I am trying to patch a linux 3.13.7 source tree to 3.13.8 using the patch-3.13.8.xz file. Since the patch file is in xz format, I used the following command to apply it while in the source tree:

unxz -cd ../patch-3.13.8.xz | patch -p1

But I receive:

Reversed (or previously applied) patch detected!  Assume -R? [n]

I have checked man patch for the -R flag and the description makes no sense to me. Can someone please explain what is going on and what I need to do to fix this?

  • 2
    That just means (probably) that the patch has already been applied. The man page says "If the first hunk of a patch fails, patch reverses the hunk to see if it can be applied that way. If it can, you are asked if you want to have the -R option set." In other words, you could apply the patch in reverse. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 18:59
  • So instead of using unxz -cd ../patch-3.13.8.xz | patch -p1, I can put it in reverse mode with unxz -cd ../patch-3.13.8.xz | patch -p1 -R? Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 19:28
  • Well, no. You should investigate why the patch you are applying has already been applied. It's usually a sign something is wrong. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 19:29
  • I have tries answering yes to all Reversed (or previously applied) patch detected! Assume -R? [n] questions and yet most seem to succeed, but some fail. I haven't actually compiled the source before in this particular tree so I guess it would be Ok to download the new linux 3.13.8 source tree anyway. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 19:37
  • Yes, I should have said "why patch thinks the patch has already been applied". Programs can make mistakes. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


When patching Linux kernel to the next minor version, you should use incremental patch. For your case, you should patch with patch-3.13.7-8.xz. This will patch your kernel source 3.13.7 to 3.13.8.


I think what may have happened is that the patch you had was to take an older (pre-3.13.7) version of linux to 3.13.8. When the patch program was run it found some of the changes to be applied were already present in your 3.13.7 source and raised the warning you saw. This situation has happened to me before and I saw the same symptoms, which is why I propose it.

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