Deploying Patchwork

Patchwork uses the Django framework - there is some background on deploying Django applications here:

You’ll need the following (applications used for patchwork development are in brackets):

  • A Python interpreter
  • Django >= 1.7. The latest version is recommended
  • A web server and suitable WSGI plugin. Options include Apache with the mod_python plugin, or Gunicorn with nginx as the proxy server
  • A database server (PostgreSQL, MySQL)
  • Relevant Python modules for the database server (see the various requirements.txt files)

Database Configuration

Django’s ORM support multiple database backends, though the majority of testing has been carried out with PostgreSQL and MySQL.

We need to create a database for the system, add accounts for two system users: the web user (the user that your web server runs as) and the mail user (the user that your mail server runs as). On Ubuntu these are www-data and nobody, respectively.

As an alternative, you can use password-based login and a single database account. This is described further down.

NOTE: For the following commands, a $ prefix signifies that the command should be entered at your shell prompt, and a > prefix signifies the command-line client for your SQL server (psql or mysql).

Install Packages

If you don’t already have MySQL installed, you’ll need to do so now. For example, to install MySQL on RHEL:

$ sudo yum install mysql-server

Create Required Databases and Users

PostgreSQL (ident-based)

PostgreSQL support ident-based authentication, which uses the standard UNIX authentication method as a backend. This means no database-specific passwords need to be set/used. Assuming you are using this form of authentication, you just need to create the relevant UNIX users and database:

$ createdb patchwork
$ createuser www-data
$ createuser nobody

PostgreSQL (password-based)

If you are not using the ident-based authentication, you will need to create both a new database and a new database user:

$ createuser -PE patchwork
$ createdb -O patchwork patchwork


$ mysql
> CREATE USER 'www-data'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '<password>';
> CREATE USER 'nobody'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '<password>';

Configure Settings

Once that is done, you need to tell Django about the new database settings, by defining your own settings file (see below). For PostgreSQL:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
        'HOST': 'localhost',
        'PORT': '',
        'USER': 'patchwork',
        'PASSWORD': 'my_secret_password',
        'NAME': 'patchwork',
        'TEST_CHARSET': 'utf8',

If you’re using MySQL, only the ENGINE changes:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.mysql',

NOTE: TEST/CHARSET is used when creating tables for the test suite. Without it, tests checking for the correct handling of non-ASCII characters fail.

Django Setup

Configure Directories

Set up some initial directories in the patchwork base directory:

mkdir -p lib/packages lib/python

lib/packages is for stuff we’ll download, lib/python is to add to our Python path. We’ll symlink Python modules into lib/python.

At the time of release, patchwork depends on Django version 1.7 or later. Where possible, try to use the latest stable version (currently 1.8). Your distro probably provides this. If not, install it manually:

cd lib/packages
git clone -b stable/1.8.x
cd ../python
ln -s ../packages/django/django ./django

Configure Settings

You will also need to configure a settings file for Django. A [sample settings file] is provided, which defines default settings for patchwork. You’ll need to configure settings for your own setup and save this as (or override the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable).

cp patchwork/settings/ \

At the very minimum, the following settings need to be configured:


You can generate the SECRET_KEY with the following python code:

import string, random
chars = string.letters + string.digits + string.punctuation
print repr("".join([random.choice(chars) for i in range(0,50)]))

If you wish to enable the XML-RPC interface, add the following to the file:


Configure Database Tables

Then, get patchwork to create its tables in your configured database:

PYTHONPATH=../lib/python ./ migrate

Add privileges for your mail and web users. This is only needed if you use the ident-based approach. If you use password-based database authentication, you can skip this step.

For Postgresql:

psql -f lib/sql/grant-all.postgres.sql patchwork

For MySQL:

mysql patchwork < lib/sql/grant-all.mysql.sql

Other Tasks

You will need to collect the static content into one location from which it can be served (by Apache or nginx, for example):

PYTHONPATH=lib/python ./ collectstatic

You’ll also need to load the initial tags, states and actions into the patchwork database:

PYTHONPATH=lib/python ./ loaddata default_tags default_states default_events

Apache Setup

Example Apache configuration files are in lib/apache2/.


django has built-in support for WSGI, which supersedes the fastcgi handler. It is thus the preferred method to run patchwork.

The necessary configuration for Apache2 may be found in:


You will need to install/enable mod_wsgi for this to work:

a2enmod wsgi
apache2ctl restart

Configure patchwork

Now, you should be able to administer patchwork, by visiting the URL:


You’ll probably want to do the following:

  • Set up your projects
  • Configure your website address (in the Sites section of the admin)

Subscribe a Local Address to the Mailing List

You will need an email address for patchwork to receive email on - for example - patchwork@your-host, and this address will need to be subscribed to the list. Depending on the mailing list, you will probably need to confirm the subscription - temporarily direct the alias to yourself to do this.

Setup your MTA to Deliver Mail to the parsemail Script

Your MTA will need to deliver mail to the parsemail script in the email/directory. (Note, do not use the script directly). Something like this in /etc/aliases is suitable for postfix:

patchwork: "|/srv/patchwork/patchwork/bin/"

You may need to customise the script if you haven’t installed patchwork in /srv/patchwork.

Test that you can deliver a patch to this script:

sudo -u nobody /srv/patchwork/patchwork/bin/ < mail

Set up the patchwork cron script

Patchwork uses a cron script to clean up expired registrations, and send notifications of patch changes (for projects with this enabled). Something like this in your crontab should work:

# m h  dom mon dow   command
*/10 * * * * cd patchwork; ./ cron

The frequency should be the same as the NOTIFICATION_DELAY_MINUTES setting, which defaults to 10 minutes.

(Optional) Configure your VCS to Automatically Update Patches

The tools directory of the patchwork distribution contains a file named post-receive.hook which is a sample git hook that can be used to automatically update patches to the Accepted state when corresponding commits are pushed via git.

To install this hook, simply copy it to the .git/hooks directory on your server, name it post-receive, and make it executable.

This sample hook has support to update patches to different states depending on which branch is being pushed to. See the STATE_MAP setting in that file.

If you are using a system other than git, you can likely write a similar hook using pwclient to update patch state. If you do write one, please contribute it.

Some errors:

  • ERROR: permission denied for relation patchwork_... The user that patchwork is running as (i.e. the user of the web-server) doesn’t have access to the patchwork tables in the database. Check that your web server user exists in the database, and that it has permissions to the tables.
  • pwclient fails for actions that require authentication, but a username and password is given in ~/.pwclientrc. Server reports “No authentication credentials given”. If you’re using the FastCGI interface to Apache, you’ll need the -pass-header Authorization option to the FastCGIExternalServer configuration directive.