I have a question about maintaining a external software package with custom patches. Similar questions have been asked before, but mine is a bit more specific since it focuses on maintaining packages for unprivileged installation (i.e. in a user's home directory).

While I've been researching this I have come across some information which I may eventually want to record as an answer to the aforementioned question. However, it has been labeled as "opinion-based" so I won't be able to do this. I wonder if there is a SE site that I can have it migrated to where it won't get this label, or if indeed the label is valid here. Thanks.

  • Can you provide references to the labeled "opinion-based" material so we can get a better idea of what it is?
    – slm Mod
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 3:57
  • You mean the link at the top? Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 6:11
  • I took this stmt: "...researching this I have come across some information which I may eventually want to record as an answer to the aforementioned question..." to mean there was additional src materials beyond your other U&L Q.
    – slm Mod
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 14:36
  • Oh, huh. Maybe that sounded too mysterious. It's mostly that I realized Git is much better for me than Quilt; I tried git-series but I couldn't tell what it was doing behind the scenes; potentially same complaint about Guilt. Basically git am and git format-patch are my friends now. Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 21:26

3 Answers 3


I can’t answer for the users who voted to close that question; however I think at least part of the problem comes from the way you’ve framed the question, which doesn’t quite match what you’re saying here. A question about “how to maintain a package with separate patches?” would be fine from my point of view; while it wouldn’t necessarily receive an obviously-best answer, it could well receive a few answers showing various approaches to the problem.

But you framed the question as looking for “the accepted way”. I think that is opinion-based, or rather that there is no accepted way and whichever way is best would be opinion-based.

Basically, if you change the title of your question to match what you’re saying here, and drop the “or agreed upon” part from

I wanted to see what others have done or agreed upon

I would consider the question to be a valid candidate for re-opening.

  • I can see your point. I'm a bit confused because I think I added those phrases to make it less "opinion-based". But I made the changes you suggested, and also tried to shorten it a bit (I think I'm chronically verbose). Thank you for your attention. Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 13:01

The reason I VTC'd is because there is no one way. There's no accepted way. There's not even (IMHO) any universal good way... there's just things that are trade offs.

There's not even an accepted way of dealing with OS level packages (see the old flame wars between dpkg/apt and rpm/yum... let alone the old SysV way of pkg files, and let's not forget AIX and HPUX). Add in different community solutions (pip, npm, golang, CPAN, etc) and there's even more diversity in how packages should be managed.

In the past 30 years I've probably written 5 different solutions, that were custom and unique to the corporate requirements and constraints I had to live under (e.g. signoff, promotion, validation).

If you hadn't put in the opinion based questions then I'd have likely VTC'd "too broad" just because the answer is a 100 page book.


Your question is on-topic here, and this is the most appropriate site for it. The problem with it is that there isn't enough information to answer.

Most distributions' packages are not meant for unprivileged installation. Why do you want to use a distribution package rather than compile the upstream source, if you aren't going to do a system-wide installation?

Although your question isn't exactly a software recommendation, I strongly recommend reading the question quality guidelines for Software Recommendations Stack Exchange (disclaimer: I wrote that). Your question has some requirements related to using system-level package management tools, and a sort of user story about managing packages for unprivileged installation, but that user story doesn't match the requirements. This discrepancy makes it hard to figure out what you really want to do.

The question is unclear as it is, and I voted to close as such. As it stands now, any answer would have to focus on one part of the question and would be highly likely to contradict some other part. But you can salvage the question! You just need to explain more clearly what you want to do, why you've made the choices you've made so far, and whether those choices are definitive or not (there may be an xy problem here).

  • No offense, but maybe it was just too long for you to want to read it carefully? For example I don't know where you get "Why do you want to use a distribution package rather than compile the upstream source, if you aren't going to do a system-wide installation?" Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 2:10
  • I have read your question. I had to read it several times to try to figure out what you're trying to do, and it's still not clear to me (which is why I think there's an XY problem. You should really edit your question, add a paragraph or two about your overall goal and why you're doing what you've done so far. Then take a break, clear your mind and try to read your question from a fresh perspective: does it make sense on its own? Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 8:11
  • Thanks for the advice. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 16:19

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