Talk:Patch (computing)

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Linux, UNIX and bears, oh my![edit]

I think that whole paragraph on the Unix patch stuff can go in a seperate article, such as [[Patch (Unix)]]. When I disam'ed all the references to patch, I ran across several references to the Unix patch and Larry Wall. Since it has so many references, I think it could get an article of its own. Just MHO... —Frecklefoot 20:32, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I disagree. Those software upadtes are called patch because of this unix tradtion. I think we can put more historical context to make more sense for readers who don't know patch as a program. -- Taku 20:58, Feb 18, 2004 (UTC)


The new version of the opening paragraph reads:

In computing, a patch is a computer program that applies textual difference between two programs and, more often, computer file or files containing such a difference, or diff files.

This sounds very Unix-centric, which this article is not (it wasn't meant to be, at least). Moreover, I think the average layperson would have a difficult time understanding it. Also, it says that a patch is a computer program, when often it is not—it is a correction to a software program. I prefer the version I had when this article was just a babe (this morning):

In computing, a patch is a software update meant to fix problems, bugs or the usability of a previous version of an application.

I think it is much clearer and easier to understand. I welcome modifications to make it even clearer, but not to obfuscate it like the current revision does. In cases like this I usually just make the changes without discussion, but in this case I wanted to avert a possible edit war. Votes? —Frecklefoot 20:32, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

No votes yet. I know it is an Unix-centric but we cannot ignore Unix. Patch is a computer program after all. [1] Let's not go to debate which version is better but shall we try to express this better for non-unix readers? -- Taku 20:55, Feb 18, 2004 (UTC)

Patch is a program on Unix, but in the rest of the computing world a "patch" is a fix to a software program. That's why I suggested the seperate article rather than mucking up one article with the two different topics. I whole-heartedly agree that we should mention the term's lineage (if that's where it came from--I wasn't aware of that). But all the Unix information should go in the seperate [[Patch (Unix)]] article. —Frecklefoot 21:05, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I don't think this is really a separte topic because patch in Unix word is still a update too that fixes problems and adds something more. Besides such a patch is quite common among computer programmers outside unix world as well. I know the two worlds are different. Average computer users should be surprised if they see a mention patch is a program because they think it is nothing more than a update. I will try to fix the intro a bit. Let me know if you see it works or not. Or if you have a better idea, it would be great. -- Taku 01:01, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)

Seperate the two and be done with it. A patch is not always administered using the Unix patch command, or in the same fashion as the Unix patch command. Patch (computing) should deal with the general idea of patching an operating system or software, and Patch (Unix) should deal with the command and it's dynamics. Dysprosia 05:11, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Basically I agree with you, Dysprosia, but I don't know if we really want to have an article Patch (Unix) with only mention as a command. After all, this article mentions the mere fact that patch is a computer program somewhere somehow and I don't know what else can we say about patch is a computer program. Well, it was written by Larry Wall but shouldn't it be more relevent to mention Larry here? In historical context, we cannot ignore his contribution. -- Taku 05:17, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)
Not just mention as a command, but mention its usage, give an example of the format, mention diffs and so forth. For example, here we can say "Patches for programs distributed by means of source code, especially in Unix and Unix-like operating systems often use a specific patch utility to integrate changes to the source. It was initially written by Larry Wall, and is used commonly today. See Patch (Unix) for more." or something... Dysprosia 05:24, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Well, then it's fine. I guess we can talk about conflicts or hunks too in Patch (Unix). My concern is it might be too detailed in wikipedia. Anyway, we will see. -- Taku 06:25, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)

Okay, I moved the Unix stuff to Patch (Unix). The initial article needs work. Now this article refers to the idea of patching as, I feel, it should. I'll go and disam references from patch to Patch (Unix) and I'll update the patch page as well to include a wikilink to Patch (Unix). —Frecklefoot 16:26, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

History too recent[edit]

Historically, patches were normally obtained from the software developer via a disk or CD-ROM via mail.

