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This directory is optional and can be used for patches - call them "user patches" - to be applied without changing the ebuild. User patches provide a way to apply patches to package source code when sources are extracted before installation. This can be useful for applying upstream patches to unresolved bugs and for the rare cases of site-specific patches.

The basic method is to just drop patches into the appropriate subdirectory of /etc/portage/patches, and they will be applied during package installation.

Ebuilds themselves cannot be patched by this method, just the package's source code, as fetched by an ebuild.


Prior to EAPI 6, user patching support was optional, so some poorly maintained ebuilds in third-party ebuild repositories still may not support it.

Adding user patches

First choose the location for the patches. Granularity can be determined by package name and the version(s) for which the patch is intended. Use the following locations and optionally append :${SLOT} to any of them:

  • /etc/portage/patches/${CATEGORY}/${P}
  • /etc/portage/patches/${CATEGORY}/${PN}
  • /etc/portage/patches/${CATEGORY}/${P}-${PR}


  • /etc/portage/patches/dev-lang/python
  • /etc/portage/patches/dev-lang/python:3.4
  • /etc/portage/patches/dev-lang/python-3.4.2
  • /etc/portage/patches/dev-lang/python-3.3.5-r0
  • /etc/portage/patches/dev-lang/python-3.3.5-r1


An example shows how to easily apply an upstream patch for CVE-2017-8934 of x11-misc/pcmanfm.

The affected version of that package is 1.2.5 and upstream provides the patch for it but has not yet released a new version.

For applying the patch from upstream, the appropriate directory needs to be created:

root #mkdir -p /etc/portage/patches/x11-misc/pcmanfm-1.2.5

Next, an arbitrarily named file with suffix .patch or .diff has to be dropped here with the content provided from upstream:

# index 8c2049a..876f7f3 100644 (file)
# --- a/NEWS
# +++ b/NEWS
# @@ -1,3 +1,7 @@
# +* Fixed potential access violation, use runtime user dir instead of tmp dir
# +    for single instance socket.
# +
# +
#  Changes on 1.2.5 since 1.2.4:
 * Removed options to Cut, Remove and Rename from context menu on mounted
diff --git a/src/single-inst.c b/src/single-inst.c
index 62c37b3..aaf84ab 100644 (file)
--- a/src/single-inst.c
+++ b/src/single-inst.c
@@ -2,7 +2,7 @@
  *      single-inst.c: simple IPC mechanism for single instance app
  *      Copyright 2010 Hong Jen Yee (PCMan) <pcman.tw@gmail.com>
- *      Copyright 2012 Andriy Grytsenko (LStranger) <andrej@rep.kiev.ua>
+ *      Copyright 2012-2017 Andriy Grytsenko (LStranger) <andrej@rep.kiev.ua>
  *      This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
  *      it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
@@ -404,11 +404,16 @@ static void get_socket_name(SingleInstData* data, char* buf, int len)
         dpynum = 0;
+#if GLIB_CHECK_VERSION(2, 28, 0)
+    g_snprintf(buf, len, "%s/%s-socket-%s-%d", g_get_user_runtime_dir(),
+               data->prog_name, host ? host : "", dpynum);
     g_snprintf(buf, len, "%s/.%s-socket-%s-%d-%s",
                 host ? host : "",

For testing, step into the package's ebuild directory and run the ebuild pcmanfm-1.2.5.ebuild clean prepare:

user $cd $(portageq get_repo_path / gentoo)/x11-misc/pcmanfm
user $ebuild pcmanfm-1.2.5.ebuild clean prepare
 * pcmanfm-1.2.5.tar.xz SHA256 SHA512 WHIRLPOOL size ;-) ...             [ ok ]
 * checking ebuild checksums ;-) ...                                     [ ok ]
 * checking auxfile checksums ;-) ...                                    [ ok ]
 * checking miscfile checksums ;-) ...                                   [ ok ]
>>> Unpacking source...
>>> Unpacking pcmanfm-1.2.5.tar.xz to /var/tmp/portage/x11-misc/pcmanfm-1.2.5/work
>>> Source unpacked in /var/tmp/portage/x11-misc/pcmanfm-1.2.5/work
>>> Preparing source in /var/tmp/portage/x11-misc/pcmanfm-1.2.5/work/pcmanfm-1.2.5 ...
 * Applying patches from /etc/portage/patches/x11-misc/pcmanfm-1.2.5 ...
 *   CVE-2017-8934.patch ...                               [ ok ]
 * User patches applied.
>>> Source prepared.

With the message "User patches applied." all is good and the package needs to be re-emerged as normally.

Once the patch gets merged to the ebuild repository, do not forget to remove it from the /etc/portage/patches directory. Otherwise next time compiling the ebuild might fail.

Using a git directory as a source of patches

Instead of creating the directory, a symlink can be created to a git directory on the system.

root #mkdir -p /etc/portage/patches/sys-libs && ln -s /home/user/projects/glibc /etc/portage/patches/sys-libs/glibc
When using userpriv as a FEATURES value in Portage (eg. in /etc/portage/make.conf), Portage drops root privileges to portage:portage which means that the folder that the symlink points to must be accessible by the user or group portage otherwise the patches will be silently ignored and not applied (file epatch_user.log contains the string none); ie. in this case, all the folders of /home/user/projects/glibc are already accessible due to o+rx permissions but in the case of root and using this path /root/projects/glibc then /root, unlike /home, is inaccessible due to u+rx permissions...

Now, in the git directory, perform the usual work. After finishing remove all patches from the previous run and use git format-patch to create a patchset from the branch based on another known branch.

user $rm -f *.patch && git format-patch origin/master

This solution relies on the fact that only files ending with .patch are processed in the patch directory.

See also

External resources