 section Backup Files.

-o file
--output=file

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

-pnumber
--strip=number

Set the file name strip count to number. See section Applying Patches in Other Directories.

--posix

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

--quoting-style=word

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

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

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

-R
--reverse

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

-s
--quiet
--silent

Work silently unless an error occurs. See section Messages and Questions from patch.

-t
--batch

Do not ask any questions. See section Messages and Questions from patch.

-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 section Updating Time Stamps on Patched Files.

-u
--unified

Interpret the patch file as a unified diff. See section Selecting the patch Input Format.

-v
--version

Output version information and then exit.

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

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

--verbose

Print more diagnostics than usual. See section Messages and Questions from patch.

-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 section Backup File Names.

-z suffix
--suffix=suffix

Use suffix as the backup extension instead of ‘.orig’ or ‘~’. See section Backup File 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 section Updating Time Stamps on Patched Files.


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