No, historically, patches were distributed on paper tape or punched cards, and the recipient was expected to cut out the indicated part of the original tape (or deck), and patch in (hence the name) the replacement segment. Then they were distributed on magnetic tape. Then, after removeable disk drives had been invented, they were distributed on magnetic disk. CD-ROM is a very recent technology in the history of computing. This article has numerous other shortcomings, but I'll wait until the discussion above settles out before trying to make sense of it all. 04:51, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Thank you, that is exactly the kind of input we love here at the 'pedia! Please feel free to make the change when you like. I plan to fix the whole Unix command thing soon (today). —Frecklefoot 15:55, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Okay, I moved the Unix stuff. Go ahead and edit away! :^) —Frecklefoot 16:36, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I merged in comments (almost word for word) into the history comment (since it didn't look like s/he was going to return). Just out of curiosity, what other shortcomings do you see? —Frecklefoot 16:35, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

In the late 60's and early 70's I used to do what we called "binary patches" to avoid re-assembly and re-loading on running production machines (we had non-volatile memory - core). It went like this: hand assemble the code fix (usually a few instructions), hand load this into a free area of core, at the end of this place a jump to the location following the location to be patched. Finally, replace the contents of the location to be patched with a jump to the patch area (an atomic operation). Now thats patching! Yes, we had a real-time console program that let us read and write memory without stopping the machine, and we actually knew where everything was in memory.

AJim 01:08, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Games are not just PC[edit]

Just note I rewored PC game to computer games because PC games sound excluding Mac games. Just case you wonder. -- Taku 16:47, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)

Noted. —Frecklefoot 17:18, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

From Wikipedia:Requests for comment[edit]

  • Talk:Patch (computing) - we have been having discussion whether the article should be devoted to a patch as a program as well as a patch as a update. The point in short is that patch as a program might not make sense to people outside unix. -- Taku 05:07, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)
    • Why not just have two articles, one on the patch-as-an-update, and one on the Unix tool? -- Timwi 14:14, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)
    • That's what we did (and what I suggested originally). We now have Patch (computing) and Patch (Unix). —Frecklefoot 20:53, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Executable patching vs. Source code patching[edit]

For clarity's sake, I broke the article up into two sections, one for binary or "executable" patching (the most common meaning) and source code patching. Intermingling the two uses of the word was just obfuscating both meanings. It could still use some work, of course, but I think this is a big step in the right direction. Comments? —Frecklefoot 17:18, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Having a little structure cannot hurt! As you see, I have expanded existing portions and added a lot more, and it is still rough because I am not sure the portaion I added might be too much or irrelevant. Also I was thinking that the article might be better named software update or patching because we are interested in pathces and applying them rather than the anatomy of patch file per se. What do you say? -- Taku 22:06, Feb 20, 2004 (UTC)

I don't know how to put this without sounding cruel, but I hate the rewrite. It is unclear and unfocussed. As an exmple, the second sentence doesn't make any sense now. Your rewrite has obfuscated the meaning of the term. It's clear that English isn't your native tongue and the rewrite shows it. I don't mind rewriting to clarify poor grammar or spelling, but the new version is a mess not worth rewriting. This is all MHO, but I really can't make heads or tails of your rewrite—and I have a technical background.

I thought that my previous version was clearer and that the format made sense (two sections, one for each sense of "Patch"). The language and grammar were clear and not overboard for a non-gurus. Now, not only is it loaded with technobabble, it doesn't even make sense.

I'm opposed to changing the name of the article to software update or patching:
Software update: The term "patch" is in common use and people will continue to use it in artcles in the pedia. If we move it, people will still link to "Patch."
Patching: a gerund is a poor choice for the title of an article. Most get changed when Wikipedians find them. Discussing patching in the article makes sense since it is directly related to the term "patch" being discussed.

