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Sending Your First Patch


This tutorial assumes that you already have basic git experience.

Before beginning, you’ll need to have a local git checkout of the Spectrum source tree. You’ll also need to have configured git send-email — a guide for this can be found at

Making your changes

If you’ve worked on any git repository before, the process for making your changes will probably be very familiar.

  1. Create a branch for your changes:

    git checkout -b fix-docs # for example
  2. Make changes in your editor.

  3. Stage and commit your changes:

    git add Documentation/first-patch.adoc # for example
    git commit -s
    The -s option adds a Signed-off-by line to the commit. This indicates your acceptance of the Developer’s Certificate of Origin, which is mandatory for Spectrum patches.

Submitting changes

Once you’re happy with how the commits on your branch look, run:

git send-email --to --confirm=always origin/main

For each message, you will be prompted for confirmation, and then the change will be submitted to the Spectrum development mailing list. They will appear shortly on the web interface.

If you’re submitting multiple changes, and you’d like to provide an overall description for the whole series, you can add the --compose option, which will prompt you to compose a "cover letter" message that will be sent before all of your patches.


Once your patch has been submitted, wait for it to be reviewed. Feedback, if any, will be sent as email replies to your submitted patch. You can respond to feedback in your mail client. Please use the Reply All button to ensure that your messages are sent to the mailing list as well as to the person who sent the feedback.

If you need to make changes to your patch, and submit a new version, use git rebase to create a new version of your patch(es), and submit it like this:

git send-email -v2 --to --confirm=always origin/main

The added -v2 flag indicates that this is version two of your patch set. If your patches require more rounds of changes, submit subsequent rounds with -v3, -v4, etc. as appropriate.

If you’d like to describe what has changed from the previous version of your patches, you can do so in a cover letter as described above.


Once your patch has been accepted, it will be applied to the upstream Spectrum git repository. You will receive an automated email confirmation when this happens.


If you have any questions about the patch submission process, you can ask them either on the development mailing list, or in the IRC/Matrix channel.