This page documents the current status of Rebase. The design page has a general design discussion.

What is rebase?

Conceptually, rebase is a sophisticated version of the “diff and patch” approach that people are sometimes driven to when they need to make changes to patches which are depended on by other patches in a darcs repository. With rebase, patches can be held in a “suspended” state for a period of time. Crucially, rebase is built on the darcs patch handling code and it can use this to avoid any of the fuzziness associated with applying diffs to a changed tree - it keeps track of how the tree has changed. It also means that patches that can’t be expressed naturally as diffs (e.g. file move, token replace) do not lose information.

Where do I get it?

rebase is available in darcs 2.10

What’s the current status

It’s been released, but it’s still a bit raw, needs better documentation and there are various outstanding features to write.

What can I do with it?

Rebase is primarily intended for two scenarios, though it may well find other uses over time.

  1. “Deep” amend-record, where the patch to be amended other patches depending on it.

  2. Doing a merge without conflicts, by editing the conflicts out of the patches in one branch of the merge. This is important for long running branches where conflicts can get out of hand over time.

As with amend-record, changing a patch with rebase means that its identity changes. This also applies to all dependencies of the patch.

How do I use it?

To suspend a patch from the repository, use

darcs rebase suspend

If the patch has other patches depending on it, these must be suspended too. The normal rules of interactive selection and dependencies apply here.

To restore a suspended patch, use

darcs rebase unsuspend

When a patch is unsuspended, it is given a new identity. This means that once a patch has been suspended, you are committed to changing its identity.

To pull patches from a remote repository, suspending any local patches that will then be in conflict, use

darcs rebase pull

There is an obvious asymmetry to this command in that we cannot choose to suspend the remote patches instead. This is mainly because suspending the local patches is easiest to implement.


Deep amend-record

darcs rebase suspend –patch ‘patchname’

[answer ‘y’ to all patches] or

darcs rebase suspend

[answer ‘w’ to all patches until you get to the one you want, then ‘y’, then ‘d’]

darcs rebase unsuspend

[select the first patch, which will be the one you want to amend-record]

darcs amend-record

[edit the patch as required]

For each remaining suspended patch,

darcs rebase unsuspend

There may be conflicts caused by the amendment. In this case, resolve the conflicts and use darcs amend-record to update the newly unsuspended patch.

Merge from upstream

darcs rebase pull upstream
[select the patches to pull, then answer ‘y’ to each patch that is offered for suspending]

as with deep amend-record, iterate ‘darcs rebase unsuspend’ along with conflict resolution where necessary until done.

Re-rebase some work

TODO: either clarify or kill

Scenario: X works on a branch, you rebase it, X continues working on that branch

  • get X-branch-2
  • suspend all X-branch-2 patches
  • pull X-branch-1 (the nice rebased patches)
  • rebase obliterate the X-branch-2 patches

Regrouping patches aiming for clean results

TODO: either clarify or kill

Scenario: patch has lots of pieces that you’d like to redistribute over previous patches, but you’re not entirely clear on which pieces go where, so you need a bit of trial and error (compiling) to figure out where.

Basic idea: maintain a WIP patch that you suspend/unsuspend/unrecord/re-record as you go. If you have a bit of patch that you know you want to add to an existing prior patch, suspend stuff on top, amend the patch you want.


Currently any explicit dependencies will be dropped (and you will be warned) when unsuspending a patch.

The suspended patches are stored in a special patch in the repository. As the patch description warns you, do not operate on this patch directly or bad things will happen.


Handle explicit dependencies properly.

add ‘darcs amend-record –suspend’ or similar to simplify the deep amend-record workflow

allow force-reordering of dependent suspended patches

Lots more!


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