Despite how I feel about the rewrite, I won't touch the article for now. Since it was my version you replaced, I am clearly biased. I really don't mind people making to changes to article's I've heavily contributed to—in fact I appreciate it. Changes usually improve articles. Your rewrite didn't. Waiting for input from others... —Frecklefoot 22:29, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I feel bad that you find my new version unclear and unfocused. As I said, the writing is rough because I want to give some idea first to see if you can agree. If your trouble with the grammatical or spelling error, I have no problem with it; we can work on it. It takes some time, at least for my case, to make setences clear. -- Taku 03:19, Feb 21, 2004 (UTC)

Well, it seems like the two of us are the only ones who care about this article. :-O Since you admit your revision is "rough," I've moved your version to Patch (computing)/Temp. We can work on it there until we can all agree that it is better than the current version. I've reverted the article to my previous version for all the reasons I stated above. Once again, I don't think it's perfect, but I think it's clearer than the "rough" version you posted. Hopefully, we can get feedback from other users than just us two. :-) I guess any discussion on it should go on its Talk page. Anyway, peace... —Frecklefoot 16:23, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I was thinking the conflict we have is due to that you prefer crisp, complete article while I would work on filling missing topics, if it makes the article looks in a status of work-in-progress and undermines the integrity of discussion. Basically, I am dissatisfied with this current version because it is a little bit more than a dictionary entry. I really think the article should mentios more about automation of appling patches, pathces in fields other than games, patches modifing game rules and many more. I think the article should be more specific about what a patch is. Is it file, computer program, an instruction or what, even it requires some technical jagons? We don't want to have a summary but complete description, stories. Of course, you would argue that I didn't succeed this mission. Then I would love to see more inputs.
In analogy, it is like you prefer stable version 1.0 while I want to go to version 2.0 if it is still in beta release. Maybe I went too far way. What do you think?
-- Taku 17:10, Feb 23, 2004 (UTC)

I'm all for including more detail, but your revision was, IMO, too rough to replace the previous version of the article. Thus, I moved your version to where it could be worked on without hiding the tidier version of the article. Some things in your version are just unaccessible to the average reader (technical or not). For example, I have a difficult time trying to understand this paragraph:

Patches can be published and applied with various forms. Because in proprietary software, source code is kept in secret, a binary form of patches is a norm. Patches are usually mere textual difference between two source code in cases source code is open and the users are expected to compile them themselves--notable to open source projects.

This paragraph has some good ideas, but needs to be re-written to something like this:

Patches can be published and applied in various forms. The two types of patching are binary or executable patching and source code patching.
Source code for proprietary software is generally kept confidential. Also, most users don't have the requisate tools or experience to compile source code into a working application. Therefore, many patches modify or replace the program's executable to apply the fixes.
Source code patches often consist of mere textual differences between two text files. In these cases, users are expected to produce the new versions themselves: replacing the old source files with the new and compiling the new version. Open source projects are notable for these types of patches.

Or something similar. My suggested rewrite could include even more explanation (and wikilinks) to make it even more accessible. Of course this is all MHO. I just don't feel that the main article is the right place to work on such a rough version of the article.

How about this? We come up with an outline for a new version and work from there—merging in material from both versions as we go. Once we are done, we can replace the current version of the article with a crisp, new, more informative article. Then that one can be mercilessly edited by our fellow Wikipedians. Clearly, such a work in progress should be generated off-line from the main article. I don't have a format in mind, but I think it should discuss binary patches as well as source code patches. Once we agree on an outline, we can start rebuilding. What say ye? —Frecklefoot 18:13, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I am not so sure what you mean by "outline" but basically this is fine with me. I don't have much preference about the way to edit articles. If you prefer this way, it works with me. -- Taku 21:38, Feb 24, 2004 (UTC)

What I mean by "outline" is to come up with a general structure for the article, free of content. Sort of like a table of contents. Once we agree on that, we can build the article from that, drawing in material from both versions of the article (and creating new content). That is one of the biggest problems I had with your re-write: I saw no structure at all (even though you said you were adding structure—I just failed to see it, I guess).

This is not how I normally edit articles. I usually just edit (or create) and leave—that is the Wiki way. This is a special circumstance—we have widely different views of what the article should look like. I just thought that trying to come up with a consensus would be preferable to starting an edit war. —Frecklefoot 21:45, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I understand that. You cannot accept my version without signifcant edit and I am not satisfieid with the current version, which inevitable lead us to the war. Let's just try this offline system out. I don't have much time today so I will come with more concrete idea what I think the article should include and what not. But in short, I think the whole conflict we have is that you tend to narrow the scope of patches into software update. I feel uncomfortable with that definition. Pathces, by definition, are not limited to that kind of official update. Recently I have just realized that some people modifies the game program to do cheating, and some of them publish such a patch.
Well, of course the question we must ask is what is for the sake of readers. Having those, weird for some, definitely makes the article odd. I agree with that your version is more clear and crisp but I suspect it is done by eliminating aspects that the average users are not aware of. I am glad to hear that you concur the article should include more details, and I think the article need more concrete details. If you have the outline of what article should go with, let me know it.

-- Taku 22:52, Feb 24, 2004 (UTC)

Frecklefoot has asked my input on both these versions: I think the structure of the current version is much much easier on the eye (a set of headers looks and reads better than a slab of text). But Taku's version makes some good points. Perhaps these two versions should be merged (and not the /Temp moved in) - I'd like to add some more to the Source code section... Dysprosia 22:45, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Article as current might be a bit of a problem[edit]

Well, now the article makes no mention of Larry Wall and his historically important patch utility at all. Soooo, it also will fail to explain things down the road like diff (the antyonym of patch), CVS (which uses diff and patch), and we can then go on through version control systems, and etc... all the way down to how the wikipedia itself operates. (That might count as a whoops). And the patch program isn't just used under unix, no. I think you just found that out by looking at those links.

What people seem to be doing here is optimising this article locally, but are forgetting that their edits might pessimize the wikipedia globally. Most of the time you can safely forget the details and to heck with it, but sometimes you need to remember that you're actually editing a hypertext. Just my 2 cents. :-) (I think editing this article might be something to do in my Copious Free Time) Kim Bruning 09:53, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC) (edited Kim Bruning 11:38, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC))

Okay, well hmm, note also that patching and diffing are currently verbs. The concepts did start out with some unix programmes (just like for instance G RegExp P (grep) which in turn comes from Ed ), but now they're mainstream english^wjargon. It'd help to reflect this usage in the article. If no one beats me to the mark, I'll try to find some Copious Free Time at some point in time. Kim Bruning 09:53, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Ready for prime time?[edit]

A significant copyedit just took place on the rewrite of this article. If no one objects, it'll replace the current version in a few days. See the temp Talk page for more information. Frecklefoot | Talk 16:15, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)

Since there've been no objections, I've replaced the current article with the rewrite. :-) Frecklefoot | Talk 20:03, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)

Strategy game rant[edit]

I removed the following paragraph from the Computer games section:

Strategy games (RTS games) that allow players to play with unique starting advantages and disadvantages rely on patches to ensure that every playable "faction" is equal compared to the others. These patches are referred to as "balance changes" and their importance depends directly on the relative importannce of the starting advantages and disadvantages to the overall gameplay as well as the sheer number of factions. Thus games where most factions are essentially equal (most older strategy games, including Risk and Civilization II) require much less balance changes than games that provide important starting differences (Total Annihilation) or have an immense number of slightly different races (Age of Empires II, Civilization III). At the extrememes are games like Rise of Nations, which offers a huge selection of substantially different factions to choose from, and the Blizzard games Starcraft and Warcraft III, where the small number of factions play completely different from each other. These games require many successive patches before they can be considered even reasonably balanced, and many players believe that games like Warcraft III will never be completely balanced.

As is apparent, it is almost completely off-topic. It talks about balancing in strategy games, which has nothing to do with this article. Feel free to slap it somewhere else where it may be appropriate. Just wikify it first (game titles should be italicized). :-) Frecklefoot | Talk 18:15, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

Frecklefoot, I am looking for suggestions as to where to put material on the types and purposes of game patches (especially to fix bugs, exploits, and make balance changes). Do you think a site titled "Patch (Computer gaming)" would be appopriate? Or is that misleading (because the focus wouldn't be on technical issues)? Also while I think you are right about my material being not relevant to the general concept of "patches", I think the correct label would be "ramble" or "digression", as "rant" implies anger, and I assure you I was quite happy when I wrote it. ;-) RampagingCarrot 22:28, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Application section - firmware update failure[edit]

I recently updated the section to clarify what disaster means (from a previous editor): [2]. Updated version:

A motherboard BIOS update is an example of a common firmware patch. Any unexpected error or interruption, like a power outage, during the update might mean the motherboard is rendered unusable. Motherboard vendors try to reduce the chance of this from happening.

My questions are - how do the motherboard vendors do this? And should it be mentioned here?--Unixguy 12:26, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Patch downloads[edit] re-added this link after I had reverted it:

with this comment:

The patch link is valid and contributes quiet[sic] fairly to this article. I intend to contribute further patch collections for varying providers. All valid external links are welcome.)

Wikipedia has a long standing policy of not linking to commercial sites unless they somehow contribute to expand on the article's topic. The link above doesn't expand on the topic, it provides downloads of game patches. While a valuable service, to be sure, it violates Wikipedia's policy.

Anyone else is welcome to chime in here.

So,, before you re-add your link, please discuss here why you think your link should be allowed (your comment on the re-post doesn't suffice). We'll come to a consensus before deciding whether to add it or not. Don't add the other sites you threatened to add either. Also, please get a (free) account. An account actually offers more privacy, not less. It will also allow us to refer to you by a handle rather than by an anpnymous IP address. Thanks. — Frecklefoot | Talk 14:38, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Although Mofunzone contains ads, they are NOT a commercial site. In many other articles, commercial sites (which mofunzone is not) are always posted on articles. If requested, I can post sample articles. --
Despite your claim, the site IS SPAM--it could be the poster child for all spam sites:
  1. It contains pop-up ads, the bane of the Internet
  2. It contains banner ads, not nearly as bad as pop-up, but still a revenue generator for the operators
Despite whether or not they appear in other articles, linking to commercial sites is generally discouraged, and linking to sites with pop-ups is stricly prohibited. Your site doesn't provide anything that anyone who knows how to use Google couldn't find on their own.
There are a few exceptions to this rule (such as, for computer & console game, we link to MobyGames), but these were discussed at length first and agreed upon. Sorry, your site is the epitome of spam sites, and it will stay reverted. Do NOT add it again unless you can put forth a compelling argument for it, despite its shortcomings. And if you feel my revert is unjustified, PLEASE ask other editors to contribute to this discussion. I'm confident most others would come down on my side. — Frecklefoot | Talk 06:05, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Vista patch killing startup[edit]

I have a vista laptop and sometimes I turn on my computer it says "system failed to start" something along those lines, so I run startup repair and look at the details and report at the end it said: "patch kept system from starting" What does that mean? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:04, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, we're not a help site. This page is for discussing ways to improve the article. You'll have to try a help board on the Internet or someplace like MSDN. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 22:13, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree sory —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 24 October 2008 (UTC) but you can reply. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:26, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Striking Tools section[edit]

I'm getting rid of the Tools section. It provides little useful information and is very subjective. For example, it seems to suggest that there are NO tools for patching .NET applications and that the only tools for Java and other systems are the ones listed. I can't see any way of making this section without it either be way too long or just too narrow. If we had something like List of patching software or something similar, we could link to it. But it would be inappropriate for such a list within this article. Getting rid of links to other patching solutions in the See also section; subjective. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 02:16, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Adding Tools section[edit]

I am adding the tools section to list available/current patching software. I agree if the list was long that it should be moved to a link, this is not a problem at this moment.

I removed the .NET tool link as I worked on the tool and did not want it to be seen as self promotion.

I also did not include any pay or restricted patching solutions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonmccoy (talkcontribs)

First, please respond to topics in the same section that the matter is brought up. I started the discussion above.
Second, always sign your posts on talk pages. Don't erase signatures, like you did here. You're not remaining anonymous, if that's your intent. You're just making it a pain for other editors. I added it to your post above. All you need to do is use four tildes (~~~~).
Thirdly, there are hundreds of patch solutions. Including just a few is biased, unless there is overwhelming evidence that they are the best and the only ones used. Lastly, nothing in that section is helpful or expands on the topic. It's barely even readable. Here is all the section says if you remove the table:
Patching can be applied to both running applications and to applications on disk. In patching running applications the memory space of a process is changed. In on disk patching the base files on disk and supporting files are changed. There are several tools to aid in the on-disk patch/update process of applications, such as RTPatch, JUpdater, StableUpdate or Visual Patch. WinZip Self-Extractor can launch a program that can apply a patch.
And there at the end, you recommend some solutions again. Really, the section is little more than promotional and the article is worse for it. I am glad to discuss it further, here on the Talk page. I would also like to hear the opinion of other editors. But unless I hear some compelling arguments in the next few days, I'm going to remove it again. It really has no place in the article and doesn't improve it at all. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 01:03, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
The part that raises my eyebrows on this is the allegation a program patches memory in use. Even a browser tells you it needs to be shut down and reloaded before an update will take effect, and some like Adobe's never ending series of stupid updates want you to reboot—more often than not. So do loads of Windows updates. Patching in-use memory spaces sounds like an excellent way to get back to the bad old days of BBSoD, so I'd suggest Frecklefoot de Fast Revertor monitor that and require citations while he retains possession of this article.
  • As for the question called, I can live with this:
There are several tools to aid in the on-disk patch/update process of applications, such as RTPatch, JUpdater, StableUpdate or Visual Patch. WinZip Self-Extractor can launch a program that can apply a patch. Provided it states the list is 'just a few examples' of such software.
OMG! These aren't patchers in the sense implied by the article. Only StableUpdate—a version manager across platforms—has any relevance. Yes self-extracting Zip files install things, including updates, but as a patch tool? You're inventing terminology to suit a lack of experience with years of practice.
  • I just did something really rare—around here—I reverted to Frecklefoot's last version killing that section. (I HATE reverts only slightly less than I hate REVERTORS, so that hurts!)
Keep it general, frankly — the article almost ought to be merged with Hotfix in my mind. But natively loaded update managers like that splashy JUpdater are far more likely to hide spyware and trojans than they are to be useful and will kill system performance in any case. You want the least amount of things in the Quicklaunch bar as is possible. I wouldn't even recommend Advance System Cares update manager, or Norton's. // FrankB 15:41, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
FrankB, if you really think the two articles (this one and Hotfix) should be merged, go ahead and suggest it with the template. Make sure to do it on both articles, but only discuss it on one Talk page. The only problem I see is that neither article is probably heavily watched, so you may have to escalate it to the Computing WikiProject.
If not, the note at the top of the article is a pretty good solution. I think the reason I removed the earlier version was because there's a whole article on Hotfix (but, TBH, I don't really remember exactly why). Lastly, I don't feel like I own this article. But I hate seeing it, or any other article, containing garbage. I think you agreed the Tools section was poor. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 01:40, 10 June 2013 (UTC)